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Try hot cocktails to stay warm this season

Date published: 12/2/2012

BY Eric Christensen


Throwing a holiday party?

Liven it up with the perfect drink.

Traditional holiday drinks focus on flavors such as chocolate, apple cider and spices.

During the holiday season, Chef David Guas, owner of Bayou Bakery, serves his customers a rich hot chocolate, composed of 64 percent Valrhona Manjari chocolate, heavy cream, whole milk, vanilla bean, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.

And Guas' head barista, Kyle Pool, created a "cinnamon bun latte," which mixes espresso with a Canela cinnamon stick and simple syrup, as well as a "Red Hots latte," which uses a cinnamon and cayenne syrup to match the candy's taste.

Or, if you prefer, you can incorporate alcohol into each of these traditional holiday drinks.

For example, Guas serves a "Cajun latte," which has bourbon in it and a "captain chai," which adds spiced rum to Marsala chai.

Guas is also fond of adding Calvados, a French apple brandy, to cider.

Todd Thrasher, an award-winning cocktail mastermind for more than a half-dozen restaurants and bars, prefers a classic Irish coffee, mixing black coffee, brown sugar, Irish whiskey and heavy cream.

Another party option is hot punch. Thrasher suggests making glogg, a Swedish spiced punch served warm.

Mix red wine, brandy, sugar cubes, orange zest, cardamom, cloves, almonds and raisins; and let it simmer on low all evening.

"Guests will come to your house, and it will smell like winter goodness," Thrasher says. Thrasher also plans to offer hot royal oil, a mix of Maker's Mark bourbon, Cruzan Black Strap rum, blackberry bitters and diluted maple syrup (four parts water to one part maple syrup), served hot with a squeeze of lemon. To achieve a desired flavor, Thrasher and Guas suggest playing around with winter spices, such as star anise, toasted coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves or "whatever has a little heat to it."

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