Holiday Mixology

Nogs and toddies: New twists on old favorites cut the winter chill
The best way to keep warm this holiday season is with festive twists on the nog and toddy.MCT

The best way to keep warm this Christmas, New Year's and in the cold days to come is with a festive twist on the nog and toddy.

Rich, frothy, homemade eggnog can be so decadent that you'll likely forget about dessert. And hot toddies are so easy — they're nothing more than booze, hot water and sweetener — that it's no wonder they're just what the mixologist ordered to keep your insides toasty. The following recipes celebrate the season with classic flavor profiles that incorporate subtle twists to the old standbys.

Vanilla-infused sugar livens up the standard Christmas Nog's combination of eggs, bourbon, nutmeg, sugar, cinnamon and heavy cream. Make the sugar by leaving it to mingle with a vanilla bean for 24 hours before mixing it into the cocktail. Leftover sugar can be used to sweeten coffee and hot chocolate.

The addition of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder gives this nog an unexpected tinge of chocolate. Or try grating a coffee bean on top instead of nutmeg, which imparts an unexpected, aromatic kick.

Wondering if they could make eggnog any better than it already is, bartenders at Goatfeathers and The Oak Table in Columbia, S.C., crafted the Season's Greetings with two types of cognac. Utterly decadent, this pear-flavored cocktail would pair well with caviar on toast points.

The Columbia bartenders' Bad Santa is a tingling take on eggnog with cinnamon-flavored whiskey. Pairing this cocktail is a no-brainer: Cookies always reward Santa, good or bad.

Both the Season's Greetings and Bad Santa can get their start from the Christmas Nog, devised at the Berkeley, Calif., bar Five.

Another Five speciality, the toddy called 11 Pipers Piping Hot started as a hot apple-pie cocktail. The addition of heavy cream to the apple cider, dark rum, clove water, brown sugar and spiced simple syrup imparts texture and richness.

Here are more tips for the ultimate toddy:

  • Skip expensive bourbons because you're going to add water. But the spirit still needs to be of good quality and high in alcohol.
  • Consider using agave nectar instead of sugar or honey because it is lighter.
  • Another place to experiment is with the citrus. Lemon juice is traditional, but why not try lime or orange?
  • Consider heating a toddy with the cappuccino wand of an espresso machine
  • Serving toddies in a glass with an exterior metal casing keeps them piping hot, like a little heater inside the glass.



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