To paraphrase a rather popular US TV show, winter is here. Some parts of the country have been doing their best impressions of winter wonderland with sprinklings of snow, while the country’s capital has noticed a sharp decline in the previously balmy temperatures of September and October. In summary, it’s really bloomin’ cold!
We’re actually feeling pretty pleased that the weather is more appropriate for the season, but it certainly feels like we moved very quickly from summer to winter, without really stopping off in autumn. That means the cold is more than a bit of a shock to the system, so we’ve been researching what winter warmers from around the world we can take inspiration from to keep cosy this season. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous than just settling in for a cup o’ joe or the classic festive hot chocolate, we’ve got a couple of suggestions you could try.
1. Irish coffee – Ireland (obvs)
We’ve got a lot to thank the Irish for, not in the least the delight of adding a touch of creamy booze to an already tastebud tantilising coffee. We particularly like making our Irish coffees more of a dessert, by adding Irish whiskey, Baileys, whipped cream, coffee flavoured Kahlua and a sprinkling of brown sugar. This will certainly get the synapses snapping.
2. Gluhwein – Germany
A long-time favourite of German inspired food markets across the world, Gluhwein is roughly translated as “glow wine” because of the hot irons used to warm the liquid. It can be served as an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage and is often less sweet than other seasonal alternatives. It’s also particularly good if you want to enjoy a bit more booze. Just add lemon, cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks and cardamon pods to your cheap red wine and warm over a low heat.
3. Bombardino – Italy
Bombardino is particularly popular on Italian ski resorts over the colder months. Legend suggests this popular tipple was created after four skiers stumbled into a ski lodge from a blizzard looking for something to combat the cold. The proprietor of the ski lodge quickly stirred together milk, whiskey, and an egg-based custard. One of the frozen fella’s tried the drink and declared that the warmth of the booze made him feel as if a bomb had gone off in his insides! Over time, the recipe was perfected to a creamy egg liqueur stirred into choice brandy and all topped with whipped cream and cinnamon.
4. Sbiten – Russia
Gaining it’s name from the process of grinding herbs in a pestle and mortar, the Russian sbiten drink is a honey based drink that can be served with or without booze. The honey means it’s another sweet one, but it’s perfect for a snuggly Sunday evening in front of the telly. You’ll need honey, sugar, cloves, cardamon pods, fresh ginger, lemon zest and a touch of fresh mint.
5. White glogg – Sweden
Swedish special glogg is a wine with spices, sugar and usually another liquor added in for good measure. Unlike gluhwein, glogg is usually made with white wine and packs it’s punch with a whole host of flavours. It’s a bit more of an extensive shopping list for this one – but you’ll be rewarded. Pick up lemon, white wine, fresh ginger, cloves, vanilla sugar, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, star anise and throw in some vodka or gin if you’re feeling fancy.
6. Caribou – Canada
The Canadians are experts at dealing with winter without ever being phased, so we had to include this, their favourite chilly weather drink. Caribou is a taste of Canada’s history too – traditionally blending British Port, French cognac and native maple syrup perfectly, and is billed as Quebec’s secret recipe for beating the cold.
7. Cafe Mexicano – Mexico
As indulgent as you’d expect from a Mexican Christmass-y, chocolate-y, cocoa-y drink, this is not one for the faint-hearted savoury fans amongst us. It’s a mix of Kahlúa, brandy, chocolate syrup, cinnamon and hot, hot, hot coffee, ordinarily topped with whipped cream. It’s another dessert drink really, but as long as you’re not having one every day, a little luxury never hurt nobody.
8. Canelazo – Colombia
This drink is traditionally enjoyed by folks who live high up in the Andes. Made predominantly of cane sugar, it’s inevitably very sweet and allegedly sizzles on the tongue. One of the main ingredients is aguardiente, known as “fire water”, so you get an idea of what it tastes like.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to rustle anything up at home, you can always pop and see us. We’ve got 2-4-1 cocktails on a Monday and Tuesday evening right now, and we’d love to welcome you. It’s pretty cosy in here.