Winter Cocktails: Mulled Ciders, Hot Toddies, Punches, Pitchers and Cocktail Party Snacks published by Quirk books is an enchanting book from the onset. The authors, Maria Del Mar Sacasa (how exotic is that name?) and Tara Striano are both experienced food writers, stylists and photographers and their work has graced the pages of Vogue, Elle and The Oprah magazine.
Now, I love cook/baking books and I have almost 100, but this book, dedicated to the drinks will become a firm favourite within my household. Let me explain, the book is beautifully illustrated, there are many pictures of warm winter drinks, many which I have not heard of before which makes me want to widen my palette with the drinks that are available to make.
There is a very informative introduction on essentials, fridge basics, serve ware, glassware, ice molds, muddling, flavoured rims, caramel, opening champagne, citrus garnishes and granita: after a good read there will be no excuses not to make the perfect winter cocktail. The variety of alcohol (or liquor) that is covered in the book is explained in the introduction section, with a definition of the type of alcohol, the flavour and the colour which I found useful as I tend to stick to the same sort of spirits. There are 5 style of drinks that are covered within this book including:
- Hot Toddies and Mulled Drinks
- Eggnog, Hot Chocolate, Coffee and Tea
- Punches and Pitchers
- Chilled Winter Cocktails
- Underpinnings, Infused Liquors, Simple Syrups etc.
There are so many drinks that I want to make from this book, from the closing of Winter, into Spring and beyond. Bookmarked recipes so far include: Classic Eggnog , described as a cream-based drink sweetened with sugar and spiked with spirits, 1001 Nights described as a coconut, milk and date portion, Winter White Hot Chocolate, a snowy edition of the dark classic and Planters Punch, a tropical respite.
I made the Classic Hot Chocolate and was, quite frankly, blown away with how rich, delicious, thick, chocolatey this drink was. Certainly, no packet powdered hot chocolate could come close, and having never made hot chocolate from scratch before, I feel slightly cheated that I have never made this before considering how easy it is. I topped my hot chocolate with marshmellows, which was perfect for a Sunday night chillaxing day.
Here is how my Classic Hot Chocolate topped with marshmellows turned out:
|Homemade hot chocolate|
|Homemade hot chocolate|
This was super simple to make ......
|Melt the butter|
|Add cocoa powder and dark muscavodo sugar.|
|Add dark chocolate.|
Recipe for Classic Hot Chocolate - serves 4
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup natural coco powder (I used 1.5tbsp)
3 tbsp dark muscavodo sugar
4 cups of whole milk
6 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate
1 tbsp vanilla extract
marshmellows for serving.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and brown sugar and whisk until a paste forms. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer over a medium-high heat, cook, stirring until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. Serve in warm mugs. Top with marshmellows and enjoy.
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