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9 Warm Cocktails to Sip This Winter

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As the mercury drops (and drops), you need all the warm comfort you can find. So why not use some of that ample indoor time to craft a drink that’s warm, boozy, and all sorts of flavorful? Here are a few worth imbibing.

1. HOT BUTTERED RUM

This classic warmer features all the pleasant winter spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and dark brown sugar. What seals the deal, though, is the generous helping of dark rum and the half stick of butter. This recipe, courtesy of Epicurious, should get the blood flowing.

2. WARM BOURBON CIDER

Apple cider, that wondrous cold-weather beverage, has a boozy best friend in bourbon. Delish’s take on the drink adds nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground ginger for good measure, and makes enough to serve any guests who happen to drop by.

3. HOT SPICED WINE

Like a wintertime sangria, this drink—also known as mulled wine—combines the signature ingredient with spices, citrus, and other lively ingredients. If you’re handy in the kitchen, try this heady take from Food & Wine that adds in cherry brandy, cardamom, and black pepper. Or, try making a slow cooker version.

4. HOT MILK PUNCH

Before you write off the combination of milk and alcohol, consider that this drink has been warming souls since the 17th century. Traditionally served cold, it can also be made warm and frothy, as The New York Times demonstrates. If you’re interested in the classic version, try Mary Rockett’s Milk Punch recipe, which dates from 1711.

5. STOUT HOT CHOCOLATE

There are many ways to booze up hot chocolate, but we’re featuring this one because it also calls for the perfect cold-weather beer. The Floating Kitchen has this unbeatable recipe, which calls for whole milk, unsweetened cocoa, dark chocolate, and 12 ounces of Rogue Chocolate Stout. A scoop of ice cream further sweetens the deal.

6. REMONTEL TODDY

The hot toddy has been a preferred nightcap and cold remedy for generations of drinkers. For a fresh take, try this Mexican-inspired riff from Serious Eats that includes agave nectar, ginger beer, mezcal, and mole bitters. It has a sweet, smoky flavor that’s sure to please.

7. HOT COCOA AND WHISKEY

The name tells you everything you need to know. Follow The Kitchn’s instructions and use Irish whiskey along with homemade whipped cream.

8. LAST STOP DARJEELING

Tea cocktails are—there’s really no other way to say it—hot right now. Across the country, mixologists are livening up Earl Gray and company with sweeteners, spices, and proper doses of rum, gin, and other spirits. Try this recipe from Town and Country, which combines Darjeeling tea with Orleans Cider Bitters, dry sherry, and agave nectar.

9. SPANISH COFFEE

Fresh-brewed coffee, rum, and Kahlua come together to make this eye-opening cocktail. The best part? You get to light it (carefully) on fire. Imbibe offers this recipe courtesy of Huber’s in Portland, Oregon.

All images via iStock.

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7 Surprising Uses for Tequila
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Happy National Tequila Day! While you could celebrate by having a few drinks, you could also skip the hangover by unlocking one of tequila's amazing abilities outside of a glass. Many spirits are useful for activities beyond sipping (vodka, for example, is a great stain and odor remover), but tequila holds some particularly magical powers. Here are just a few of them.

1. SYNTHETIC BAUBLE

In 2008, a team of scientists in Mexico discovered that when the heated vapor from an 80-proof tequila blanco was combined with a silicon or stainless steel substrate, it resulted in the formation of diamond films. These films can be used in commercial applications, such as electrical insulators, or to create one big fake diamond. Who knew that spending $50 on a bottle of Don Julio was such a wise investment?

2. ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCE

Keeping with the science theme: In 2011, researchers at England’s University of Oxford suggested that we may one day be gassing up our cars with tequila. They identified agave, the plant from which tequila is produced, as a potential biofuel source—and a particularly attractive one, as the plant itself is not consumed by humans and can thrive in desert climates.

3. WEIGHT LOSS SUPPLEMENT

Scientists have long promoted the potential benefits of the agave plant for its ability to help dissolve fats and lower cholesterol. The bad news? These properties get a bit diluted when the plant is distilled into alcohol. Even more so when it's whipped into a sugary margarita.

4. SLEEP AID

Take three or more shots of tequila and you’re bound to pass out. A single shot can have the same effect—just not in that drunken stupor kind of way. Relaxation is one of the positive side effects of tequila drinking; a small amount (1 to 1.5 ounces) before bedtime can reportedly help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.

5. COLON CLEANSER

Too much of a good thing may not bring a welcome turn of events for your liver … but your colon will thank you! Researchers at Mexico’s University of Guadalajara have identified the blue agave as a potentially helpful source for delivering drugs to the colon in order to treat colitis, IBS, Crohn’s disease and even cancer.

6. DIABETES PREVENTATIVE

If Ernest Hemingway had known about the healing properties of tequila, his signature drink might have been a margarita instead of a daiquiri. In 2010, experiments conducted at Mexico’s Polytechnic Institute of Guanajuato revealed that the agave plant (which is high in fructans, a fructose polymer) could stimulate the GLP-1 hormone, aiding in increased insulin production.

7. COLD REMEDY

“Plenty of liquids” is a well-known remedy for getting oneself out from under the weather. But expanding that definition to include a kicked-up shot of tequila makes a day laid out on the couch sound much more appealing. In the 1930s, doctors in Mexico recommended the following concoction to fight off a cold.

.5 ounce of tequila blanco
.5 ounce of agave nectar (to eliminate bacteria and soothe sore throats)
.5 ounce of fresh lime juice (for Vitamin C) 

Though some people (including tequila companies) swear by its healing powers, others say it's hogwash.

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What's the Kennection? #158
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