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We'll Drink to That / Cocktails to warm the soul


These recipes, originally published in March 2011, will help combat the oncoming chill.


With the possible exception of rock salt, nothing says Buffalo winter like alcohol. After hours of shoveling snow, a stressful commute through a blizzard, or just braving the freezing and icy walk from car to home or bar, a well-made winter drink hits the spot and warms the soul.


Just about the only thing that can improve on the classic recipe for hot chocolate is a full-bodied dark liquor to add a kick. I’ve tried everything from peppermint schnapps to Irish whiskey in my cocoa, but the caramel-toffee flavor of a good añejo tequila can’t be beat. This recipe came from tequila goddess Tania Oseguera.


Añejo Tequila Hot Chocolate

15 oz. milk
2 discs Mexican chocolate (extra-dark chocolate with chili pepper may be substituted—if you must)
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp. orange zest
4 oz. heavy cream
Cazadores Añejo or other añejo tequila
Kahlua or other coffee liqueur


Place the first five ingredients in a saucepan on low heat until chocolate is completely melted. Stir. In a brandy snifter, combine ¾ oz. tequila, ½ oz. coffee liqueur, and 2 oz. of the cocoa mixture. Top with whipped cream or marshmallows and a dash of fresh nutmeg. Serves 8–10.


The Charlie-in-a-Box

This recipe came from bartender Dan. Over the holidays Dan was kind enough to throw together this creation and suggested we name it something cartoonish following my consumption of a seasonal Tom & Jerry. In tribute to Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys, my drinking buddy made the pop-culture reference of the night: “No child wants a Charlie-in-a-box!” Thus was born this scrumptious tipple.

1 ½ oz. Myers dark rum or other dark rum
3/4 oz. Maker’s Mark or other bourbon
1 bag orange pekoe tea
Hot water
1 cinnamon stick
Splash of Tom and Jerry mix (in a pinch, whipped cream will do)

Combine rum and bourbon in a glass mug; add hot water to fill glass and throw in the tea bag. Garnish with cinnamon and top with a splash of the egg batter mix or handmade whipped cream.


The Sazerac

Rye whiskey is the new bourbon and I couldn’t be happier; good rye is fantastic on its own or in a variety of classic and creative cocktails. None is more delicious or perfect for cold weather than the Sazerac, a drink both contemplative and classy. It’s the official cocktail of the city of New Orleans, so be sure to use Peychaud’s bitters—invented in New Orleans—for historical accuracy.

½ tsp. absinthe
1 tsp. sugar or simple syrup
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters (optional)
2 oz. Sazerac Rye or other rye whiskey
lemon twist

Coat a rocks glass with the absinthe. Combine the sugar, whiskey and bitters in a shaker, add ice, and stir gently until cold. Strain into glass and add lemon.


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