Fabulicious Eats + Drinks: A Trio of Taste

Three glass mugs of hot mulled apple cider heated with cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves on a marble countertop. Apples are on a wooden cutting board ready to be sliced and a grater is on the side for the spices.

We’re in the throes of winter; the days are short, the nights are long and both are cold.

And while we have comforters and blankets to snuggle under and keep warm on the outside, it’s nice to have something to warm us on the inside too.

Comfort foods are great, but how about comfort booze?

Here are three hot drinks that fit the bill and will get you through the season all warm and fuzzy – from the inside out – from now through March.

1 ounce Godiva or other chocolate liqueur, or creme de cacao
1 ounce peppermint schnapps
8 ounces fresh brewed, dark roast coffee
Fresh whipped cream
Chocolate shavings

In a tall coffee mug, add chocolate liqueur, peppermint schnapps and coffee; stir and top with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of chocolate shavings.

As an alternative, substitute hot chocolate for the dark roast coffee and Kaluha or other coffee liqueur.

If you’d like my recipe for my Vanilla Bean-Bourbon Whipped Cream, email me: PatrickEvansHylton@gmail.com

Yields 1 serving

2 quarts apple cider
1-1/2 cups freshly-squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Juice of one lemon
8 ounces whiskey

In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, add apple cider, orange juice, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger and lemon juice and bring to a boil/

Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Serve hot in mugs, adding 1 ounce of whiskey to each serving and garnish with a cinnamon stick, orange peel and one whole star anise.

As an alternative, substitute a medium-bodied red wine for the apple cider

Yields 8 serving

1 tablespoon room-temperature butter
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 ounces rum
8 ounces hot water

Place the butter, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in the bottom of a tall coffee mug and muddle with an iced tea spoon. Add rum and hot water and stir; serve immediately.

I love Chick’s Beach Rum, made by Virginia Beach-based Chesapeake Bay Distillery. Sold in area ABC stores, you can also find it as the distillery, which is open for tours. For more information, visit www.ChesapeakeBayDistillery.com

Yields 1 serving

Patrick Evans-Hylton is a Johnson & Wales-trained chef and an award-winning food journalist, covering tasty trends since 1995 in print, broadcast and electronic media. Evans-Hylton is publisher of Virginia Eats + Drinks Magazine. Subscribe free at www.facebook.com/VirginiaEatsDrinksMag