The recent subzero temperatures have kept us all inside. Why not make the best of it? Here are some warm, spiked drinks you may have yet to try.
There’s an old tale that a shot of whiskey will warm you up. Indeed, a sip of straight bourbon or whiskey can feel like swallowing embers from your fire pit. Mixing the liquor with some special ingredients can bring the warm feeling without burning your throat.
Bourbon vs. whiskey?
You may wonder what the difference is between bourbon and whiskey. The answer is: taste-wise, not much. Although each brand has its own unique taste, much like wine has its own “personalities” only enthusiasts and experts will cite a difference in general quality in taste between the two.
Bourbon is its own kind of whiskey. “Whisky” or “whiskey” originated in Scotland. Bourbon is the distinctly American version of the distilled spirits. To be officially considered bourbon, some legally-mandated, concrete requirements must be met: Made in the USA; 51% corn-based; put in charred oak barrels at 125 proof; can’t go past 160 proof; can’t be bottled at less than 80 proof; and can’t contain additives (including flavoring or coloring). Scottish Whiskey and other labeled whiskeys don’t have as many steps in manufacturing or regulatory laws. Generally in hot drink recipes, you can freely exchange whiskey with bourbon or vice versa. Whiskey and bourbon enthusiasts may insist the drink be enjoyed plain or mixed with a bit of distilled water. A mixed drink may not be a bourbon-lover’s favorite. Get a mid-tier or less expensive bourbon to mix with other ingredients and leave the cask of Lafroaig for your more discerning guests.
3 to try
Hot buttered rum is a drink you may come across in your adventures, but hot buttered bourbon is a new twist on the old staple. Well Plated has a hot bourbon drink recipe to savor. It mashes winter-taste ingredients like apple cider, cinnamon, and butter together into something to savor.
Apple cider and bourbon are also the building blocks of Bobby Flay’s Bourbon Apple Hot Toddy. Dig out the holiday dessert touches like nutmeg, orange zest and whipped cream for this winter warmer-upper.
Exotic ingredients like cardamom pods and star anise fill out the hot bourbon recipe on PBS’s food blog, Fresh Taste. Gathering less common ingredients takes some planning. Stick the essentials on a shopping list for a run to the local gourmet store before your night. Remember, cardamom pods can stay fresh for 3-4 years, and star anise is good for about one year. Stock up for the winter and you can have whip up this drink as the fancy strikes.
Sip and savor
Heating the bourbon may lesson the strength of the alcohol, but not by much. It’s easy to lose track of alcohol consumption with sweet, mixed drinks. Stay by the fire and savor each sip. It’s a dessert to be thoroughly enjoyed.