Fox Valley Foodie Note: This blog post was written by my friend - The 'Fox Valley Native'. Since he didn't have a picture of the drinks I had to force myself to make one to photograph. Since photographs never are perfect upon first take, I had to make a few more. In the end, I may have been over-served. I'm the victim here.
Fall is in the air! It’s time for hot drinks. Here are my two favorites: hot toddies and hot cider. Both are great for entertaining guests.
Show of hands – how many of you have heard of a “hot toddy,” but are really not exactly sure what it is…? I know I wasn’t, until a couple of years ago. My wife and I were hosting a fall party, and I figured it was high time I quit joking about hot toddies and start drinking them! Here are the three best things about hot toddies: they are easy to make, it’s easy to “make them your own,” and they are delicious!
Here’s what you’ll need to make this classic cocktail:
Tea bags– assorted flavors
Whiskey or brandy
1. Heat water to boiling in a teapot. Meanwhile, coat the bottom of a coffee cup with honey.
2. Add a shot (or two!) of whiskey/brandy to the coffee cup.
3. Optional – add some fresh squeezed lemon juice.
4. Add water from your teapot, and insert your tea bag of choice. Give it a stir. After a few minutes of steeping, you’re good to go!
See how easy it is? And I don’t know how to explain the feeling after drinking one or two, but it’s the opposite of a “brain freeze…”
Hot (Caramel Apple) Cider
This isn’t your grandmother’s mulled cider. It will require a bit more work, but I think it’s different, delicious, and worth the effort.
Here’s what you will need:
¾ cup heavy cream
¾ cup brown sugar
9 cups apple cider
1 ½ cup water
4 cups light rum (or, to taste)
1. First, in a large pot, add the heavy cream and the brown sugar. Stir them together over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Take your time with this, and experiment a little to get the great caramel flavor you’re looking for.
2. Slowly add the water and stir it in. Then pour in your apple cider and stir frequently. Leave it on the heat until it comes to about serving temperature (hot, but not boiling).
3. Then pour in your four cups of light rum and stir. This brings the temperature back down, so you’re going to want to heat it up again.
You can serve it right away, or refrigerate it and serve it later after reheating (I find a slow cooker works well for keeping it warm at a party). Either way, it will separate a little over time, so you’ll want to give everything a good stir before helping yourself to a cup. Enjoy!
Anybody else have a fall/winter drink that warms your head and your hands?