Mulled cider can be a cocktail (add gin or whisky) or mocktail. Photo courtesy Zaya Rum.
The expression “cup of good cheer” that comes to us from Merrie Olde England refers to hot mulled cider and wine. Whether or not you have a fireplace, horse and sleigh, invite friends over to share that cup, and have one waiting as Thanksgiving guests arrive.
Warm alcoholic beverages such as glögg, mulled wine and toddies originated in Northern Europe, where beer, cider, wine and spirits were mulled (heated) with sugar and spices to add some cheer to cold winter days (before central heating, no less).
Serve a toddy (or one of the related drinks below) instead of egg nog and you’ll save big on calories. A hot toddy is just as festive and is made with mostly water instead of mostly cream and eggs!
HOT TODDY & ITS RELATIVES
Glögg (pronounced like the “eu” sound in French—here’s an audio file pronunciation from a native Swede) is the Scandinavian form of mulled wine, sweetened with sugar and spiced with bitter orange peel, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger, vanilla pods, and often, almonds and raisins.
Hot Buttered Rum is a rum toddy, a favorite drink in Colonial America. The classic recipe contains butter, which adds creaminess and body. Many people use the term “hot buttered rum” when they mean “toddy,” so if you care one way or the other, ask if it contains butter.
Hot Cider can be made with or without spirits. You can serve it plain, mulled (with spices) or with gin or other favorite spirit.
Mulled Wine is hot and sweet: “Mulled” means to heat, sweeten and flavor with spices. Ale and cider are also mulled.
Toddy is a cocktail made with alcohol, boiling water, sugar and spices. Toddies can be made with any spirit—bourbon, brandy, tequila, Scotch and other whiskeys are popular. Back in Merrie Olde England, bourbon and tequila—New World spirits—were not part of the repertoire.
While it’s not related to any of the hot drinks above, we’ll add another to the list to clarify the difference:
Nog, a beverage made with beaten eggs (“egg nog” is a redundancy, like “hot toddy” [a toddy is made with boiling water] and in another category, “shrimp scampi” [scampi is Italian for “shrimp”]).
This recipe comes from Laphroaig, using its 10-Year-Old Scotch Whisky. We’re big Laphroaig fans—we love that peaty, smoky taste—but you can use whatever Scotch you have. If you’re not a Scotch drinker, substitute your favorite spirit.
Instead of added spices, this recipe uses ginger liqueur.
Ingredients Per Drink
1 part Scotch
½ part ginger liqueur
3 parts hot apple cider
Cider and gin. Photo courtesy TheBar.com.
Garnishes: lemon wedge studded with cloves, dash of fresh ground cinnamon
1. BUILD drink in a pre-heated coffee mug.
2. GARNISH and serve.
HOT GIN CIDER
This drink, from Tanqueray London Dry Gin, is especially attractive in a tall glass mug, as in the photo below.
Ingredients Per Drink
1.25 ounces London Dry Gin
.5 ounce fresh lemon juice
3 dashes simple syrup
3 dashes bitters
Hot apple cider
Optional garnish: cinnamon stick or lemon wheel
1. COMBINE first five ingredients in a glass. Top with hot apple cider and stir.
2. GARNISH with cinnamon stick and serve.
Want a cool, not hot, holiday celebration drink? Here’s an option from Cruzan Rum.
RECIPE: SPICED HOLLY HIGHBALL
Handful of mint leaves
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon agave or honey
1.5 parts aged dark rum
Garnish: mint sprig
1. MUDDLE the cranberries, mint, spice and agave. Add rum and shake well.
2. STRAIN over ice into a highball glass. Top with club soda and garnish with a mint sprig and three cranberries.