'Tis the season for hot toddies, hot chocolate, mulled wine, and anything else that can warm you from within. But everyone has a slightly different method. We asked 15 bartenders about their favorite hot drink—and how, exactly, they make it. Here's what they had to say.
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"I almost always find hot drinks disappointing," says Martim Smith-Mattsson, beverage director at New York's Vandaag in the East Village. "So many just taste like they've been sitting on a warmer all day. I wanted to make something fresher, more vibrant." Check out his unusual recipes for hot cocoa, hot cider, and a very loose interpretation of a hot buttered rum.
Grounded in the West Village is known as an especially tea-friendly coffee shop, even selling their own line of loose leaf teas. Keep an eye out for their Rose Tea Latte ($4.75), in which a strong brewed, brisk black tea replaces espresso in a silky, extra-frothy latte.
Part drink, part dessert, the Happy Jack is a well-executed latte steamed with spoonfuls of fragrant honey. A generous sprinkle of cinnamon tops it off.
A warm cup of hot cocoa is hard to beat, especially when it's homemade or one of our favorite mixes. But spiked hot cocoa is even better on a cold night. Here are three combinations we're loving right now.
For those unaccustomed to consuming alcoholic drinks that taste like, well, alcohol, the toddy can be a bit of a challenge. To those who genuinely like the taste of whisky, rum, or almost anything except vodka (I can't recall coming across a tequila toddy, but such a thing is not without potential merit), the hot toddy is the way to go.
Since hot chocolate/cocoa is one of our favorite insides-warmers this chilly time of year, we set out to find the best. We tried 17 brands total. Find out how Swiss Miss compared to Ghirardelli and Jacques Torres, and which was like drinking pudding.