Spike your holiday with spirits

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Nothing takes the edge off the holiday crazies like a mug of something that warms you right down to your grinchy little toes. These winter warmers will light your fire and keep you aglow through all the gift-buying, package-sending, tree-trimming, Christmas-caroling, party-going, a-wassailing, stocking-stuffing, gift-wrapping, and relative-visiting that comes your way this season. Leave a mugful for Santa and then settle down for that well-deserved long winter’s nap.

Caution! A cup of this eggy holiday drink might cause you to, ahem, nog off. (File photo)

Boozy eggnog
Serves 24
1 quart milk
12 eggs
¼ tsp. salt
1½ cups sugar
1 cup bourbon
1 tbs. vanilla extract
½ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg, divided
1 quart whipping cream
Heat milk in a large saucepan over medium heat, but do not boil. Beat eggs, salt, and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until thick and pale. Gradually add the hot milk into the egg mixture in batches, stirring constantly. Stir over medium-low heat for 25 to 30 minutes or until milk mixture thickens and reaches 160° on an instant-read thermometer. Stir in bourbon, vanilla, and half of the nutmeg. Remove from heat, cool, cover, and chill for up to 48 hours. Beat whipping cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into milk mixture and sprinkle with remaining nutmeg before serving.

 

 

 

Hot buttered rum
Serves 12
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch salt
Bottle dark rum
Boiling water
In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Refrigerate until almost firm. Spoon about 2 tbs. of the butter mixture into 12 small mugs. Pour about 3 ounces of rum into each mug, top with boiling water, stir well, and serve immediately.

Chocolate Kiev
Serves 8
1 quart milk
1 cup hot cocoa mix
8 ounces vanilla vodka
6 ounces Amaretto
Heat milk in a large saucepan over medium heat, but do not boil. Add hot cocoa mix, stirring to dissolve. Stir in liquors and serve with marshmallows or topped with whipped cream.

Hot toddy
Serves 12
1 lemon, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup sugar
1 quart water
2½ cups Scotch
Freshly grated nutmeg
Combine the lemon, sugar, and water in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves completely. Add the Scotch, reduce the heat to low, and serve warm with lemon slices and freshly grated nutmeg.

Irish coffee
Serves 8
8 cups freshly brewed hot coffee
½ cup brown sugar
12 ounces Irish whiskey
Heavy cream, slightly whipped
Dissolve sugar into hot coffee and stir in Irish whiskey. Pour into mugs and top each with a swath of the whipped cream by pouring it slowly over the back of a spoon.

Mulled wine
Serves 10
2 bottles dry red wine
4 ounces port or brandy
4 cinnamon sticks, plus more for garnish
Peels from 1 large orange
12 whole cloves, studded into orange peels
Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Do not allow mixture to boil. Heat for 20 minutes, ladle into mugs, and garnish with cinnamon sticks.

Spiced and spiked cider
Serves 4
1 tsp. whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise
Juice of 1 orange
1 quart apple cider
3/4 cup spiced rum
4 peels from an orange
Add the cloves, cinnamon sticks and star anise to a large saucepan over medium heat and lightly toast the spices in the pan for 1 minute. Add the orange juice and apple cider, and simmer (but do not boil) for 10 minutes. Lower the heat and add the rum. Ladle the cider into mugs and garnish with orange peels.

History in the drinking
The former owner and wine making team behind one of the Napa Valley’s cult-est Cabs, Screaming Eagle, have produced a wine to benefit the University of Virginia. A blend of 78 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 22 percent Merlot from the Napa Valley, ‘1819’ costs $55 ($65 if you want it in a special gift box) with 25 percent going to your choice of either Access
UVA’s scholarship program or the Rotunda Restoration Project. The vintage is 2009, which, assuming it boasts the brawn of most California Cabs, will be ready to drink in 2019—just in time to celebrate the bicentennial of the founding of UVA.

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