Winter Spirits to Warm Your Soul

By Matt Grippo / Photography By Chris Chowaniec | Last Updated January 15, 2015
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porter rye flip cocktail

Once January hits (and we have finally stopped bragging to our friends in cold places about our long summer) we will get a tiny dose of winter here in the Bay Area. It’s nothing like the winters I remember as a child growing up in New England. But I like to embrace traditions and pretend it’s a cold winter somewhere.

Something I will never forget are the long days of shoveling my driveway, and the satisfaction of finishing and going inside to warm my bones with a hot drink. As an adult, the best way to do this is with a little booze. And it turns out, people have been using the stuff to warm us up, and even ward off colds and illness, since medieval times.

Possets were a popular drink through the 19th century, and consisted of milk, ale or wine, sometimes heated with a hot iron from a fire. Possets evolved into many styles of warm drinks, all with the same purpose: to comfort. Whether the drink, dram or spices warm your soul, winter drinks exist to carry you through in good spirits until the spring thaw.

Here are a few festive cocktails you can easily make at home that can warm you up in any winter.

Hot Buttered Rum

Hot Buttered Rum
Believe it or not, hot buttered rum has been around since colonial days. Molasses was imported from Jamaica, and distilleries in New England made rum. A popular way to drink rum was in toddies and...

Milk of the Poppy

Milk of the Poppy
This is, basically, a boozy eggnog. Many cultures have an eggnog-style drink they enjoy around the holidays. Rompope, a Mexican traditional eggnog, was chosen for this drink because of its simplicity...

Porter and Rye Flip

Porter and Rye Flip
Flips are another antique cocktail from the age of sail. Most consisted of rum, sugar, ale and egg. Flips can also be served hot or cold. It’s a decadent beverage appropriate for winter imbibing....
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