A basic hot toddy is so simple it doesn't really require a recipe, but for those of you like a little more zest, a little more complexity, here are three delicious possibilities.
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When I was a kid, Dutch relatives would bring my family all the treats that were hard to find here in the states. My favorite was hagelslag, which are candy sprinkles that you put on buttered bread. (Boxes of hagelslag guaranteed that I would be allowed to eat candy for breakfast.) The grownups, however, got all excited about a ochre-colored liqueur called advocaat. It looked like an avocado-and-mustard milkshake to me, so when they'd pour themselves a big glass for Christmas, I was never tempted to sneak a sip. After all, these were the same adults who'd rave about salty black licorice, which I knew for a fact was the worst thing I'd ever tasted.
"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.
The spices that make up traditional masala chai usually include some combination of five basic spices: cardamom, ginger, clove, black pepper, and cinnamon. Other spices and flavorings may include anise, fennel, nutmeg, vanilla, coriander, allspice, bay leaves—you get the idea. Some people really empty out the whole spice rack here.
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.
The first time I hosted a cocktail party, I spent most of my time preparing cocktails to order. The drinks were great, but it prevented me from having much fun. Making batches of drinks in advance is a much better idea—all it takes is a little math.
One thing that people tend to do more in December than during all other months combined is introduce eggs into their strong drink. I'm not talking about the light, foamy cocktails made with a little egg white that you see throughout the year; rather, these are the rich, thick nogs of winter that trace an ancestral linage back to the flips of colonial America.