Winter Warmer Old Fashioned


Old Fashioned are considered one of the oldest cocktails.  Pretty simple premise: sugar and bitters muddled together with a measure of whisky added.  Now days you will find that Old Fashioneds have evolved to often include an orange slice and cherries muddled with the sugar and bitters.  I find in general Old Fashioneds because of their classic bones are a great cocktail to riff on.  And while we will talk about the classic one at a later date, I found this amazing one right before Christmas that I made a few changes to and can’t help but share it.  The simple syrup may take a little prep, but I promise you it’s quick and makes the house smell of all good things winter.

Winter Warmer Simple Syrup:

1 apple peeled, cored and cubed

handful of walnut pieces

3 cinnamon sticks, smashed

6 whole cloves, or large pinch of powdered

whole nutmeg, or large pinch of powdered

1 cup raw sugar, (dememara or turbinado,  or the heck with it, white if it’s all you got!)

Bring to a boil in a sauce pan, and then lower to simmer for about 20 minutes.  Strain and let cool.  (The leftover walnuts and apples are a delicious snack!)

Winter Warmer Old Fashioned

2 ounces rye, (or bourbon or irish whisky)

1/2 ounce winter warmer simple syrup

4 dashes Reagan’s orange bitters

2 swaths of orange rind

Large ice ball or cube, if available, otherwise a few regular ice cubes

Muddle syrup, bitters and one swath of orange rind in the bottom of a rocks glass.  Add rye and large ice cube and stir. Twist remaining orange rind over the glass and rub the edge with it before using it as a garnish in the glass.

I was reminded of this cocktail by a post by Deb at Smitten Kitchen here:

Her post was based on a recipe by David Mitten which was first published by Imbibe Magazine.  Here is the original link:






Hot Toddies

So after a ‘not as brief as I would have liked’ hiatus, I’m back! And figured early January is the perfect time to talk about hot toddies.  First, it’s cold, like really, really cold. And it is also cold and flu season, for which hot toddies are medicinal.

The traditional, classic hot toddy consists of hot water, lemon juice, honey and booze. There is debate on whether that booze should be whisky, rum or brandy. I personally favor whisky. And I’ll use any whisky, but find bourbon is my favorite.

If you google hot toddy, you will find many many variations. Some people insist you need to add a tea bag to that hot water and use tea as the backbone. Some feel strongly about adding spices, especially cinnamon or nutmeg, perhaps ginger.  You will also find a few alternate spellings, such as totty and tottie.  However, toddy seems to be the most common spelling

I have fallen in love with a variation of the hot toddy that I read about on Joy the Baker’s blog which substitutes half a fresh squeezed orange for the lemon. ( It is ethereal.

So here is the recipe for your (freezing) cold weather enjoyment.

In a mug, squeeze half of an orange.


Add a hefty dose of bourbon. (I don’t measure, but at least 2 ounces.)


Get a big spoonful of honey. (Only you know how sweet you like things, and yes, you can always add more!)


Fill the mug with not quite boiling water and stir with the spoonful of honey.


What I love about this recipe, like most of the cocktails I make, is that you personalize it. You can put in more or less whisky, honey or hot water. The half of orange, fresh-squeezed is harder to alter, but if necessary, that is what the other half is for!

Enjoy and stay warm!