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Winter Warmers by Rachel Edwards
Winter Warmers by Rachel Edwards

Pick up any decent cocktail book and somewhere in its pages you’ll find a statement along the lines of “ice – the most important cocktail ingredient of all”. Now generally I have no problem with this. However in the middle of January, when the Edinburgh wind is ripping through me, the rain feels like tiny little daggers piercing any exposed skin and I realise the central heating timer won’t kick in for another hour, the last thing on my mind is a well chilled martini. What I do long for, though, is a sadly neglected drink – the hot cocktail.


No matter whether it’s a hot punch, a mull, hot eggnog, hot buttered rum, hot spiced rum or hot Winter Pimm’s these drinks all have one great thing in common – the ability to warm you from the inside out. Cup your hands round a mug of any of these, breathe in the wonderful aromas and take a swig. In no time at all you’ll feel you are glowing and will have forgotten all about the miserable Edinburgh weather.


What makes it even better is that most of these drinks are as easy to make as a cup of coffee or tea. Take, for example, hot punch. Punch is simply any drink which contains five key ingredients: citrus, sugar, alcohol, water and spices. For a hot punch just use boiling water. There is even an old mnemonic that will allow you to make a great punch – one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong and four of weak. The fifth ingredient, spice, is added to taste. So following this here are two easy recipes.


Hot rum punch – into a warmed toddy glass or mug, add ½ measure of lime juice, 1 measure of sugar syrup, 2 measures of golden rum and a cinnamon stick. Top up with boiling water and stir.


Classic hot toddy – into a warmed toddy glass or mug place a bar spoon loaded with runny honey. Add ½ measure of lemon juice, ½ measure of sugar syrup, 2 measures of whisky and three cloves. Top up with boiling water and stir.

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