By Raul Dias
Quick question: what are the first few things that come to your mind when you hear the word ‘cocktail’? Tall, icy glasses and tumblers filled with colourful, alcohol-laced libations and topped off with imaginative garnishes would be some of the first ways to describe the drinks that both refresh and give you a slight buzz in equal measure.
Well, not quite in this case! We are here to shake things up (pun intended!) a wee bit with a few cocktail iterations that trod the off beaten path. A path that is ultra-seasonal and one that takes you on an alcoholic ride no less potent. We are waxing eloquent about the hot or at the very least warm cocktails that make their annual presence felt the moment the mercury takes a little a southward dive.
Here is looking at everything from hot mulled wines to warm spicy toddies and boozy buttered rums. All perfect drinks to warm the cockles of your heart this festive winter season. And what is even better is that you can make each of them at home yourselves!
Spiced Cinnamon Hot Toddy
At Silver Beach Café, Mumbai
Bourbon and maple with hints of spice makes this hot alcoholic beverage, conceptualised by Iven Henry Raghwan, Senior Bar Manager at Silver Beach Cafe, Bandra, Mumbai, the perfect choice for a nippy evening. The flavourful sweetness of maple does not overpower the notes of the Bourbon, yet it allows the spices to take over subtly and hit the right notes, just like the perfect melody!
Spiced Cinnamon Hot Toddy at Silver Beach Cafe
Ingredients:
3/4 cup maple syrup or cane sugar
3/4 cup warm water
Red chilly to taste
2 whole cinnamon sticks
2 squeezed fresh lemon
2 ounces Bourbon
Hot water (as required)
Star anise (for garnish)
Method:
* Add maple syrup/sweetener, water, cinnamon sticks, chilly to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook and simmer for 5 minutes. Then remove from heat and let it cool for 20 minutes or longer. Strain and store for use.
* For one glass add half of the lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of the prepared spicy syrup, Bourbon and hot water to top.
* Throw in a stick of cinnamon and allow the drink to pull in the flavour of the spice.
* Garnish with star anise, a lemon slice and serve warm
Café Pluck Nutella Hot Coffee
At Café Pluck, Pullman New Delhi Aerocity
There is nothing quite like a cup of coffee, is there? Now, imagine few sips of the aromatic magic with an amazing combination of Nutella, and Baileys Irish Cream and you are suddenly awake and motivated to tackle your day head on. This hot cocktail, perfect for a chilly Sunday midday brunch is an explosion of flavours and textures and is the concoction of Café Pluck’s Assistant Manager, Mayank Pander all deceptively served up in a tall sundae glass.
Cafe Pluck Nutella Hot Coffee
Ingredients:
1 shot espresso coffee
1 shot milk
1 tbsp Nutella
2 tbsp whipped cream
1 shot Baileys Irish Cream
Coffee, chocolate powder and chocolate cookies (for garnish)
Method:
* Take one shot hot espresso in a sundae glass and slowly mix Nutella into the coffee.
* Add one shot of Baileys.
* Make a nice froth from hot, full cream milk and top it up over the coffee.
* Take whipped cream and nicely whip it over the coffee.
* Garnish it with crushed coffee, chocolate powder and chocolate cookies.
Hot Buttered Rum
At Artisan, Sofitel Mumbai BKC
This hot cocktail is especially popular in the fall and winter and is traditionally associated
with the holiday season. “What makes it special is that it suits the Indian plate really well, with the use of spice and rum,” says Rajesh Singh, bar executive at Artisan, Sofitel Mumbai BKC who recently came up with this drink.

Ingredients:
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp butter (soft)
1 dash ground cinnamon
1 dash ground nutmeg
1 dash ground allspice
1 splash vanilla extract
2 ounces Bacardi Gold Rum
5 ounces hot water
Cinnamon stick (for garnish)
Method:
* In mixing bowl, combine butter, vanilla extract, sugar and spices. Beat until well combined.
* In heat-proof glass or mug, combine aged rum with 1 ounce (2 tbsp) spiced butter mixture. Remaining mixture can be stored in airtight container in refrigerator for future use.
* Top with hot water and stir until ingredients are well incorporated. Garnish with cinnamon stick.
Mulled Wine
At Plum by Bentchair, New Delhi
Dubbed the ‘#Plumazing Mulled Wine’, this easy-to-prepare riff on a traditional mulled wine by Plum by Bentchair’s Corporate Mixologist, Raj Negi, is a beautiful meld of red wine, honey, orange zest, and spices to make you feel the pleasure of warmth in this chilly weather.
Hot Mulled Wine from Plum by Bentchair
Ingredients:
150 ml red wine
15 ml honey
A pinch of orange zest
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
2 cloves
Orange slice and cinnamon stick (for garnish)
Method:
* Add all the ingredients in a saucepan simmer gently over
low heat for 10 minutes.
* Serve warm and garnish with orange slice and cinnamon sticks
Read more:
This party season, set your table right with the finest barware and dinnerware
Hiring a bartender for your next house party? Here’s all you need to know

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