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A Booker's Guide to 6 Winter Cocktails

There’s nothing like a hot cocktail to warm up during the winter. Keep reading to learn the history of the world’s best winter cocktails, as well as the best places to enjoy them.

Hot Toddy in India

This sweet and soothing brew hails from India

This sweet and soothing brew hails from India

The hot toddy isn’t just delicious – it’s also considered a cure for the common cold. The first Hot Toddy is said to have been originally inspired by a local drink in British-controlled India, and has gone through many incarnations since.
This drink is made from fermented palm sap— called tārī in Hindi—and used to be a sweet and spicy concoction served cold. Word spread quickly, and the drink's popularity spread to North America and the UK, eventually ending up as the Hot Toddy we know today: a blend of whiskey, rum, or brandy mixed with honey, lemon, and spices. Whether a little sick or in great health, Bookers can treat themselves to a signature Spiced Toddy at Grandmama’s Café in Mumbai. From there, the luxurious St. Regis Mumbai is just a short rickshaw ride away.

Irish Coffee in Ireland

Irish Coffee is every sweet-tooth’s favorite

Irish Coffee is every sweet-tooth’s favorite

Like many of the world’s best recipes, Irish coffee was an accident. When trying to warm up a group of stranded North American Pan Am passengers in County Limerick, chef Joe Sheridan added a splash of whiskey to some sweetened coffee with fresh cream. The passengers asked if they’d been served Brazilian coffee. Sheridan called it “Irish coffee,” and a legend was born. For the best Irish coffee around, head straight to Dublin. Vice Coffee, Inc. is as famous for its take on this warm cocktail as it is for its Guinness cake. For a mean Irish coffee in a more traditional pub setting, stop by O’Donoghue’s and O’Sullivans. Then Bookers should check in to the boutique Morgan Hotel, right across the river from Vice Coffee, Inc. and other popular bars.

Glühwein in Germany

Sip on a Glühwein with some festive gingerbread

Sip on a Glühwein with some festive gingerbread

Like so much of European culture, spiced wine started with the Romans. The recipe spread throughout medieval Europe and soon became a winter tradition with near-identical variations popping up in England, France and Germany (known as mulled wine, vin chaud and Glühwein, respectively). In fact, the German version is served at traditional Christmas markets, often with gingerbread, and made with red wine, citrus fruits, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. A mug costs about 5 Euros (usually including a deposit for the mug), so Bookers can explore all the Christmas stalls and never stop sipping. The Savoy Hotel has a central location, great for checking out the city’s best Christmas markets.

Hot Buttered Rum in Jamaica

Warm your spirit with a Jamaican Hot Buttered Rum

Warm your spirit with a Jamaican Hot Buttered Rum

Although hot rum under a scorching sun on a Caribbean island might sound strange, Jamaican rum is well worth it. After the British Royal Navy invaded Jamaica in 1655 and sailors’ daily ration of brandy got replaced by rum, this delicious liquor spread fast. Soon it was being imported in bulk to distilleries across Europe and the USA. It started working its way into winter drinks, getting mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and—most importantly—butter. Stay at Kingston’s amazing Tranquility Estate where Bookers can warm up with a hot buttered rum for a nightcap on the terrace overlooking the Kingston hills.

Tom & Jerry in USA

New Orleans’ French Quarter is the best place for a Tom & Jerry. Photo credit: Brian Huff

New Orleans’ French Quarter is the best place for a Tom & Jerry. Photo credit: Brian Huff

The Tom & Jerry is rich and creamy—like a cross between a Hot Toddy and Eggnog—making it the perfect cocktail for the holiday season. Although it’s known as an American classic, it was actually invented by British writer Pierce Egan in the 1820s. Enjoy this sweet, syrupy concoction with its brandy-laced, nutmeg-dusted froth in a generously-sized mug or bowl. Bookers should try it on Christmas Eve in New Orleans, when one of the city’s most iconic bars, Arnaud's French 75, serves the drink to-go for people to take as they explore the lively French Quarter. Stay at Hotel Royal New Orleans, a traditional New Orleans house with a beautiful courtyard in the French Quarter.

Hot Chocolate with Tequila in Mexico

This Mexican hot chocolate puts the rest to shame

This Mexican hot chocolate puts the rest to shame

For the best hot chocolate (and tequila) of all time, Bookers should head to where they’ve been brewed together for centuries – Mexico. Here, hot chocolate—or “chocolate caliente”—is simply made of chocolate and milk, spiced with cinnamon, cayenne, and chile. It’s best served with a side of churros and, of course, a splash of liquor. Following Mayan tradition, organic dark chocolate and high-quality tequila are used for the thickest, creamiest, and strongest winter cocktail. Visit El Moro in Mexico City, a chocolate caliente institution, for a non-alcoholic version. Then spend the night right around the corner at Hotel Marlowe.

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