Certain cocktails have the ability to calm and soothe our senses.
We asked five bartenders their favorite cocktails to cozy up with. These cocktails will help warm your body, relax your mind, soothe your senses, coat your throat, and drift you off to a happy place.
Warm, mulled drinks are cozy says Louisville’s Trouble Bar, co-owners Nicole Stippy and Kaitlyn Soligan-Owens. The duo mix up mulled cider drinks with a word of advice. “We love warming cocktails,” says Stippy. “The biggest thing about boozy warm cocktails to remember is proof can become your enemy quickly in hot drinks! The steam of your drink is going to create an express path for the booze aroma to hit the drinker before they even get to enjoy the taste of the drink itself.”
Trouble Mulled Cider
- 2 gallons of your favorite cider
- 1 1/2 oz. of bourbon, preferably with a proof between 80 and 90
- 4 oranges (cut into halves)
- 8 cinnamon sticks
- Handful of dried cloves
Preparation: Insert two cinnamon sticks through the middle of halved oranges and push the cloves into the flesh of the orange. Repeat this for each half of the orange. Using a small cheesecloth piece to make a bag, throw all the extra cloves, cinnamon sticks and allspice inside and tie up with baking string. Put all mulling ingredients into the crockpot; fill to nearly the top with cider and let sit in the slow cooker on high for three hours before serving. Ladle cider into a cup. Slowly add 1 1/2 oz. of a bourbon whiskey and stir, before garnishing with a cinnamon stick.
Louisville has a strongly bourbon-oriented reputation, of course, so it’s not a surprise to see the spirit added to mulled cider. However, there is more to mixology in the Derby City than whiskey. Bar manager Eron Plevan from Alex&nder, the rooftop bar at Copper & Kings Distiller, has a warming cocktail he describes as “warm coconut eggnog,” using house made brandy.
C&K Coconut Cocktail
- 1 1/2 oz. Copper & Kings American Brandy
- 2 1/2 oz. spiced coconut cream batter*
Preparation: Mix the two ingredients above and top with hot water. *Combine coconut cream, sweetened condensed milk, egg, cinnamon, allspice, clove, and nutmeg.
Hot Toddy Cocktails
Mike Vacheresse, co-owner of the Brooklyn-based Travel Bar, opened his bar in the winter of 2014 and created a cozy cocktail to match the occasion, the Travel Toddy. “I was intrigued by Kronan Sweedish Punsch, so I built the Toddy around it,” said Vacheresse. “I feel like a Hot Toddy is a hug from the bar to the customer.”
- 1 oz. Kronan Sweedish Punsch
- 1 oz. cinnamon-infused El Dorado 3 year Blanco Rum
- 5 oz. hot water
- Flamed orange peel and cinnamon stick (for garnish)
Preparation: Put 8 whole cinnamon sticks in a liter of El Dorado Rum, place it in a cool spot for 10 days, turning the bottle over every other day. Strain the rum through cheese cloth and store in a glass bottle. Combine ingredients with hot water and garnish with flamed orange peel and cinnamon stick.
Not everyone thinks a cozy cocktail necessarily needs to be warm in temperature. Bartender PJ Wagner for The Northcott Liquorette, thinks it’s the idea the drink carries with it that matters. “A soothing cocktail doesn’t have to be hot or spicy, but it does need to take you to another place, and I think something tropical or tiki is the perfect escape.”
Escape from Neptune
- 2 oz. Blind Tiger Bourbon
- 1 oz. pineapple juice
- 1/2 oz. Bitter Truth Allspice Dram
- 1/2 oz. strawberries
- 3/4 oz. lime juice
- 1/2 oz. BroVo Falernum
- 1/2 oz. cinnamon syrup
- 5 dashes Prohibition Bitters Ginger beer
Preparation: Muddle strawberries; add ingredients to a Tiki-style glass or Highball filled with ice.