Just like restaurants change up their menus according to the seasons, craft bartenders do the same thing. I imagine these spirit-obsessed bar keeps, tinkering around with shrubs, bitters, the latest liquors—adding a drop of this, a splash of that, a shot of whatsits, until the golden ratio of flavor is reached. Our tour guide for what’s lovely and delicious this season is Rebecca Monday, one of our city’s cocktail pioneers, with a decade of slinging drinks in her rearview mirror.
Miss Monday’s Top 10 Winter Cocktail trends, recipes, and favorite drinks
1. Aquavit cocktails:
Aquavit, like vodka, is distilled from either grain or potatoes and generally carries a strong note of caraway. Styles of aquavit vary and often include a range of other spices such as dill, fennel, coriander, citrus and anise as well.
2oz Linie Aquavit
1oz Sweet Vermouth
2 Dashes Angostura bitters
Directions: Stir ingredients with ice, staring over ice in a rocks glass or serve up, garnish with a twist or cherries.
2. The Pam Am:
Made with Amburuana Avuá Cachaça, new to Ohio, this spirit is aged with amburana wood, found only in the forests of Latin America, which gives it a warm and savory feel.
1.5 oz Avuá Cachaça Amburana
.75oz Rhum Clement Creole Shurb
.75oz Dry vermouth
2 dashes Orange bitters necessarily
Directions: Stir ingredients with ice in a mixing glass and strain into a chilled coupe glass, garnish with orange twist.
3. Bitter & Boozy:
Bitter and boozy cocktails tend to be my favorite during winter; many bars get creative with this concept in mind. I love trying all variations; however, you will find me sipping my favorite classic cocktail during these cold months, the Boulevardier.
1 oz. bourbon or rye
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. sweet vermouth
Directions: Stir ingredients with ice in a mixing glass and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with orange twist.
A flip includes a whole raw egg which, when shaken, creates a sexy frothy top to your sip and a sultry feel as soon as it hits your mouth. Snow on The Bluff, recipe created by Eric Bluebaum from the Bottle Shop.
2oz Clear Sky Daybreak beer from Wolf’s Ridge
1oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Falernum
1/4oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz derma syrup
Directions: Shake all ingredients without ice (dry shake) to emulsify , add ice and shake again, strain into highball and top with beer. Garnish with grated nutmeg.
5. Milk Punch:
Yet another gift bestowed upon the cocktail world from the wilds of New Orleans, this creamy concoction take will seriously up your in-house brunch game.
2 oz. Almond milk
2 oz. cream
1 ½ oz. brandy
1 oz. simple syrup
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Directions: Shake all ingredients, strain into a wine glass, garnish with fresh grated nutmeg.
For when chicken soup just isn’t enough.
2 oz. blended scotch
¾ fresh lemon juice
¾ ounce honey-ginger syrup
1 ½ ounce Isley single malt scotch, preferably
Laphroaig 10 Year
Directions: Shake ingredients, serve over ice in rocks glass, garnish with candied ginger
7. Frozen Winter Cocktails:
Who thought frozen cocktails were just for the warm sunny days? This chilly season, you’ll find me heading over to Oddfellows where bar manager Kyle Strategier plans to make a frozen Baked Mule and The Caramel Apple Bourbon Lushie.
Fresh squeezed ginger juice, vodka, lime juice, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, and gomme Syrup
The Caramel Apple Bourbon Lushie
ingredients: American Honey, Apple Puree, Caramel Syrup, Evan Williams, and Gomme Syrup.
8. Spanish G & T’s:
A Spanish-style Gin & Tonic is usually made with a premium gin and the best quality tonic water, combined with your choice of bitters and various herbs, vegetables and fruits, all traditionally served over ice in an oversized glass. Get creative. Suggestions: star anise, juniper berries, cranberries, lime wheels, blood oranges and trying different tonics such as Fever Tree’s Mediterranean tonic or Elderberry tonic. Serve in a wine glass over ice.
El Gin Tonic @The Bottle Shop
2oz Mahon Gin, Fentimans Tonic Water
4 Lemon wheels, 4 Star Anise pods, 7 Juniper Berries
Directions: Build ingredients over ice in goblet
9. Frozen Irish Coffee:
Head over to Little Rock and try their frozen Irish coffee, inspired from Erin Rose in New Orleans. It’s a rich, creamy dairy-and-coffee blend spiked with booze and topped with shaved espresso beans. It’s basically a boozy milkshake served in a F*ck Yeah cup. Bartender Joe Peppercorn and owner Quinn Fallon have that recipe on lockdown, though.
10. Low Proof Cocktails:
Low-proof cocktails have been making appearances on cocktail menus more frequently these days. My personal favorites include the Aperol Spritz and Sherry Cobbler.
3 Parts Prosecco
2 Parts Aperol
1 Part Soda water
Directions: Build ingredients over ice in a wine glass, garnish with an orange slice.
3 oz sherry (preferably Amontillado or blending multiple styles)
1/2 oz simple syrup
Directions: Muddle fruit, mix orange slices with simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Add Sherry, shake with ice cubes. Strain into a highball glass filled with crushed ice. Add more crushed ice, packing into glass and mounding above rim. Garnish with mint and fruit such as raspberries, blackberries, an orange wheel or lemon wheel.