Mix-up something to snap away the cold winter chill

There’s nothing like getting a warm feeling from head to toe in the winter than sipping on an adult beverage.

Most people are creatures of habit when it comes to their drink choices, but others like to switch it up, according to Sheka Benson, director of Mixology, a bartending school in Detroit.

“Mostly, people order what they like, but people do like to have hot drinks in the wintertime,” she said. “There’s a lot of orders for Spanish coffee or Irish coffee during the winter.”

“Trends seem to influence drink choices,” Benson said. “Baileys with RumChata with coffee or espresso is pretty popular right now.”

This is an easy one to put together, just three ingredients. Here’s what you need:

Rumchata and Coffee

  • 2 parts RumChata
  • 1 part Jack Daniels Tennessee Fire
  • 2 parts cool coffee or espresso
  • The directions are easy, too. Just mix and drink.

Daryle Costello, owner of AABC, a bartending school in Lathrup Village, said he invented a drink while bartending at a ski resort in Arizona. Two ladies approached the bar, but they didn’t have an idea about what they wanted to drink. So, he came up with something especially for them.

His creation includes Baileys, amaretto and Kahlua with coffee. It’s topped with whipped cream and a cherry. They wanted to know what it was called and he had to think fast.

“I looked at them and said, ‘It’s called a hot flash.’ It became very popular,” he said. “Everyone was asking for it.”

His tip for the day is to buy the cheapest champagne possible when making mimosas. “The cheapest champagne has more fizz and structure to it,” Costello said, adding that spending a little extra for good orange juice is a good idea, too.

Vickie Staton, a bartender at The Weal Inn in Highland, said one of her “winter favorites” to serve is an Angry Ball. This one is simple to prepare, too.

Rim the glass with cinnamon and sugar, add Angry Orchard with Fireball.

Another drink growing in popularity is the Flaming Dr. Pepper, Staton said.

The flaming Dr. Pepper is one of the most popular flaming shots and you can make it without even having the namesake soda. When the drink is lit on fire, magic happens and the combination of rum, amaretto and beer mimics the taste of Dr. Pepper.

The experts warn that mixing fire with alcohol consumption can be a dangerous combination. So while you can make the Flaming Dr. Pepper at home, sometimes it is best to simply order this one at the bar and let the professionals take over. The shot is served either as a dropped shot (also known as a bomb) or you can build it inside a beer glass.

Fill a shot glass three quarters way full with amaretto. Slowly float the rum on top to fill the glass by pouring it over the back of a spoon. Fill a pint glass halfway with beer. Ignite the contents of the shot glass. Blow out the flame and drop the shot glass in the beer. Drink it in one gulp.

Mulled Pineapple Cider is a favorite toasty cocktail during the winter months. A small cup of this cider goes a long way. It’s rich, spicy and has a perfect consistency.

For those who stick with the tried and true, mulled wines are a perfect way to beat the cold weather. It’s usually made with red wine, along with various mulling spices and sometimes raisins. If you want something different, you might want to try a mulled cider and pineapple cocktail. This one takes time and patience to prepare, so don’t expect a quick mix and drink scenario.

Here’s the recipe:

Mulled Cider and Pineapple Cocktail

  • 1 quart apple cider
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 knob fresh ginger, smashed
  • 3 whole cloves
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 firm red apple (such as Rome, Fuji or Gala), cut into small cubes
  • 1 firm green apple (such as Granny Smith), cut into small cubes
  • Juice of 2 lemons 1⁄4 cup sugar
  • 1 750-ml bottle dry cava or other dry sparkling wine

Stir the cider, cinnamon sticks, ginger, cloves and nutmeg together in a pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool, then strain.

In a large bowl, toss the apples, lemon juice and sugar. Add to the cider and refrigerate until chilled. When you’re ready to serve the cocktails, fill champagne flutes about halfway with the cider mixture and top with the cava. Stir and serve.

For a creamy hot toddy with the delicate sweetness of maple, try a Maple Buttered Spiced Rum.

If you’re up to stirring together a much more difficult recipe, try Martha Stewart’s recipe for Maple Buttered Spiced Rum.

Maple Buttered Spiced Rum

  • 1 oz. Captain Morgan original spiced rum
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of spiced butter
  • 1⁄4 oz. maple syrup
  • 6 oz. hot water
  • Orange peel and cinnamon stick for garnish

For the spiced butter:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 tsp. cloves
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ginger

To make the spiced butter, combine butter with brown sugar and spices. Mix well and set aside. In a tea cup or mug, add spiced butter, maple syrup and Captain Morgan original spiced rum. Pour hot water over top and stir to combine. Garnish with orange peel and cinnamon stick.

Others pass on the fruity flavors and want to kick-up their drinks with a little kick, like a spicy hot chocolate beverage with or without alcohol.

Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate:

  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces milk chocolate morsels
  • 2 Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans, split
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper 1 cup tequila
  • Top with whipped cream

In a large stockpot combine milk and chocolate morsels. Stir regularly to keep chocolate from burning and sticking to bottom of pot. Cut both vanilla beans and scrap seeds out. Add seeds and pods to pot. Stir. Next, add the ground cinnamon, cinnamon stick and cayenne pepper.

Stir and let cook on low for about 20 minutes to allow all flavors to combine.

Mix in 1 cup of your favorite tequila and serve. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings and/or cinnamon.

For a slow cooker: In a 4-quart slow cooker, whisk together milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract and nutmeg. Add chocolate chips. Cover and cook on low setting for two to three hours, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with a dusting of cocoa powder.

If liquor isn’t your thing you can always mix-up a fun drink sans the booze. Either way, cheers.

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