When you're wearing more layers than a sherry trifle and ya still can't seem to keep the chills away, there's only one thing for it: a hot cocktail (well, affordable central heating might also do the trick, but we're workin' with what we've got). Mix up these warm serves at home and get cosy, or pour 'em into a thermos for a cheeky nip on a frosty outing...
Any bartender worth his weight in arm-garters knows how to make a Blue Blazer. Created by hero and bartending legend Jerry Thomas, this one can get a little dangerous, so approach with caution. Flaming whisky is poured back and forth between two silver cups, forming a long blue arc of flame. Most bars do their own spin of the Blazer, and as long as it still involves plenty of fire, BarChick doesn't really care.
Bar legend Dre Masso serves up a traditional Blazer using Courvoisier, one sugar cube and Angostura bitters, served warm in a brandy balloon with zesty orange peel.
The team at Roka in Canary Wharf add a spicy Japanese spin to their Blazer with plum sake, apple, cinnamon and big plump cherries. In our opinion, it tastes best when drunk on their outdoor patio overlooking the ice skating rink.
Always known for taking it to the extremes, Artesian bar at The Langham hotel lights Johnny Walker Black on fire and serves it over hot lava stones with a crystallised sugar stick - show offs. Eccentric gastro pub Paradise by Way of Kensal Green calls its Blazer "heavenly", and adds Chambord and fresh berries to make it that way. Sip on one in their angelic courtyard garden. HOT!
It's VERY important to be safe when making this cocktail. Drinking by the fireside is always dreamy, but not when the fire is your burning-down house. You'll wanna practise your free-pouring technique with cold water first, and make the real deal on a non-flammable floor with some fire-fighting equipment nearby (extinguisher, damp towel etc ) - just in case.
Add the sugar, scotch and boiling water into one of your mugs, and carefully ignite with a match. Very carefully, pour the flaming liquid back and forth from mug to mug half a dozen times or so. The more foolhardy will increase the distance each time, which will create a streaking blue flame between the two mugs... it looks cool, but don't attempt if you're nervous. Divide the drink evenly between the two mugs and extinguish the flames by placing the bottom of the alternate mug over the top. Garnish each mug with a lemon twist. BOOM!
BarChick's official man-flu cure is the classic Hot Toddy: a steamy mix of whisky, hot water, cloves, cinnamon, lemon juice and honey. But everyone has their own version, so each to their own. Check 'em out…
The American Bar has perfected the recipe with its Savoy Toddy: rum, fresh lime, orgeat syrup, apple juice, cider and bitters, served warm with cinnamon. It's so good that it has even made its way into the latest edition of the world-famous Savoy Cocktail Book, BarChick's bedtime reading.
In Mayfair? Feeling the cold? Forgot your cashmere? Make your way to the Maddox Club, where the team dreamed up the Never Summer - Hennessy VS Cognac, Mexican vanilla liqueur, French chestnut liqueur and bitters. It might just feel like home.
Heat all the ingredients in a pan until hot but not boiling, stirring throughout. Let it sit for a few minutes, then strain into a glass mug.
Glögg, glühwein, vin chaud, vin brulé… everyone seems to have their own name for this Christmas classic, but the idea is the same - warm some red wine or cider and add some spices along with other liquors and fruit. In Poland they even mull their beer!
Bermondsey Street classic The Garrison makes a Hot Spiced Cider with French Breton cider and loads of winter spices. Drink one in their super cosy basement cinema room on a Sunday evening when they hold their free weekly film club. Odeon who?
If you happen to find yourself out in Chiswick in a snowstorm - or not - then duck into the new-look Devonshire Arms and get the seats by the fireplace. Order a Spiced Brandy Cider, and your Sunday session just got a little bit better.
In Chinatown? Sniff out the secretive Experimental Cocktail Club. They've got a delicious mulled cider winter warmer, and in their true sexy French style it’s called La Soupe du Clown - all Grand Marnier, Calvados, Benedictine, and spices. They also throw in a little butter for a creamy smoothness, ooh la la.
Add everything except the orange slices to a large saucepan and heat until steaming but not boiling - ya don't wanna cook off the alc, obvs! Once heated, add the orange slices to the pan, cover and leave to infuse for five minutes. Serve in heatproof mugs and warm your cockles.
Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping