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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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The Latest Way to Enjoy Pho in Vietnam: As a Cocktail
James Duong, AFP/Getty Images
James Duong, AFP/Getty Images

Pho is something of a national dish in Vietnam. The noodle soup, typically topped with beef or chicken, can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. There’s even a version of it for happy hour, as Lonely Planet reports.

The pho cocktail, served at Nê Cocktail Bar in Hanoi, contains many of the herbs and spices found in pho, like cinnamon, star anise, cilantro, and cardamom. Without the broth or meat, its taste is refreshingly sweet.

The drink's uniqueness makes it a popular choice among patrons, as does the dramatic way it's prepared. The bartender pours gin and triple sec through the top of a tall metal apparatus that contains three saucers holding the spices. He then lights the saucers on fire with a hand torch as the liquid flows through, allowing the flavors to infuse with the alcohol as the drink is filtered into a pitcher below.

The pho cocktail
James Duong, AFP/Getty Images

Pham Tien Tiep, who was named Vietnam’s best bartender at the Diageo Reserve World Class cocktail competition in 2012, created the cocktail six years ago while working at the famous French Colonial-era hotel the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, according to AFP. He has since brought his signature drink to several of the stylish bars he owns in Vietnam’s capital, including Nê Cocktail Bar.

Initially, he set out to create a drink that would represent Vietnam’s culture and history. “I created the pho cocktail at the Metropole Hotel, just above the war bunkers where the American musician Joan Baez sang to the staff and guests in December 1972 as bombs fell on the city,” Tiep told Word Vietnam magazine. “The alcohol in the cocktail is lit on fire to represent the bombs, while spices, such as chili and cinnamon, reflect the warmness of her voice.”

Tiep has a reputation for infusing his drinks with unusual local ingredients. He has also created a cocktail that features fish sauce, a popular condiment in Vietnam, and another that contains capsicum, chili, and lemongrass in an ode to the bo luc lac (shaking beef) dish, according to CNN.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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Just 5 Alcoholic Drinks a Week Could Shorten Your Lifespan
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Wine lovers were elated when a scientific study last year suggested that drinking a glass of wine a day could help them live longer. Now a new study, published in The Lancet, finds that having more than 100 grams of alcohol a week (the amount in about five glasses of wine or pints of beer) could be detrimental to your health.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the British Heart Foundation studied the health data of nearly 600,000 drinkers in 19 countries and found that five to 10 alcoholic drinks a week (yes, red wine included) could shave six months off the life of a 40-year-old.

The penalty is even more severe for those who have 10 to 15 drinks a week (shortening a person’s life by one to two years), and those who imbibe more than 18 drinks a week could lose four to five years of their lives. In other words, your lifespan could be shortened by half an hour for every drink over the daily recommended limit, according to The Guardian, making it just as risky as smoking.

"The paper estimates a 40-year-old drinking four units a day above the guidelines [the equivalent of drinking three glasses of wine in a night] has roughly two years' lower life expectancy, which is around a 20th of their remaining life," David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the University of Cambridge who was not involved with the study, tells The Guardian. "This works out at about an hour per day. So it's as if each unit above guidelines is taking, on average, about 15 minutes of life, about the same as a cigarette."

[h/t The Guardian]

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