Lately we've been waxing poetic about hot toddies, camping cocktails and slow cooking batches of comfort food. It's not typical that I would break out the slow cooker for happy hour, but cocktails can also be a go-to for comfort — especially when you make a big batch, heat it up and invite some pals over to drink with you.
There're a few secrets for success when serving up hot cocktails to a crowd. First off, we're talking hot cocktails, not boiling and not room temp. Steamy is the sweet spot.
Putting up a big batch on the stove with a ladle works, but we all know the kitchen can get a little crowded. Instead, set up a slow cooker in another room to create a new gathering and conversation spot. Slow cookers are also less likely to overheat your drinks and can prevent burns that may occur if you're keeping your drinks warm over a hot burner.
Big batches are simple and with Halloween upon us, it's the ideal offering for the adults accompanying all those wee trick-or-treaters. Double or triple your recipe as needed for the amount of guests you'll be hosting. Then it's simple to spike most hot drinks:
- Hot Cocoa and Kilbeggan: Nothing like chocolate and whiskey!
- Rye and Ginger Hot Toddy: Or serve a cocktail with the whiskey already mixed in.
- Spiced Apple Cider: This one's spiked with rum.
- Coconut S'mores Hot Chocolate: Add a splash of vanilla vodka for an indulgent cocktail!
- Mulled Wine: The classic!
With this week's 10-Minute Happy Hour, I'm as surprised as you are that I'm firing up the slow cooker for cocktail time. I'm going for it and making a big batch of easy mulled wine.
I used to find myself slightly gagging at the mere idea of drinking hot wine. Just saying "mulled wine" is less than appealing to me. Yet, last year my mind was changed after being ladled a steaming mug of spiced wine perfect for warming me up to a party of strangers. Was it the party? the recipe? the chill in the air? Or can hot wine be divine?
What's your favorite warming cocktail?
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)