Zhuzh It Up

Bring your hot toddy A-game

Winter now has us in its icy grip, and there’s only one thing to do: Seek refuge in a warm mug of liquid refreshment. But what should that beverage be? Coffee or tea? Monotonous. Hot buttered rum? Predictable. Familiar libations with a little flair? Now, you’re talking! As Queer Eyes’ fashion ace Carson Kressley (along with those in the current reboot) have famously said: “Sometimes, you need to zhuzh it up a little.”

Follow these recipes, and you’ll be the star of the next sledding party or gathering of friends around the fire pit to watch the stars shimmer in the frigid night sky.

Peppermint Irish cream mocha
Rejuvenate your Joe! The silky, smooth mocha here is balanced with a rich velvety homemade creamer that offers a little Irish “sparkle.” The divine bitterness of roasted coffee is enhanced by a tingly accent of peppermint. Makes 4 servings.

32 ounces (4 cups) brewed coffee
4 teaspoons light brown sugar
6 ounces peppermint schnapps
5 ounces Irish whiskey
4 ounces sweetened condensed milk
2 ounces heavy cream
1 tablespoon chocolate chips, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
Whipped cream (optional)
Cocoa powder (optional)

The Process
Melt light brown sugar into hot brewed coffee.
To make the Irish Cream Whiskey: In a blender, combine Irish whiskey, heavy cream, condensed milk, melted chocolate, vanilla extract and almond extract until frothy, approximately 20 seconds. Easy alternative: skip this step and use premade Irish Cream Whiskey, approximately 12 ounces Stir Irish Cream Whiskey and peppermint schnapps into coffee. Dress with whipped cream and a sprinkling of cocoa powder. Relax.

Tea for two

Sparkling pomegranate: Earl Grey tea cocktail
Say goodbye to the humdrum cranberry vodka of yesteryear. Here comes this seductive, ambrosial cocktail. A pucker of pomegranate and cherry juices are ideal substitutes for cranberry. The spruce of this fruity, fizzy elixir is Lady Earl Grey tea, a tea typically served piping hot, now chilled and shaken, leaving lingering floral notes and a bergamot citrus finish. Recipe courtesy of Honey Teahive Co. Makes 4 servings.

8 ounces vodka
8 ounces pomegranate juice, unsweetened
8 ounces cherry juice, unsweetened
¼ cup water
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tea bag Lady Grey (or Earl Grey) tea
Chilled Prosecco
1 wedge lemon for rim (optional)
Brown sugar for rim (optional)

Bring water and sugar to a boil, remove from heat. Steep Lady Grey tea bag for 4 minutes; remove tea bag and let syrup cool.

Prepare cocktail glasses by swiping rim of each glass with lemon and pressing into brown sugar.

In a shaker full of ice, combine vodka, pomegranate juice, cherry juice and Lady Grey tea syrup. Shake well and strain into cup until ⅔ full. Top with chilled Prosecco and enjoy!

Spice is nice

Hot Spiced Wine
The sangria of wintertime is here! In this recipe, we’ve upgraded mulled wine to first class. A twist from traditional, these robust flavors keep the senses guessing. Exotic spices harmoniously blend, with no single flavor overpowering the other. The takeaway is a spicy, peppery sensation. Shiraz is the perfect base-wine, warming the palate with ripe fruits, smoky notes, berries and full-bodied tannins. Makes 4 servings.

1 bottle Shiraz
16 ounces (2 cups) apple cider
4 ounces (½ cup) brandy
2 tablespoon honey
6 whole cloves
6 black peppercorns
3 cardamom pods
3 slices of ginger, size of a quarter
2 cinnamon sticks and 2 orange slices for garnish

Combine wine, cider, brandy, honey and orange slices in a pot. In a cheesecloth, tie cinnamon sticks, cloves, peppercorns, cardamom and ginger with cooking twine into a sachet. Alternative option: remove spices with a slotted spoon after simmering. Simmer for 8 minutes, covered, on medium-low heat until warm (but do not boil). Remove spices and ladle wine into glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and an orange slice. Cheers!

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