8 Hot Cocktails From Chicago Mixologist Jess Lambert

Winter seasons means warming up guests with some hot, savory cocktails. Chicago head bartender Jess Lambert (Tales of the Cocktail Gray Coat leader, StarChef’s Chicago Rising Star, Sable, The Dawson) has unveiled her own take on this seasonal theme with her Winter Warmers lineup, at both the Argentine-inspired rooftop bar and lounge Boleo, and literary lounge Vol. 39 in the Kimpton Gray Hotel.

With support from her bar crew at Boleo, Jess looked beyond the Hot Toddy in presenting high-temp cocktails accented with ingredients like Fernet Jelinek Whipped Cream, dark chocolate and rum cake inspiration. Vol. 39 elevated its cocktail game with varieties of boozy hot chocolate nuanced with Indian curry spice and hibiscus agave whipped cream, as well as a frothy approach to the holiday classic Tom & Jerry culled from an heirloom egg batter recipe.

Here’s a look (and the recipes) at those cocktails:

Cold Little Heart

The Cold Little Heart marries El Dorado 8 Year Rum with Balvenie 14 Year Caribbean Cask Whiskey to recreate a hot cocktail version of a cake recipe stolen from cocktail creator Kelsey Lappa’s childhood neighbors. Splicing Avua Amburana Cachaça with dulce de leche and orange citrate bitters, this cocktail sings with elements of citrus and peat finished with a grated nutmeg garnish.

¾ oz. Eldorado 8 yr
½ oz. Avua Amburana
2 barspoons Balvenie 14 year
½ oz. Drambuie
½ oz. Dulce de Leche
Top with hot water
2 drops orange citrate bitters

Batch Build: 1.75 oz Batch, .5 oz Dulce de Leche, bitters, top hot water
Method: Toddy
Glass: Irish coffee mug
Garnish: Grated nutmeg

Cold Little Heart

Dark Days

An homage to Irish Coffee without using any actual coffee, Dark Days splashes together flavors of the American South with a Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon foundation accompanied by St. George NOLA coffee liquor. Though served toddy style in an Irish coffee mug, it’s topped with a cloud of Fernet Jelinek whipped cream, lending this drink a silky texture and rooty hints of sarsaparilla.

1 oz. Wild Turkey 101
1 oz. Nola Coffee Liquor
Top with hot water

Method: Toddy
Glass: Footed Irish coffee mug
Garnish: Jellinek whipped cream

Dark Days

Sweater Weather

Adapted into hot cocktail form by bartender Anastasia Sasewich in tribute to the crisp air-and-warming daytime sun combination characteristic of Autumn’s middling chill, Sweater Weather buzzes with fall flavors. The clear Ecuadorian brandy variation Zhumir Aguardiente imbues the drink with a subtropical slant highlighted by notes of savory grass that complement the bitterly brisk Amaro Cinpatrazzo. Rounded with Rhine Hall oak-aged apple brandy and garnished with a cinnamon stick, Sweater Weather represents Autumn’s drinkable swan song.

1 ¼ oz. Zhumir Aguardiente
½ oz. Amaro Cinpatrazzo
¼ oz. RH Oak Aged Apple Brandy
½ oz Lemon
¾ oz. Dem
Top hot water

Batch build: 2 ¾ oz. batch, ½ oz. lemon
Method: Toddy
Glass: Irish coffee mug
Garnish: Chai-dusted apple chip

Sweater Weather

For Lovers Only

An Argentine-inspired hot cocoa. Building Fernet Lola atop the brandy propels the spiced cassia bark notes with a touch of eucalyptus while the rich dark chocolate topped by ruby port-spiced whipped cream crowns up this drink.

¾ oz. Lusta Brandy de Jerez
¾ oz. Fernet Lola
1 oz. Hot chocolate Syrup
Top hot water

Batch build: 1 ½ oz. batch, 1 oz. hot chocolate syrup, top hot water
Method: Toddy
Glass: Coffee cup with saucer
Garnish: Ruby port-spiced whip, grated chocolate

For Lovers Only

Tom & Jerry

Originally created by journalist Pierce Egan in 1820, Lambert reinterprets the iconic Tom & Jerry classically served at holiday house parties for generations with a recipe culled from a hand-scrawled card found in the pages of Jerry Thomas’ How To Mix Drinks book. The Vol. 39 version infuses this hot cocktail’s brandy base with both aged & black-strapped rums, themselves mixed with baking spice-whipped egg batter. This cocktail sips light and creamy — a welcome departure from standard eggnog.

1 part Cruzan Blackstrap
1 part Bacardi 8yr
1 part Pierre Ferrand 1840

Batch Build: 1 ¼ oz. blend, 2 ½ oz. batter, top hot water
Glass: Wedgewood coffee mug and saucer
Garnish: Grated nutmeg

Tom & Jerry

Indian Summer

A nod to Northern California’s “Indian Summer,” the NorCal-raised bartender Kathleen Amtower’s toasty Indian Summer cocktail pairs J. Rieger Kansas City whiskey with Bay Area-distilled St. George Pear Brandy, Allspice Dram and magnolia blossom oolong tea syrup for a liquid riff on a notorious regional season. Served in a coffee mug and garnished with a dehydrated pear, this hot drink’s respective Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters imbue it with a fire orange hue reminiscent of late-changing leaves.

¾ oz. J. Rieger Kansas City Whiskey
¾ oz. St. George Spiced Pear Liquor
¼ oz. Allspice dram
1 oz Magnolia Oolong Tea Syrup
½ oz. Lemon
2 dash Angostura
2 dash Peychaud’s bitters
Top hot water

Batch build: 2 ¾ oz. batch + ¾ oz. lemon, bitters; top hot water
Method: Toddy
Glass: Wedgewood mug with saucer
Garnish: Dehydrated pear

Indian Summer

Pink Squirrel

Created by bartenders Meredith Barry and Dan O’Connell, the Pink Squirrel melds H by Hine Cognac, Crème de Noyaux, Pierre Ferrand dry Curacao and white chocolate syrup into a playfully sassy hot chocolate with noticeable fortitude. Dashed with both Angostura and cherry bark vanilla bitters, and topped with hibiscus agave-whipped cream, this heat-driven cocktail’s pink peppercorn dusting rounds it with a decadent kick.

1 ¼ oz. Hine Cognac
½ oz. Crème Noyaux
¼ oz. PF dry
1 oz. white chocolate syrup
2 dashes ango
2 dash cherry bark vanilla bitters
Top hot water

Batch Build: 2 oz batch, 1 oz white chocolate syrup, bitters, top with hot water
Method: Toddy
Glass: Foot Irish coffee mug
Garnish: Hibiscus agave whip, pink peppercorn sprinkles

Pink Squirrel

Bangalore Hot Chocolate

Bartender Meredith Barry’s salute to childhood hot chocolate (pictured atop) joins Amrut Fusion Whisky with yellow Chartreuse, before coupling dark chocolate syrup and tomato powder for a sugar-balancing acidic touch. The Amrut Fusion whisky’s hints of smoke flicker against the cinnamon and curry bitters while the dark chocolate tempers the floral Chartreuse. Floated with a yellow chartreuse and Amrut-scented marshmallow toasted to order, this drink’s classic cocoa body and frothy top add familiarity to an otherwise radical departure from the classic hot chocolate of childhood.

1 oz Amrut
1 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 tsp Tomato powder
¼ oz. Cinnamon dem
1 oz Dark chocolate syrup
1 dropper curry bitters
Top hot water

Batch Build: 2 oz. batch, ¼ oz. cinnamon dem, 1 oz. dark chocolate syrup, bitters
Method: Toddy
Glass: Irish coffee mug
Garnish: Boozy marshmallow, tomato dust, cinnamon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Privacy Preference Center