Winter Warmers

Justin Taylor, of the Cascade Room, concocts a hot buttered rum. Dan Toulgoet photo.

Brrrr – it’s chilly out there. Must be toddy time. With the mercury plunging below zero these past few weeks, Vancouver’s bartenders have been brewing up pots and pots of toddies, mulled ciders and other steamy beverages. Open the door to just about any drinking establishment – from the pop-up Winter Terrace at Reflections (in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia) to Juniper Kitchen & Bar in Gastown – and you’ll be greeted by the seasonal aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. And this is especially true at the Cascade Room on Main Street.

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Cool Yule

Warm up with these festive cocktails

Lou Lou Childs photo

Whether it’s a glass of eggnog, a hot buttered rum, or a mug of spicy mulled wine, the winter season is loaded with tasty cocktails. What makes them ideal for the home bartender is their reliance on easily sourced pantry ingredients: spices (cinnamon, clove and nutmeg), fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme and sage), and fruits (mandarins, cranberries and pomegranates). Here are my family recipes for iconic winter cocktails—and a twist or two designed to take your holiday gathering to the next level.

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Mulled Wine

Justin Taylor’s Mulled Wine. Lou Lou Childs photo

Turn the heat on under this cocktail an hour before your guests arrive and your home will be filled with wonderful holiday aromas.

INGREDIENTS:
750ml bottle red wine
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice, pulp removed
0.5 cup granulated sugar
0.5 cup brandy or Cognac
2 tsp whole cloves
3 unpeeled mandarins, washed and cut into quarters
2 apples cored and quartered
1 cup frozen cranberries
4 cinnamon sticks
3 sprigs of rosemary

METHOD:
Add wine, orange juice and sugar into a large pot over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Stud mandarins with cloves and add, along with remaining ingredients, to pot. Cook gently for two hours (take care not to boil off the alcohol). Remove from heat and allow to cool, then strain through a sieve, pressing down to extract the juices from the cranberries and mandarins. Store up to one week in fridge. To serve, heat in a crockpot on low, or in a pan over low heat. Do not boil. Garnish with mandarin segments, apple slices, cinnamon sticks and cranberries. Makes 12, five oz. servings.

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