One cold winter night at the Brooklyn Inn, a native Alaskan told me that each spring, when the snow melts in the AK, a half-dozen icy corpses are found within walking distance of a bar. He stared deep into my eyes and said, “They just drink and drink until they pass out in the snow and before they wake up, they’ve frozen to death.” Although the image was terrifying, we finished our whiskies and ordered another round. I was comforted in knowing that either the police or the street sweepers would find me before it was too late.
Alcoholism gains favor in the wintertime, especially for those relying on only themselves for warmth. But you need not drink alone nor freeze to death, for warm libations shared among friends can remedy the cold weather blues. For centuries, Europeans have combated the icy months by gathering around an open hearth (providing both light and heat) and drinking steaming concoctions made with brandy, whisky and wine. Thankfully, immigrants brought this tradition to the United States and warm, winter cocktails have become a fixture on many drink menus.
However, if the bartender has never heard of a Hot Toddy or you’d like to make a batch of Glögg at home, take a look at these recipes. May I also suggest a shot of whisky in your afternoon coffee and a bit of vanilla-flavored liqueur in your hot apple cider? (Just some of my favorites.)
A side note: Cold weather encourages the desire to cuddle up and alcohol induces sexual promiscuity. Drink, create warmth and be merry! Glögg (mulled wine), makes 4 mugs full
1/2 teaspoon dried cardamom
8 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
4 shavings from an orange peel
1/4 cup sugar
1 bottle of red wine
Pour all of the ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Strain and serve. For a fuller flavor, let the ingredients stew in the wine for a prolonged period, say a few hours or overnight. Hot Toddy, (Serves one sick adult)
The juice from half of a lemon
1 tablespoon of honey
A shot of bourbon
Combine the lemon juice, honey and bourbon in a teacup. Pour boiling water from a teakettle over the first three ingredients. Drink and let the booze take away the hurt.