Warm Holiday Cheer: Hot Toddies, Hot Buttered Rum . . .
While we're all still kvetching about the current cold snap, I'll report that I joined a friend for a holiday drink at Presidio Social Club on Sunday afternoon. Yes, the bar stays open all day long on Sundays. And not only does it feel clubby, PSC is warm and toasty inside even when its 40 degrees outside. It was a great joy to banish the chill, and even take off my coat and scarf, and get comfy on the overstuffed upholstery. No problem sitting next to the window, as there's a heating strip lining the wall guarding against cold drafts. And for even more warmth, we ordered hot toddies.
Asked whether we wanted whiskey or brandy toddies, we opted for one of each to compare. The whiskey one was stronger, drier, and more woodsy. The brandy version felt more feminine, a touch sweeter, and had a longer finish. Both were garnished with a lemon slice studded with three cloves.
Tonight at Pläj, I tried to order Glögg, and was most disappointed that it was not available.
So, I'm wondering where your favorite hot alcoholic libations can be found?
Last Sunday I met a friend for a holiday drink at Barndiva in Healdsburg. No heated holiday drinks on the seasonal cocktail menu per se, but our friendly bartender said that he could always make a hot toddy. Pressed for something a little more Barndiva special, he mentioned that they've been working on a cocktail, yet unnamed, based on brown butter infused rye. Sold!
The complete list of components:
Brown butter & cinnamon stick infused Jim Beam rye
Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
Honey vanilla bean orange syrup
Lemon wheel with freshly grated nutmeg
I noticed and much appreciated that the bartender heated up the glass cup with hot water before mixing my drink.
While there's not a notable oil slick on the surface, the brown butter adds not only flavor but in combination with the infused syrup adds a bit of weight and creamy texture. The flavors meld beautifully, no single element poking out in an identifiable way, just a warm and complex glow swathing the palate.
Before picking Barndiva, I'd also put in calls to Spoonbar and Dry Creek Kitchen to see what was on the hot cocktail menu. DCK is offering a hot whiskey cocktail called Hood River. Spoonbar said it will custom make hot drinks, and it has a (cold) bourbon egg nog for the holidays. My friend recommends the bourbon milk punch at Spoonbar.
Madrona Manor, also in Healdsburg, has a hot toddy on the holiday drinks menu. Here's my post on the (cold) barrel aged egg nog.