Countdown with Cocktails- 7: Hot Toddy

The Hot Toddy, also spelled toddie or totty, is a drink made with either whiskey, bourbon or sometimes brandy, a sweet element like sugar or honey and boiling water, a bit like a hot old-fashioned without the bitters. Other tradtional accompaniments include tea, lemon, cloves, and cinnamon.

This drink was believed to releive cold and flu symptoms, Vitamin C for health, honey to soothe and alcohol to numb, however it serves better as a delicious warming and effervescent libation that you can customize to fit your tastes. I've had some with warmed ginger ale, apple cider or cranberry juice in place of the water and Rum as the base.

Hot Toddy

The Hot Toddy

  • 1 1/2 oz Whiskey, Bourbon, Brandy or Dark Rum
  • 1/4 oz sugar, honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice
  • 2 – 4 oz heated water, tea, cider, cranberry juice or ginger ale

Add alcohol, sweetener and lemon juice to a mug

Pour heated liquid over top and garnish with a cinnamon stick and or lemon wheel

Countdown with Cocktails- 8: Apertifs and Digestifs

Appertifs and Digestifs are drinks that are classicly served before dinner (appertif) and after dinner (digestif) and I know that on a day like today with alot of eating, drinks like these will come in handy.

An appertif, which in Latin literally means to open, is a spirit or a cocktail meant to stimulate the appetite, either instead of or combined with a small snack.

Some charesteristics of this cocktail would be that it is dry, rather than sweet, low in alcohol content, utlizing clear spirits and will usually include some kind of botanical like a fortified wine such as sherry or vermouth.

Some classic examples of this would be Lillet, Vermouth and Campari.

The cocktail I will feature four my appertif is called The Negroni, a very classic example of this type of drink and includes both Campari and Sweet vermouth, however this drink is not even close to sweet.

Campari is a red Italian liqueur in the bitters family. It is an infusion of herbs and fruit (including chinotto and cascarilla). In Italy, it is often served with citrus juice and soda water.

This drink can be a bit on the intense side in terms of the bitterness of the Campari, you can top it with some lemon lime soda to sweetne in more than the sweet vermouth can do on its own.

NegroniThe Negroni

1 oz London Dry Gin

1 oz Campari

1 oz Sweet Vermouth

Combine all in a mixing glass with ice and stir for 20 seconds

Strain in a rocks glass with ice or serve neat in a chilled cocktail glass

Garnish with orange twist








A digestif on the other hand is a completely different animal. Meant to aid in digestion and well as serving as the finish to a meal, these drinks tend to contain one or more components on the sweeter side which means a darker spirit like brandy or cognac and are often grape based and inlcude sweeter, fortified wines and dessert liqueurs.

The drink I am featuring as my favroite digestif is called the French Connection, it is a sweet cocktail but more rich than sugary and contains just the right hints of vanilla and almond to taste alot like a buttery, nut pie.

The French ConnectionThe French Connection

1 1/2 oz Cognac

3/4 oz Good Amaretto such as Disaronno or Luxardo

Build in a rocks glass over ice or combine in a warmed snifter

Countdown with Cocktails – 9: Anejo Tequila Old Fashioned

Bitters, water, sugar and spirit.

That is the official recipe for one of the oldest cocktails, the old fashioned. Usually made with whiskey or bourbon and sometimes brandy, this drink's origin can be traced back the the orginal definition of the word cocktail in the 1800s.

While Mrs. Pea prefers her with bourbon and muddled fruit, for this Christmas Eve, I would rather sip on some agave. This cocktail is filled with aromas of orange and vanilla with a smooth, rich finish.

For this recipe, I will swap out all of the tradtional ingredients:

  • Instead of whiskey, I will use Anejo Tequila, aged at least one year in an oak barrel, giving it a smooth smokey flavor
  • In place of traditional Angostura cocktail bitters, I use orange bitters that give this cocktail a citrusy brightness that contrasts  well with the deep, rich, sweet elements of this drink
  • And finally instead of sugar or simple syrup, Agave Nectar, a sweetner derived from the same plants as tequila
  • I will also make this drink in a short flute glass that is better for tasting tequila, though a regular old fashioned or rocks glass will work fine too.
  • Omit the splash of water in this drink, for while it might open up the flavors in whiskey or bourbon, it just dillutes this cocktail.

Anejo Tequila Old FashionedAnejo Tequila Old Fashioned

3 oz Anejo Tequila such as Don Julio

4 dashes Orange Bitters

1/4 oz Agave Nectar


Add Agave Nectar and Orange Bitters to a chilled flute or old fashioned glass.

Top with Anejo Tequila and garnish with an orange twist.




Countdown with Cocktails- 10: Apple Cider Cocktail

To begin my countdown to New Year's Eve in cocktails, I will start with my and Mrs. Pea's favorite cold-weather cocktail, the Apple Cider Cocktail.

We began working on this recipe a few years ago, starting with an apple and mulling spice infused gold rum, mixed with warmed mulled cider and cranberry juice. It tasted really good, mostly just like well balanced mulled cider which really just masked the infused spirit completely. You could have just used any whiskey or spiced rum and gotten the same taste.

I then started to experiment in concentrating the mulling spice flavor into a simple syrup so that we could use less cider and create a cold, sidecar like version of this cocktail.

Apple Cider Cocktail

We Eventually arrived at this recipe:

Apple Cider Cocktail

  1. Add all ingredients to ice filled cocktail shaker
  2. Shake for 20 seconds
  3. Strain into chilled cockatil glass
  4. Garnish with orange twist

And for those who prefer the hot version:

Hot Apple Cider Cocktail

  1. Warm 3-4oz Apple Cider and 1/4 oz Mulling Spice infused Brown Syrup in a mug in the microwave.
  2. Stir in 2-3oz Apple Mulling Spice Infused Rum, Whiskey, Brandy or Bourbon and 1/4 oz orange or ginger liqueur
  3. Garnish with Cinnamon Stick.

And this one that omits the Apple Cider entirely but still has plenty of apple flavor: Apple Cider Martini

Harvest Sidecar

  1. Add all ingredients to ice filled cocktail shaker
  2. Shake for 20 seconds
  3. Strain into chilled cockatil glass
  4. Garnish with orange twist, ginger slice or apple slice