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Warm Winter Cocktails

Six drinks to combat the cold


Polite Provisions' Hot Buttered Rum | Photo courtesy of Polite Provisions

You don’t often see warm cocktails on San Diego menus—and, if you do, it’s often a limited-edition holiday thing. But thanks to the recent chillier-than-normal weather (with more to come), it wasn’t tough to find several good options should you be looking to wrap your cold hands around a warm glass.

My current favorite—because it’s the bar I’m at most often—is the Whistle Stop’s Hot Toddy. It’s surprisingly easy to screw up this drink. I know because I’d never had a decent one until the Whistle’s. It’s a no-frills version—bourbon, honey, lemon juice and hot water—but it’s done just-right here.

Sycamore Den's Dusty Bottoms | Photo by Lori Sokolowski

There are two spots currently doing a Hot Buttered Rum cocktail. Nine-Ten gives its version a bit of spice by infusing Sailor Jerry rum with cinnamon and ginger, then adding Bols Butterscotch Schnapps and cold-pressed apple juice. Polite Provisions goes for a more traditional version with aged Bacardi rum, allspice syrup and unsalted butter (keep reading for the recipe).

Grant Grill’s Cory Alberto has created perhaps the most intriguing warm cocktail I’ve come across. His Blue Lagoon is an aromatic, perfectly balanced blend of Martin Miller’s gin, Geijer Glogg, cloves, lemon, honey and cocoa chai. It arrives at your table in a French press and serves two.

And, finally, two options that are served on the rocks, but pack enough heat to boost your body temperature a degree or two. Sycamore Den recently brought back the Dusty Bottoms (tequila, fresh lime, muddled cucumber, Cholula sauce, simple syrup and cayenne pepper). And, over at Kindred, green-chili-infused vodka is the star of The Spice Must Flow, a tongue tingler that also includes blanco tequila, lime, orgeat, cinnamon and cold brew coffee.


Hot Buttered Rum
by Erick Castro (Polite Provisions)

1.5 oz. Bacardi 8 Anos rum
.75 oz. allspice syrup (recipe below)
1 tbsp. unsalted butter

Combine all ingredients in a toddy glass, add hot water, stir and garnish with grated cinnamon

Allspice Syrup

1 liter of water
3 1/4 tbsp. black peppercorns
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
2 tbsp. cardamom
2 tbsp. allspice
10 pieces star anise
3 oz. peeled and sliced ginger

Bring to a roiling boil and let simmer for 20 minutes. Strain into a container and add an equal amount of brown sugar. Whisk well and refrigerate.

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