Forget mulled wine — if you want to impress your guests and stay warm this winter, it’s all about hot cocktails.
Winter warmers perfect for freezing weather are popping up everywhere. Selfridges has even opened a ‘hot-tail’ bar on its roof. Tom Byrne, head bartender at Charlotte’s Group in West London, says: ‘It’s an opportunity to experiment with different flavours and create an alternative to the likes of mulled wine.’
So how can you bring the hottest winter trend to your party? From sizzling sherry to red-hot rum, here’s our round-up of the best recipes . . .
The traditional Negroni — gin, Campari and vermouth with ice — originated in Italy, but if you’re in chillier climes why not try this winter twist, devised by Tom Byrne. For one serving, warm 25ml Sipsmith gin, 25ml sweet vermouth, 125ml Campari and 2 dashes of orange bitters in a saucepan, then add 75ml rooibos tea. Serve in a brandy glass garnished with a star anise. It’s the eye-catching red of the original, but it’ll warm your cockles on even the coldest night.
The traditional Negroni — gin, Campari and vermouth with ice — originated in Italy, but if you’re in chillier climes why not try this winter twist, devised by Tom Byrne
FIERY GIN AND HONEY
Got the sniffles? Don’t cancel your party — whip up this comforting hot cocktail instead. Scoop 20ml runny honey into a glass, then add 50ml Gordon’s gin and 15ml lemon juice. Slowly fill the rest of the glass with hot water and stir until clear. Strain into a fresh glass and garnish with a lemon. It’s soothing honey and lemon, but with a very merry makeover.
Got the sniffles? Don’t cancel your party — whip up this comforting hot cocktail instead.
STEAMY CREAMY SHERRY
This sizzling twist on Santa’s favourite tipple was dreamed up by sherry bar Sack in East London, but designed to be copied easily at home. Combine 40ml Tio Pepe Fino sherry, 15ml gin, 2 tsp brandy cream and 1 tbsp mulling spices in a saucepan over a low heat. Add 60ml hot water and stir until hot but not boiling. Filter into a teacup and garnish with orange peel and berries. It’s steamy, creamy and perfectly sweet.
CARIBBEAN IN A CUP
Rum punch may be best sipped on a sunny beach, but this cosy creation — from the rum brand launched by Sir David Frost’s son George — is the next best thing. It’s best prepared in batches. For four servings, smother a fresh pineapple quarter in 20g unsalted butter, 10g brown sugar and ¼ tsp of ground cinnamon, then bake in the oven at 180c for around 20 mins until golden brown. While it’s baking, warm 20g of butter, 10g brown sugar, 160ml single cream and 60ml pineapple juice in a pan. Pour 40ml of The Duppy Share rum into each glass or mug, and ladle the hot mixture on top of it. Cut the baked pineapple into wedges and add to the glass, then lightly dust the top with another ¼ tsp of cinnamon. Perfect for a winter party — or a decadent pudding.
SPICE UP YOUR LIFE
This spiced gin drink is made with warming botanicals from the traditional spice route that led to the UK, making it the perfect base for a cheering winter cocktail. Start by brewing 160ml black chai tea and then warm 40ml Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin and 20ml port in a pan. Add the tea and 10ml of chai syrup, and serve with a cinnamon stick and orange peel. The blend of fragrant spiced tea and sweet port will give you a glow whatever the weather.
The Spice Up Your Life cocktail is made with warming botanicals making it the perfect base for a cheering winter cocktail
WHITE MULLED WINE
Mulled wine doesn’t have to be red. Try this white version from French restaurant chain Aubaine. To make enough for six, take one lemon and one orange, cut them into thin quarter slices and place them in a pan, before adding 25g honey, 175g sugar and 3 star anise. Slice two cinnamon sticks lengthways, halve again and add to the pan. Heat the ingredients until they begin to caramelise, then add 150ml water and simmer for 5 mins. Pour a bottle of white wine (a fresh and fruity blend such as sauvignon blanc works best) into the pan and simmer for a further five minutes. Garnish with star anise and a slice of orange.
A white mulled wine cocktail from a French restaurant chain Aubaine
AND IF YOU FEEL LAZY . . .
If all of these sound like a little too much effort, Marks & Spencer has some ready-to-drink options. Its Gingerbread Brandy — made with VSOP brandy and fresh cream — comes prepared in smart microwaveable glasses (£6 for a box of two). Pop them in the microwave for 45 seconds and your guests will be convinced you’ve been slaving over a hot stove.