When it’s cold outside, nothing warms like a heated cocktail. Parallel 38 offers a rich and boozy Hot Buttered Rum ($11). “Guests want to feel warm and cozy while they are in your restaurant, and one way this can be accomplished is by turning up the heat on your cocktails,” Ross notes.
Scott Clime, who runs the beverage programs for Passion Food Hospitality in Virginia and Washington, D.C., cites his “Crocktails” ($9 each) at Penn Common and District Common as the perfect comforting tipple. Heated behind the bar in slow cookers, these cocktails include the signature Crock-Pot Hot Toddy, made with honey-infused Jim Beam bourbon, lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger, clove and Vivreau water.
“Guests ask for warm drinks with lots of spice and dark liquors during the holiday season,” says Clime, “so we make sure our menus fit that demand and jibes with certain market trends without being too trendy.”
Jessica Seemeyer, head bartender at casual farm-to-table concept Graze in Madison, WI, serves up a few hot cocktails for the holidays. One is Sweater Weather, made with cardamom-infused Cognac, orange liqueur, lemon, maple syrup and hot water. Another is the Yahara Toddy, with Yahara Bay apple brandy, lemon, chamomile honey and Luxardo Amaro served hot.
The smell of smoke when camping in the cooler weather inspired the spicy Fireside Chat cocktail ($14) at the Red Owl Tavern in Philadelphia. Lead bartender Kyle Darrow created the drink recipe by starting with a fall tincture made from ground cinnamon, ground black pepper and 90-proof (or higher) vodka.
He mixes the tincture with bourbon, house-smoked apple cider and maple syrup, garnished with a lemon zest twisted around a bourbon-soaked cinnamon stick. In the fall, Darrow says, “the obvious thing is to gravitate towards whiskeys. The flavors just play so well to the colder weather, and both guests and bartenders reach for the brown stuff.”
Rum for All
Dark and spiced rums are a good match with many flavors of the fall and holiday season. Narvaez at RW Restaurant Group turns to spirits such as The Kraken Black Spiced Rum, which has cinnamon, ginger, clove and molasses notes works well mixed with cola or ginger beer.
Pisco y Nazca’s Proper Rum & Coke ($12) mixes Ron Zacapa 23 Year rum with Coca-Cola and cherry and chocolate bitters, garnished with a cinnamon stick. “Bartenders tend to gravitate towards bubbly, festive and colorful for the holiday season,” says Truschel. “Guests are asking for the same types of cocktails.”
Isaac Grillo, owner and mixologist for the 60-seat Repour Bar in Miami Beach, is also an ambassador for Afrohead dark rum. He uses the spirit in several holiday-inspired creations, including the Pear Express ($12), with muddled ginger, lime, pear purée and ginger beer, and the Cherry Manhattan ($12), with muddled cherries and tarragon, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters.
“That feeling of nostalgia takes you on a journey, and it’s amazing how a cocktail can bring around those feelings,” Grillo says. “It’s great to be able to evoke the flavors of fall—even in sunny South Beach.”