Posted: 2 Jul 2014

A barman’s guide to
mixing winter cocktails

Melbourne’s hidey-hole bars are perfect places to escape the winter chill, especially when there’s an open fire and a fabulous cocktail list.

Double Happiness ticks all boxes, with a central fireplace and friendly bar staff led by Manny Plastsis (pictured above) – the master of creating a cocktail to suit your mood.

But if cold nights in Chinatown aren’t your thing, here are Manny’s favourite winter cocktail recipes to make at home. The hot toddy is a magical remedy for winter chills and sniffles.

Hot Toddy cocktail1. Hot Toddy

The Hot Toddy is a very old drink, but the history remains unclear. One thing is clear though – this spiced and slightly sweet scotch whiskey-based drink is the quintessential winter tipple.

60ml good quality scotch whiskey
15ml honey
30ml fresh lemon juice
60ml boiling water
6 dried cloves
Add all ingredients into a tempered glass (preferably with a handle) or ceramic mug and stir until the honey dissolves. Throw in cloves (cinnamon or star anise work well too) and enjoy.

Egg nog2. Egg Nog

Egg Nog is a drink traditionally made around Christmas time in North America and Canada. It might not be common here, but it’s worth trying. It’s deliciously rich and perfect to drink in cold weather.

60ml sweet dark rum
30ml sugar syrup (or your preferred liqueur, Pedro Ximenez sherry works well)
60ml full cream milk
1 whole egg
Add all ingredients to mixing bowl and whisk until everything is mixed to a creamy consistency. Alternatively, add ingredients to cocktail shaker and shake vigorously without ice, and then again with ice. Pour over ice into your preferred glass and garnish with a little grated cinnamon or nutmeg.

3. Mulled Wine

Recipes for mulled wine have been floating around for centuries, and with good reason. Try this recipe for yourself, and don’t be afraid to try it with different wines, spices or liqueurs. It’s all down to personal preference after all.This recipe serves 8.

1 bottle of red wine
1?2 cup sugar
2 cups water
1 orange, sliced and seeded
10 cloves
4 cinnamon quills
Add orange, sugar, water and spices to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Reduce heat again, add wine and stir until warmed. Take off heat and serve.

4. Boilermaker

The boilermaker (a beer and a shot) is a favourite of many bartenders, but not all are intended for quick consumption. In this case, a popular combination is that of a heavy dark ale (stout, porter, scwarzbier or bock) paired with a nicely smoked Islay Scotch Whiskey. There is something quite pleasing about the rich and heavy flavours of these beers (think coffee, chocolate, toffee and caramel) matched with a robust, sharp and smoky whiskey. As with all of these recipes, feel free to mix and match until you find the perfect pair for yourself.

5. Pedro Ximenez

Pedro Ximenez is a type of Spanish sherry. Mainly taken after dinner as a dessert wine, it’s intensely rich and dark exhibiting flavours of raisin and molasses. The following is a favourite house cocktail at Double Happiness using Pedro Ximenez.

60ml Pedro Ximenez sherry
30ml fresh lemon juice
2 dashes Angostura bitters (found at any bottle-o)
10-20 coffee beans
Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into wine glass over crushed ice and garnish with grated cinnamon.

Try Manny’s cocktails at Double Happiness, 21 Liverpool St, Melbourne, 9650 4488.

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