I haven’t posted very many warm holiday drinks this year, and that is mostly because until the torrential floods began last week it’s been a pretty mild winter hereabouts. There hasn’t been much call for sweaters and wooly socks, and even less for hot toddys or spiked coffee. Of course that all changed when we were driven indoors for a week while the skies opened up and rained down, but at that point there wasn’t enough half decent light to take any photos. Fail. The rain has since stopped, at least for today, and some kind of bright, fiery orb has appeared where the clouds used to be. It’s hard to tell though, since my eyes were so used to twilight that I feel slightly blind, like a mole ousted from its hole.
If you, however, find yourself in the midst of a cold snap and need a warm tipple, look no further. The Winter Hill comes from the pages of Left Coast Libations (which would make a fine holiday gift, if you’re still looking). This dressed-up toddy is the brainchild of James Pierce, bar manager at 50 Plates in lovely (and similarly rain-soaked) Portland, Oregon. It features fresh satsuma mandarins and lemons—which have just recently started flooding the markets—alongside bourbon, for a warming, crowd-pleasing cup.
2 satsuma orange wedges
2 lemon wedges
2 oz Buffalo Trace bourbon
½ oz Cointreau
2 dashes chocolate bitters
Muddle the orange and lemon wedges in a mixing glass, top with remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into an Irish coffee glass or small coffee mug. Top with hot water, garnish with a lemon slice studded with four cloves and serve.
As I alluded earlier, this is a whiskey toddy dressed for company. The mix of fresh citrus adds some depth to the flavor, which is echoed in the Cointreau. The bitters add a nice spicy complexity to the straight-forward bourbon, and the lemon garnish has a lovely aromatic effect. This is a drink I’d be happy to sip by the fire, and I’d be thrilled to have one of these handed to me as I walked in the door—especially after braving the elements. Cheers!