I was a bit confounded by this one, to be honest - hot cocktails are a bit outside of my comfort zone. The Ace has tried a number of hot cocktails at various wintertime parties the past several years, but none were big hits with partygoers. I personally love a good mulled wine, but generally I am left with a bowl three-quarters full of tepid booze at the end of my holiday gala. Sure, there's the possibility that I just plain suck at making cocktails - but people seemed to enjoy all of the chilled drinks on the menu just fine. So what the hell - I figured I'd just go for it and have some fun with this while I am at it.
In reading some of David Wondrich's writing about late 19th- and early 20th-Century cocktails in his excellent book Imbibe!, many of America's hot cocktail recipes come from way back in it's mixology history. Unfortunately, many of these drinks don't translate all that well today. The Hot Toddy, for example, is a drink of spirit (pick one, but Islay malt scotch was a favorite in Jerry Thomas' day) plus citrus peel plus water plus hot iron out of the fire. Oh - and if you're not man enough you might add some sugar. I whipped up a Hot Toddy with Scotch the other day - just as research - and all that I can say is that this flavor profile has officially exited the American palate. Something along the lines of drinking hot bong water...
So where to go from here? I thought about the hot drinks that I have liked in the past. Most of them were comprised of rum, a sweetener and hot milk or butter. Something about the dairy seems to calm down the acidic burn that spirits tend to develop when served hot. It needed to be a sweeter rum - perhaps a demarara rum. And not many things go with demarara rum better than falernum and allspice dram. Then it dawned on me... Hot Tiki. Huzzah!!!
I dug into the Tiki archives and found a source of inspiration in Donn Beach's classic Hot Tiger's Milk recipe. The Tiger's Milk batter is pure genius - who doesn't love butter, honey and coconut? Just add some falernum for its herbal sweetness and allspice dram for its warmth and voila - you've got a drink!
So for The Ace Saloon's maiden MxMo voyage, let's do a hot Tiki-inspired drink designed to leave your punch bowl empty at the end of the evening. Okay okay - so KISS released Heaven's on Fire well after they lost their makeup (why, oh why?) and after Ace's departure. But the name still works for this hot little number.
1 1/2 oz. El Dorado 5-year demarara rum
1/2 oz velvet falernum
1/4 oz. allspice dram
3 tsp. Donn's Tiger's Milk batter (see below)
5-6 oz. milk, brought to just below boil
Place the milk in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until just below boiling (be careful not to overcook the milk and get those nasty milk curds on top of the drink). While the milk is heating, combine the rum, falernum and allspice dram and Tiger's Milk batter in a coffee mug. Pour the hot milk into the cup over the mixture, stir the drink to combine the ingredients and serve.
Donn's Tiger's Milk Batter
Also from Don the Beachcomber circa 1937 (thanks again Bum)
1/4 oz. (say 1/2 tbsp or a 1/4" slice from a stick) soft butter
1/4 oz. honey
1 oz. Coco Lopez
Combine ingredients in a small bowl or ramekin. Measure out for drinks. Makes about 3 drinks.
So there you have it - February 2011's Mixology Monday theme Some LIke it Hot. Special thanks to The Backyard Bartender for hosting this month. Be sure to check out her wrapup post to see what all the real mixologists come up with. Enjoy and stay hot!