In these chilly mid-winter months, all it takes is a good spirit to ease the shivers and warm the soul. In the search for winter cheer, Melissa Sinclair, general manager of the Motley Cow Café, and Katy Meyer, owner and chef at Trumpet Blossom Café have shared their thoughts on crafting seasonal cocktails that reflect the time of year.
Of her preferred winter spirits, Sinclair says “they are the flavor profiles you would expect in a celebration.”
Gunpowder Hot Scotch
A smokey, earthy hot cocktail made with Scotch, gunpowder green tea, black tea, honey and lemon
Sparkling wine, sugar cube, lavender bitters and Pernod Absinthe
“The Sparkling wine is celebratory, and the lavender has floral scents that make me think of Valentine’s day.” -Melissa Sinclair
Hendricks Gin, sake, pomegranate and pickled ginger
An unexpected combination of sake and herbal gin with a kick of pickled ginger and pomegranate, Sinclair says the good fortune represents a “cute blessing,” perfect for ringing in the Chinese New Year or toasting to a sweetheart.
Grand Marnier and Courvoisier
The warmed snifter this cocktail is served in amps up the aromas of the drink while also clearing out the sinuses.
At Trumpet Blossom, Katy Meyer collaborated with Manager Paige Harwell and other staff to put together a menu that she says is “all about staying warm and feeling cozy.”
Choice of liquor, apple cider and mulling spice
Both Meyer and Sinclair stock this fall staple through the winter months, which Meyer notes “is nice with the addition of a little liquor.” For this, she recommends Iowa whiskeys Templeton Rye or Cedar Ridge.
Choice of liquor, hot chocolate and mint-infused simple syrup
This more “decadent” cocktail, as Meyer puts it, keeps the hope of summer alive: The simple syrup is made with mint that they grew in the summer and then dried to use this winter.
Vodka, fresh mint, lime juice and Maine Root Ginger Brew
The Moscow Mule, Meyer says, is “refreshing but also warming because of the ginger.”
Whisky, green tea, simple syrup, lemon, ginger and cinnamon
In the winter, when many are prone to sickness, some of the ingredients in this drink are natural health aids. The green tea, lemon and ginger “keep you healthier and balance out the liquor part of the drink,” says Meyer.
As with many things in life, Kate Conlow prefers a cocktail with a good story behind it.