Cozy up to the bar with these incandescent cocktails
By V.R. BryantPublished October 25, 2012
’Tis the season ... for drinking. Whether it’s the seasonal affective disorder bringing you down or the fact that you actually have to spend time with your family, the winter months are a great time to kick back with a drink and show your liver who’s boss. And when it’s cold outside, a pitcher of margaritas doesn’t always hit the spot. A brisk jaunt around the city revealed these superb hot cocktails, sure to melt the ice and keep you jolly through the holidays.
Tom and Jerry
The acceptable margin of error for eggnog is yolk-thin. Buying the suspiciously opaque yellow jug from the nearby supermarket and dumping Myers’s Rum in it will destine any bartender for the naughty list. For the ultimate in noggy delight, turn to the famed Cris Dehlavi behind the bar at M for a yuletide favorite, the Tom and Jerry. Cris first mixes a batter of eggs, cream, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and butter – yes, butter. Taking a twist on the traditional drink that typically involves rum or possibly brandy, this iteration includes shots of Drambuie, a sweetened malt whiskey, and Grand Marnier, a classic orange liqueur. This particular combination of spirits provides a much more sophisticated effect than your average nog. Finished off with steamed milk and freshly grated nutmeg, the drink is rich and elegant – a great cold weather cocktail to savor when you’re happy to have only one. Too heavy for you? Ask Cris for the Hot Buttered Rum, her own off-the-menu specialty that echoes similar flavors but is based with water instead of cream.
M Restaurant & Bar
2 Miranova Place
In my search for great hot drinks, I was inundated with modified ciders. And why not? Apples and booze are peas in a pod, as far as I’m concerned. Taking a recommendation, I slid over to Barrel 44 in the Short North to try their version. Manager Phil Prendeville gave me the rundown on the restaurant’s cider offering. A couple ounces of bourbon start the 44 Cider, which is served in a taller, heavier and decidedly manlier mug than I had expected. Before topping it off with hot cinnamon-steeped Ohio apple cider, they throw in an ounce of butterscotch schnapps. The schnapps gives the whole thing an extra twinge of alcohol heat and a sweetness that contrasts with the apples to give the drink some depth. Pairing this delightful concoction with an order of the Duck Flatbread sounded like a capital idea. What’s more, the drink is a bargain at just $7. Phil intends to also offer a hot toddy for the same price – just as soon as he perfects his apple-cinnamon-infused bourbon.
1120 N High St.
Green Chartreuse and Steamed Milk
Just down the road a piece at Mouton, my search for something apart from the norm struck gold – or green, as it were. Green Chartreuse is a very potent herbal liqueur with some serious pedigree. I’ve been regaled with tales of bold parents using it to soothe teething pains and Frenchmen lighting it afire and downing full shots of the 110-proof spirit; even the briefest examination of the bottle reveals the elixir’s deep monastic origins. While it has a place in a number of hot cocktails (with and without fire), the purest and perhaps most satisfying is simply an ounce and a half of Green Chartreuse topped with steamed milk. Matt McGrath at Mouton will whip one up using Ohio-based Snowville whole milk (nothing but the best) – all you need do is ask. The drink has no fancy name . . . and doesn’t need one. It’s been passed around from bartender to bartender since time began. Some have been known to make it pretty with bitters, but that’s about as frilly as this one gets. Frills or no, it’s delicious and it warms to the core.
954 N High St.