Cool Weather Cocktails

Three original takes on some classics for your fall drinking pleasure.

Everyone should have their drink. The drink they've chosen to be their own. A classic that you can make at home as easily as tying your shoes. However, it is nice to drink seasonally when the weather calls for it and there isn't a better time than the cooler months to deepen and darken your drinks of choice until it warms up again.

This first one takes a little planning, but if you do it right, it can be a huge hit with guests for events like Thanksgiving or Christmas. We are talking as classic as it comes with some old fashioned Rock and Rye.

Rock and Rye

  • Go find a large open mouth glass container around half a gallon in volume with a lid.
  • Toss in a small quartered orange and a lemon with the skin left on (remember to wash your produce).
  • Twelve or so cloves but save some for the next drink.
  • Rock candy is what the old recipes call for but I have found that ½ cup of granulated sugar works just fine. (If you want rock candy order it on Amazon. Don't make it yourself. You're already behind.)
  • A single stick of cinnamon.

Once all of the solids are in in your jar, grab a full 750ml bottle of rye and pour it over the fruits and spices. No need to go crazy on the booze, just grab a bottle of Rittenhouse or Turkey 101 Rye and be done with it. They've never lied to you. For an extra kick, toss in 1-2 ounces of Smith and Cross or another funky Jamaican rum and save the rest of the bottle for spring time daiquiris.

Screw the cap down and leave it for at least two weeks or until the Bears win another football game. After that, strain out the spices through a coffee filter and pour the liquid back over the fruit and drink at will. I recommend this to be drank at room temp or heated with an orange or lemon peel garnish. Add it to coffee or take it straight. Try it if you are fighting off a cold or anytime you just want to feel better. Like when the in-laws are sleeping in your living room.

To follow up a classic with another, I want to give you my build on a hot toddy. First off, never ask a bartender to make you one. Really, it's just not the place. Unless we're set up to make warm drinks, we just don't have the tools to do so on a regular night. I make a very simple toddy and I'd recommend you do so as well. It'll serve you well all through the coming holiday season.

Hot Toddy

  • Set a kettle to boil and grab a warm coffee cup. Have fun with the cup—think Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation.
  • In the mug, add 2 full ounces of an Islay single malt. I know bourbon is the thing right now but the Scots have been making whisky since before we existed as a nation and it's just better in every way for this drink. I personally use Laphroaig Quarter Cask because it's cheaper than their 10 year and I'm not drinking it straight. There won't be any left over anyways.
  • Add a teaspoon of whatever sugar you would add to your coffee and give a good squeeze from a slice of lemon.
  • A couple dashes of the immortal Angostura bitters won't hurt here at all.
  • Top all of it off with water when your kettle starts yelling at you and dissolve the sugar. Toss in a slice of lemon with a clove or two stuck in the rind and take the day off. This recipe is better loose than exact and if anyone asks, it's tea. Unless, of course, it looks like they need a little warming up also.

While alcohol may make you feel warmer, it actually lowers your core body temperature.

(Source: Mythbusters)

My last recommendation for cool weather drinking is to find a warm neighborhood spot and swing in for a drink pretty often. My neighborhood bar is putting a drink on the menu soon that's perfect for sipping this time of year. It's spicy and boozy yet easy and calming all while doing the trick we all like so much.

The Deeper, Darker Bourbon Cocktail

  • In a mixing glass pour out 1 ½ ounces of bonded bourbon. They use Evan Williams Bonded (the white label).
  • To that add some herbal liqueurs: ¾ ounces Luxardo Abano and ¼ ounces Ramazzotti.
  • Here is the tricky part ... you need 8 dashes of a bitters mixture that includes Angostura, Maraschino and Absinthe in a ratio of 3-2-1. So take a vessel (empty bitters bottle) and add 1 ½ ounces Angostura, 1 ounce Luxardo Maraschino and a ½ ounce of Absinthe (Herbsaint or Pernod would work fine here).
  • Dash the mix in 8 times and then stir everything down and pour it over a large piece of ice.
  • I recommend an orange peel and a good jazz record to garnish.

Luke Andrews is a writer, bartender and the beverage director at The Whistler in Chicago, IL.