Some Hot Drinks!

Every day it's bitterly cold in Minnesota, we need hot things to balance it out.  In the cocktail world, we have plenty to keep us occupied: hot toddies, hot buttered rum, and irish coffee.  At the core, those cocktails are simply a variation on the Old Fashioned: sugar, spirit, water, and bitters.  

The hot toddy is the most basic: combine hot water, a dark spirit (like rum, brandy, or whiskey) and sugar, usually in the form of honey or maple syrup. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, maybe some star anise and grated nutmeg, a.k.a. bitters.  Irish coffee takes it a step further, substituting coffee for water and bitters.  Utilize irish whiskey as your spirit and sugar syrup in the glass. It also adds cream on top for texture. Hot buttered rum seems more complicated but is still simple at its core.  Combine spices, water, and sugar in a saucepan with butter, then add rum.

As you can see, the drinks are simple.  However, what about taking a drink that is normally served cold and make it into a hot drink?  Keeping in line with the Old Fashioned formula, a Sazerac comes to mind.  The New Orleans cocktail uses rye whiskey or brandy, sugar, and Peychaud's bitters stirred over ice and served in a glass rinsed with absinthe, then garnished with a lemon peel.  

To make this hot, it is simple.  Combine 2 oz rye or brandy, .5 oz of simple syrup (1:1 ratio of sugar and water), 4 shakes peychaud's bitters, 1/8th of an ounce of absinthe.  Add 2 oz hot water.  Garnish with a lemon peel expression.  

The drink is as you’d imagine.  It’s a sazerac, that is hot.  Spicy, slight black liquorice, lemon aroma.  It works well and is very simple to make, assuming you have everything on hand (well who doesn’t?).  However, the drink lacks something, a richness that I crave in the winter.  Looking to the hot buttered rum, we can add a bit of melted butter for some texture and richness.  Butter gives it a touch more weight that satisfies the palate, in addition to the richness I crave so much.    

To make a hot buttered sazerac, combine in a glass: 3/8ths of an ounce of melted butter, known behind the bar as a “fat quarter,” 4 shakes peychaud's bitters, 1/8th oz of absinthe, .5 oz simple syrup, .5 oz hot water. Stir to combine.  Add 2 oz rye whiskey, and 1.5 oz water.  Stir again.  Express a lemon peel over the top.  Drink it while it’s hot!

Sazerac ingredients. Hot Sazerac on the left, Buttered Sazerac on the right.

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