We've asked a few of London's hottest bartenders to come up with some winning warming winter warmers - that's warm, never boiling (you want the alcohol right?)…
Any bartender worth his weight in arm-garters knows how to make a Blue Blazer. Created by hero and bartending legend Jerry Thomas, it is dangerous and probably best not tried at home. 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 at his new bar L.T.D at the Social, using Courvoisier, one sugar cube and Angostura bitters, served warm in a brandy balloon with zesty orange peel.
The boys 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 crystallized sugar stick. Show offs. Eccentric gastro pub Paradise by Way of Kensal Green calls their Blazer 'Heavenly', and adds Chambord and fresh berries to make it that way. Sip on one in their angelic courtyard garden. HOT
TODDYS, BUTTERED RUMS AND PUNCHES
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 have perfected the recipe with their 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.
For something deliriously different head underground and pull up a stool at Bedford & Strand. The King's Tea down here, is hot and made with King's Ginger Liqueur and Merlet's Creme De Mure which is a French liqueur flavoured with wild blackberries, it rocks, and you'll be staying for more than one, fact.
In Mayfair? Feeling the cold? Forgot your cashmere? Make your way to the Maddox Club, who, having recently opened their doors to non-members, will greet you with open arms. Order the Never Summer - Hennessy VS Cognac, Mexican vanilla liqueur, French chestnut liqueur and bitters, it might just feel like home.
SPICY MULLED STYLE HOT DRINKS
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, add some spices along with other liquors and fruit. In Poland they even mull their beer! Bermondsey St classic, The Garrison makes a Hot Spiced Cider with French Breton Cider and all those 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, grab a hot date / paper, and get the seats by the fireplace, with their Spiced Brandy Cider, your Sunday session just got a little bit better.
Bar Manager Brian from Bonds bar in the City loads a ladle of his Grand Punch into mugs straight out of his steamy cauldron. It’s a mix of Grand Marnier, Cognac and Strawberry infused red wine, with vanilla pods and cinnamon sticks for a rich, spicy mulled wine twist.
In Chinatown and not feeling all that Sake, then sniff out the secretive Experimental Cocktail Club. They've got a delicious mulled cider style 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.
A winner at BarChick HQ on a cold but busy day is a Ponche to go, made at Soho's killer Burrito shop, Poncho No 8. The Ponche is a Mexican punch with tequila, pears and spice - heaven when drunk at your desk! Too cold / tipsy to leave the house? Throwing a house party? Whatever the occasion our friend Alex Kammerling has the answer. His new Ginseng based spirit Kammerling's is a BarChick favourite, so we got him to make a couple of hot drinks for us…
'Cockles and Bones'
Warm 25ml of Kammerling's in a pan with 25ml of Elements 8 spiced rum, add 25ml Punt E Mes Italian Vermouth and one teaspoon of marmalade. Serve in a tea cup. 'Hot Roots' Crush 1 slice of ginger in a pan, add 50mls of Kammerling's, 150ml Cloudy Apple juice, 2 bar spoons orgeat syrup and one cinnamon stick. Warm and strain into a heatproof glass.