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We’re into the depths of winter, with sub-zero temperatures and wind chill factors that chill to the bone. You can bundle up to keep the outside warm, but what about warming those bones on the inside?
Whiskies, rums, hot chilies, spices, and coffee: here a few warming beverages for frosty nights, prepared for you by bars and restaurants in Waterloo Region.
According to Jennifer Tamse, Beer and Beverage Director at Charcoal Group of Restaurants, tiki drinks are making a comeback in 2019. “What better way to fight off the winter blues than with a sweet, yet slightly spicy twist on a Caribbean classic – altered for the Great White North?” Tamse asks.
Calling “Death in the Caribbean” The Bauer Kitchen’s “irreverent take on a winter warmer that will certainly keep you company on the darkest of nights,” the Uptown Waterloo restaurant’s mixologists have combined Malibu Coconut Rum and Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky, says Tamse.
“We add a house-made smoked chili syrup to warm things up, along with fresh lemon juice, pineapple juice and chilled green tea to keep spirits up.”
The ingredients are combined in a Boston Shaker, strained over ice, and the beverage is finished with a dash of nutmeg and two leaves from a pineapple crown.
We can also add the Bauer’s most popular “mocktail” that General Manager Cindy Fawcett calls “simply a beautiful drink.” The “Flower Child” is dried rose petals, house-made lavender honey syrup, rose water, fresh lemon juice, egg whites and a splash of cranberry juice. The ingredients are double-shaken, first dry and then over ice. “It’s served in a coupe for the most discerning of palates,” says Fawcett.
“We call it the ‘Diplo Splash’ or ‘Twisted Diplo.’ The combination of the rum, Aperol and apricot brandy certainly make it a warming drink,” according to Blackshop’s Thuy Vuong.
To make it, the Cambridge restaurant, located on Hespeler Road just south of Highway 401, mixes Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum with Aperol and apricot brandy. The ingredients go into a shaker of ice and are strained over ice and garnished with an orange twist. “There are sweet, dry-fruit and vanilla notes to balance out the bitters with a delicate, dry finish,” Vuong adds.
Owner Darryl Haus picks out a classic rum and eggnog as his favourite winter cocktail at Grand Surf.
“It’s seven-year Havana Club and house-made eggnog with lots of vanilla and nutmeg,” Haus says.
At Grand Trunk Saloon, he says nothing warms better than the “Sassfrassquatch.” “That’s brown buttered-rum, sassafras and burdock tea with root beer syrup and orange bitters,” Haus adds.
Jake & Humphreys Bistro prepares six special coffees, according to co-owner and co-chef Janet Duncan, who says the “Jake and Humphreys’ coffee sells the most.
“We lemon-and-sugar the rim, add raspberry vodka, Bailey’s, Kahlua and top it off with Sleepy Monk’s Coffee, our house coffee from Baden Coffee Co. It then gets a double-dollop of unsweetened whipped cream,” says Duncan.
She says the bevie sells year-round but spikes in winter, adding that some guests substitute it for dessert. “I expect that it sells the best because it is on the top of the list and has the restaurant’s name!”
Proof bar manager Abbey Rush suggests a warming cup tea – but not your Granny’s tea: “Parallel Tea,” rather.
“During the winter months, I tend to drink more tea, says Rush. “And on the really cold days, why not add a touch of spirits to aid in the warming effect? Earl Grey was always my favorite tea growing up. I love the aromas and flavor profile of bergamot citrus.”
Rush uses Bénédictine & Brandy liqueur for its floral and herbal notes and warming spice flavours. “This cocktail is best served in a big brandy snifter rimmed with turbinado raw sugar for a little sweetness. We then add some perfectly steeped Earl Grey tea and finish with a dash of Angostura bitters and a dehydrated orange slice.” She says the tea’s tannins pair wonderfully with the other ingredients. “The harmonized aromas fill the snifter and delight as a slow sip-and-savor tea cocktail,” Rush says.
Proof front-of-house manager Amanda Harbach suggests a classic: mulled wine that you can make at home.
“Pour wine, brandy and maple syrup into a slow cooker along with cinnamon, cloves and star anise,” says Harbach. “It not only keeps you warm on the outside, but you’ll have enough to serve some friends which makes you warm and fuzzy on the inside!”
No surprise you’ll find tartan at Scran and Dram, including “Tartan Coffee:” that’s a raw-sugar rim, Famous Grouse whisky, Frangelico, single varietal fair-trade coffee from Baden Coffee and freshly whipped cream.
“In our long, cold winters, there’s nothing better than a scotch by the fireplace! Top that with some toasted nuttiness from the Frangelico, some local coffee, and fresh cream, you have a hearty and decadent fire-side treat perfect for warming your bones,” says Scran and Dram co-owner Sabrina Hutchison.
At their sister venue, Imperial Market and Eatery, try “Jack Your Apple,” a warmer made with a cinnamon-sugar rim, apple cider from Elmira-area Springmead Farm and – of course – Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey. “This beverage will resonate with memories of hot apple cider jacked up with the classic comforting flavour of JD,” Hutchison says.
A trusted standby takes the lead at Uptown Waterloo’s Taco Farm, if you ask chef and owner Nick Benninger.
“My first take is the traditional Margarita here at Taco Farm. Perhaps a warmer but certainly a transporter!” Benninger says.
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