Cocktails: Toddy Bear
From the event “Winter Wonderland”
Cold winter months almost always generate a yearning for a warming drink. As a child, it was hot water, with lemon and honey (and, according to grandmother, a whisper of whiskey if the throat was sore). Mulled cider with spiced rum never failed to bring on a warm, fuzzy feeling as an adult. Bartenders skilled in showmanship occasionally set various drinks aflame. Ultimately, Heat and Fire were the main inspirations for this cocktail. Combining the whiskey, lemon, and honey elements of a hot toddy, with warm mulled cider and a bit of pyrotechnics yields a toasty warm potation that is sure to keep the cold at bay.
For the Mulled Cider:
32 oz Apple Cider
1 t. whole clove
1 t. whole allspice
1 piece whole star anise
2 sticks cinnamon
Opt. orange peels
Gently warm apple cider with spices in a medium saucepot over medium-low heat for at least an hour. Strain out spices. Keep warm over low heat, or refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Honey Syrup:
½ cup raw honey
½ cup water
In a small saucepan, dissolve raw honey in boiling water. Can use immediately in the cocktail, or let cool completely and refrigerate for future use.
For Each Cocktail:
4 oz warm mulled cider
.75 oz honey syrup
.25 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
.5 oz dry Sherry
1 oz Wild Turkey or other high-proof liquor
Using a vegetable peeler, shave 8 large skin peels from 2 lemons. Place between wet paper towels to keep fresh. Juice the two peeled lemons, two additional lemons, and strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove any pulp and seeds. Set aside.
After cider is warmed and spices removed, ladle 4 oz cider into a mixing vessel. Add honey syrup, lemon juice and sherry. Stir. Pour mixture into a ceramic mug, or other glass able to bear heat.
Slowly pour Wild Turkey over the back of a spoon to float the liquor on top of the cider mixture. Exercising all necessary precautions, light the Wild Turkey on fire with a long match or lighter. Take one lemon peel, and twist the ends in opposite directions to release the oils over top of the flaming liquor. If done correctly, the oil should create some brief sparks. Drop lemon peel into the cocktail. Then, using a microplane or other fine grater, grate fresh cinnamon bark over the top of the drink. This should yield more theatrical sparks. Gently wave out the flame and enjoy!