What better way to cure the winter blues than snuggling up to sip something warm? Our guides around the world have shared their favorite winter cocktails and how to make them, so that you can enjoy the comforts of their countries in a cup.
Maine, USA: Hot Buttered Rum
“Hot buttered rum is Maine’s oldest drink, dating back to Colonial times.” says Bettina, whose winery you’ll visit on our Acadia & Maine tour: “Pioneers bought rum from Jamaica and needed a warming concoction for our cold winters. It’s still a favorite winter warmer and I usually make a big batch of the butter, then keep it in the freezer, ready to go whenever I want to make some.”
Ingredients for Hot Buttered Rum—
(for the batter)
Half cup of unsalted butter
Half cup of Maine maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
A half cup of rum (whichever your preference, dark and light both work!)
1 cup warm water or fresh apple cider
How to make Hot Buttered Rum—
Mix together the ingredients for the batter. This can be done in advance!
Add rum and water or cider, and gently heat together in a pan.
Garnish with cinnamon, and for extra indulgence, butter on top.
Ireland: Irish Coffee
“Three cheers for airport restaurants!” says Donal in Ireland “Irish coffee was invented by a chef named Joe Sheridan at Shannon airport, to cheer up tired travelers. It became the drink of the airport, then international travelers made it famous worldwide. As they say, the rest is history! It is very easy to make, and perfect after a walk in the Irish countryside, with a book by a peat fire, or for après ski.”
Ingredients for Irish Coffee—
Freshly made black coffee
How to make an Irish Coffee—
In the bottom of your mug, add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, and whiskey to taste. Then pour in the coffee and stir. Lastly, pour whipped cream onto the top. Don’t stir it, just serve so that you drink the coffee through the cream.
Sebastian, star of our Galapagos tours, tells us “Canelazo is a classic winter drink in the colder parts of South America, the highlands here in Ecuador, and also Colombia and Peru. I love it! Aguardiente is the liquor traditionally used (a moonshine with anise, it translates to fire water!). You can also use brandy or another liquor of your choosing, or leave it out completely for a non-alcoholic version, still delicious. The essential ingredient is cinnamon (it’s in the name – canela is Spanish for cinnamon!). Traditionally we use grated Panela (a a loaf made from sugar cane). It’s easy to find here but not so easy in America, so this is a recipe using brown sugar.”
Ingredients for a South American Canelazo—
3 cups of water
1.5 cups of brown sugar
2 limes, juiced
A pinch of salt
6 cinnamon sticks
Aguardiente, apple brandy or rum (to taste)
How to make a South American Canelazo—
In a pan, boil the water, sugar, lime juice and cinnamon sticks, then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the alcohol to taste, strain it, then serve. It’s delicious!”
Lucette in Quebec says: “Imagine you’ve been skiing or ice skating or exploring one of Canada’s outdoor winter festivals. You want to wrap your hands around a warm, steaming mug and I assure you, this is exactly what you want your mug to contain! Legend states that it used to be made from Caribou blood…whether that is true or not I don’t know, it’s certainly not made from that these days! If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can use ginger ale instead.”
Ingredients for a Canadian Caribou drink—
1 cup red wine or port
½ cup of Canadian whiskey
¼ cup Canadian maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick
How to make a Canadian Caribou drink—
Heat everything together gently in a pan, then pour and drink!
Scotland: Hot Toddy
“If you have a cold, or it’s cold outside, this is every Scottish granny’s solution!” says Alison in Scotland. “There’s a spring in Edinburgh named Tod’s Well, where many great pubs would draw their water from in the 18th century, and it’s believed that this is where the name comes from.”
Ingredients for a Scottish Hot Toddy—
1 cup of boiled water
Scotch whisky (to taste)
1 tablespoon of honey
1 lemon, half juiced, other half sliced
How to make a Scottish Hot Toddy—
Add the whisky, honey, cloves, lemon juice and sliced lemon into a mug. Pour over the water, then stir with the cinnamon stick and leave it in the mug. Let it stand for a few minutes, then enjoy!
From Vibeke, our guide in Norway: “This is my favorite GLØGG (a kind of mulled wine), that I make every year. It really smells like Christmas and will warm you up on a cold day!”
Ingredients for Norwegian Glogg—
4.5 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
1 vanilla bean
4 bits of whole cinnamon
1 pinch of clove
1 pinch cardamom
1 pinch star anise
1 orange (cut in half)
1 lemon (cut in half)
Alcohol (red wine, port, gin, vodka, whichever is your favorite)
Garnish (cinnamon sticks, nuts, raisins, orange, lemon—whatever you like)
How to make Norwegian Glogg—
Put everything in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring carefully now and then until all sugar is melted. Leave to cool for 24 hours. Pour everything through a colander, and then into clean bottles. Keep in the fridge.
It can be mixed 50/50 with red wine, or equal parts of wine and port, maybe with a dash of vodka or gin. Heat the mix up, but do not let it boil. Add cinnamon sticks, citrus fruit, nuts and raisins to go with it in the glass.
Marinela, our Greek Isles guide, says “Rakomelo is the drink of winter in Greece, made with raki and honey, then flavored with citrusy spicy tones. The drink is perfectly mellow and warming. For a mocktail version, replace the raki with orange juice. If you want to really make a cocktail to impress, you can set one cinnamon stick aside, then light it with a flame and add it to the glass just before you serve, the smell is incredible!”
Ingredients for Greek Rakomelo—
2 sticks of cinnamon
Third cup of honey
2 cups of raki
How to make Greek Rakomelo—
Heat all of the ingredients together for five minutes mins in a pan, don’t let it boil! Add the orange peel and enjoy.