Tuck into these Winter Warmers!
It’s cold and dreary outside and summer sun feels like an eternity away. At The Glass House we are making the most of our cozy fireside evenings, turning down all invites to go out this weekend and enjoying one of these decadent treats.
May I present to you…The Glass House Girls’ favourite Top 5 Winter Cocktails:
It doesn’t matter what you call it, or where it comes from, the base of this wintery tipple is always the same. A spiced hot red wine drink that is sure to warm you from the inside out. This is personally one of my favourite ‘warmers’ in the winter season, but then I visited many a German Christmas market during my time as a military kid and the smell alone brings back fond memories of cold snowy nights and ice-skating under the stars.
This is one of my fail safe recipes and it is sure to put a warm feeling in your stomach and a smile on your face. (Be warned, this makes enough to make a small party of adults just a touch tipsy, so be sure to invite friends round to enjoy the fruits of your labour!)
You will need:
1 bottle of bold red wine (I find the fruity ones best, adds an extra depth)
1/2 cup of Brandy or Rum (I personally prefer German Asbach Brandy – but that’s the military kid in me coming out. It was all my dad would ever drink!)
1 cup of water
1 large orange, peeled and juiced
1/2 cup of soft brown sugar
5-6 whole cloves
1 nutmeg, about 10 gratings
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla pod
2 star anise
1- Peel/carve long (chunky) strands of the orange and lemon skin.
2- Place a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat and add the brown sugar and water. Add the fruit peel and the juice of the orange. Add the vanilla pod (cut in half!), cloves, star anise, cinnamon stick, and the grated nutmeg.
3- Bring to the boil, then simmer for about an hour. Let the liquid reduce (after around half an hour) before you add half a cup of the wine.
4- Let this reduce a little into a syrup. When it is ready, turn the heat down low and pour in the wine and Brandy.
5- Bring back to a gentle simmer until you feel you have burnt off enough of the alcohol (this is totally dependent on your taste buds, so keep *hiccup* tasting until you are happy)
6- Use a ladle to pour the concoction into glasses and serve warm.
In my opinion you should always serve with German spiced ginger biscuits, but mince pies would do just as well!
Hot Spiced Apple Cider
This recipe couldn’t be easier and is a lovely alternative for those who are not a fan of red wine. In fact it may be something to do with the fact that it is made out of apple juice that makes it feel that little less naughty and a little more healthy (if you can forget of course the lashings of Rum you will add to it).
You will need:
1 carton of good quality Apply Juice (don’t skimp, you will taste the difference)
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg (fresh if you can get it)
3 ounces spiced Rum (now this could be optional if you want to make a kiddies’ version, but for the adults, why would you even consider it without?)
Cinnamon sticks (garnish)
Apple slices (Very thin and serve no purpose other than to decorate the glass!)
1- Place a small heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat.
2- Add the apple juice, spices and Rum (of course!) and stir often. (The last thing you want is the spices stuck to the bottom of the pan and not infused in the drink)
3- Once bubbling away and you have tasted *hic* that you are happy with the mixture, ladle into glasses and garnish with the slice of apple and a cinnamon stick.
(Note: don’t forget to tell the kids not to eat the cinnamon stick if you are giving to children, that’s never a fun situation!)
I always find this best served with an apple crumble and lashings of cream in front of a fire. But then I am constantly searching for that mythical mummy moment…
Spiced Irish Coffee
Ok, so this one may be a little more tricky to make, only because it is not always easy to find Pumpkin Spice. However, if you can, it is well worth it. Trust me! I love Irish Coffee, be it made with Whiskey or Baileys – I don’t care. Either way, you pair alcohol with coffee and you… well… you’ll have me at hello!
You will need:
For the whipped cream topping:
4oz (118ml) heavy cream
1½ teaspoons sugar (I prefer to use soft brown for a more caramel taste)
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1½ cups freshly brewed hot coffee
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons Whiskey
2- Combine the sugar with the Whiskey, add a touch of the pumpkin spice and stir until its dissolved.
3- Add the Whiskey, sugar mix to hot coffee and pour into glasses
4- Pipe the whipped cream on top and sprinkle with pumpkin spice.
Hot Buttered Rum / Hot Butterbeer!
One for all you Harry Potter fans. Are you desperate to try a Butterbeer but know you won’t be anywhere near Hogwarts this Christmas? Have no fear, The Duchess is here! This recipe is delicious and (surprise surprise) buttery, but will leave you wanting more… and more… and… well you get the picture. If you have ever wondered what it tastes like, wonder no more. Whip up a batch of this hot stuff and for those on the geeky side, why not organise your own Hogwarts themed get-together to enjoy it with friends?
115g of unsalted butter (make sure it’s soft!)
400g of light brown soft sugar
Bottle dark Rum (choose a good quality Rum, you will taste the difference)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg (fresh if you can get it)
Pinch ground cloves
You can actually make the ‘batter’ for this ahead of time and refrigerate, which makes it great for a party cocktail!
1- Cream together the butter, sugar, spices and salt.
2- Place in the fridge until almost firm.
When ready to serve:
1- Spoon around 2 tablespoons of the batter mixture into each glass and pour 3 ounces of Rum (or to taste! *hic*) over the top.
2- Top each glass with boiling water, stir well and serve immediately.
For a nice twist you can also add a little whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin spice. For all you die hard Harry Potter fans, serve with Chocolate Frogs and Bertie’s Every Flavour Beans. For those among you who want to add this to a sophisticated foodie line up, serve with a slice of really delicious Christmas Pie and enjoy by candlelight!
Dirty Hot Chocolate / Kahlúa Hot Chocolate
I don’t know about you guys, but winter as a kid was all about hot chocolate and duvet days infront of a movie. So here is an adult twist on a favourite childhood tipple.
You will need:
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons good quality Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg (fresh is better if you can get it)
1 ounce Kahlúa coffee liqueur
For serving – These Suggestions are of course optional – but in my house you go big or go home!
Sticky chocolate syrup
Salted caramel sauce
1- In a heavy based pan over a medium heat, combine the milk, cocoa powder, sugar and spices until gently simmering. For goodness sake, try not to let it boil. Burnt milk does not add any enhancement to this drink!
2- Remove from the heat and add the Kahlúa (you can add a little more to taste, depending on how boozy you like your hot chocolate)
3- (If you are anything like me) serve with lashings of whipped cream, sprinkle with mini marshmallows, top with sticky chocolate syrup and salted caramel sauce.
4- Hide in the corner of the room and hope no one sees you pigging out on the most delicious and most dangerous drink you are likely to consume this festive season!
For me, this drink can only truly be enjoyed to its full potential when served with a side of Christmas cookies or brownies.
So, ladies and gents, that is the round up of Winter Cocktails, compiled for your drinking pleasure. Let us know which ones you liked and if you think we missed any out.