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Cocktails are all about playing around—especially at your house! This time of year, we want something to warm our bones. We love hot toddies (brown liquor, hot water or tea and lemon) for their simplicity, but we LOVE hot buttered rum (rum, hot water, buttery spice mix) for its creamy mouthfeel. Below, we’ve shared our take—with our very own versions of butter mix and cocoa nib liquor.
It’s easy to make in large batches, too. Just keep the hot liquid in a thermal carafe and the spicy butter in a bowl with a teaspoon. You can easily whip one up as guests arrive or write a little recipe instruction card for your guests to DIY.
The brandy also makes a wonderful stand-alone gift when strained into a decorative stoppered bottle, found at most craft or houseware stores.
Theo Hot Buttered Toddy
1 ½ oz. Cocoa nib brandy (below)
5 oz. hot English Breakfast or other black tea
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. Hot buttered mix (below)
In a mug, add the hot tea over the butter and let melt. Then pour in brandy and stir. Garnish with a slice of orange.
Have fun with this recipe by recreating your favorite chocolate combinations. For example, if you like orange in chocolate—substitute the English Breakfast for Earl Grey.
Cocoa Nib Brandy
Makes 3 cups
1 bottle good quality brandy (can substitute rum or whiskey)
¼ cup roasted cocoa nibs, roughly ground*
¼ cup simple syrup, to taste
Lightly grind the cocoa nibs in a mortar and pestle. This revs up the resulting flavor of the infusion, as opposed to just adding them to the brandy. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can double bag and use a rolling pin.
Combine the nibs and brandy in a jar or bottle. Let infusion sit for 7 days in a cool, dark place. Shake the mixture once or twice a day.
Strain the mixture and add the simple syrup to taste. You may find you like the pure aroma and flavor of the brandy without adding any sweetness. This will give you a more versatile infusion to use in other cocktails. Like a Manhattan!
Hmmm, with cocoa nib brandy? You could call it a Black Forest Manhattan.
Spiced Butter Toddy Mix
½ cup butter = 24 teaspoons
Makes approx. 16-20 toddies
1 stick unsalted butter
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. ground clove or allspice (optional)
optional: ¼ teaspoon citrus oil or vanilla extract
Let butter come to room temperature. Thoroughly mix in all spices. Store in refrigerator. To serve, let mixture come to room temperature.