Winter Weather Calls for Decadent Drinks

'Tis the season for strong spirits, spices, and après-ski drinks.
A decadent dessert cocktail featuring rum and Nutella from Meauxbar.
A decadent dessert cocktail featuring rum and Nutella from Meauxbar.

Though the term "après-ski" brings to mind glamorous jet-setters lounging around a roaring fireplace in a Swiss chalet, it's also a useful term that should be reconsidered for reentry into the winter drinks lexicon — whether or not there's a ski lodge in sight.

Literally, the French phrase refers to the social activities one might partake in after a long day of hitting the slopes — from heading down to the mountain village in the early afternoon to chowing down on traditional alpine dishes like fondue and Raclette. Because skiing is primarily an individual sport, the late afternoon is a cherished timeframe in major ski towns for regrouping and socializing before another early morning run on the mountains.

A decadent hot chocolate with a rosy twist. Photo by Tom Elms. A decadent hot chocolate with a rosy twist is one way to warm up after a day of skiing the slopes. Photo by Tom Elms.

While most of us probably can't even afford the lift ticket at an Austrian ski resort, we can certainly indulge our hankering for rich, indulgent cocktails on a wintry afternoon. "When it's frighteningly cold outside people crave warm comforting things," says Gillian White, the bar director at Meauxbar in New Orleans. "What's more comforting than a warm hot chocolate or the taste of a bar spoon of Nutella straight from the jar? I like to combine both in our classic take on a cold weather drink."

The Ballycotton Toddy includes Irish whiskey, black currant and Irish Moss swirled together with honey, lemon and allspice. The Ballycotton Toddy combines Irish whiskey, black currants and Irish moss swirled together with honey, lemon and allspice.

Be warned: by their very nature, these drinks are designed to be rich in both flavor and spirits, so any pretense of calorie-counting or low-ABV inclinations need to be set aside. After all, 'tis the season to treat oneself, and those New Year's resolutions, juice cleanses, and January promotions for gym memberships exist for a reason.

Ballycotton Toddy

by Raven & Rose beverage director David Shenaut

  • 1.25 oz Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey
  • .5 oz cassis
  • .5 oz honey syrup
  • .5 oz Carrageen moss*
  • .75 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz boiling water

Directions: Mix all ingredients in small metal pitcher, steam with espresso wand to create foamy head. Grate cinnamon over top.

*Carrageen moss: Soak 7 grams of dried moss in 30 oz (by volume) warm water for 10 min. Add 20 allspice berries. Simmer on hotplate for 20 min. Strain off solids in Chinois.

Rum, Coffee & Nutella

by Meauxbar bar director Gillian White

1.5 oz Mt Gay black barrel rum
1.5 oz cold brew coffee
.75 oz heavy cream
1 heaping bar spoon of Nutella

Directions: Build in cocktail shaker, dry shake/wet shake. Can be served hot or cold (heat by steaming cocktail after straining into Irish coffee glass).

Snow for a Rose

by Lanique

  • 35ml Lanique rose petal liqueur
  • 15 ml Cognac

Directions: Stir into a cup of good quality hot chocolate, top with cream and grated chocolate.

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