By RACHAEL FREY
When the chill winds start to blow and you’re looking for a way to warm up, start from the inside out with these unique winter cocktails inspired by the season.
Industry Nog at Proof
What’s Christmas without a splash of eggnog? This adaptation adds an extra zip to the classic recipe by substituting Old Overholt American rye for the usual rum to give the drink hints of baking spice. It also serves as a wink and nudge to fellow industry professionals with the addition of Fernet Branca, “which is known to us cocktail bartenders as ‘the bartender’s handshake,’” says Proof’s bar manager Makina Labrecque. Olorosso sherry, BG Reynolds Falernum syrup, milk, whole egg, and Angostura bitters round out this holiday must-have.
Falcon Tears at Murrieta’s Bar & Grill
After six years of tinkering with the recipe, Murrieta’s beverage manager Mitch Vernaroli has settled on this “rusty nail treated with penicillin,” a fusion of two classic drinks: a rusty nail and a penicillin cocktail. Falcon Tears is made with Nirasaki whisky, Drambuie, Giffard Ginger of the Indies liqueur, honey Calvados syrup, housemade fresh lemon juice, and a Bowmore 12 whisky float.
Mauna Kea at Ricardo’s Hideaway
Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say when you take a sip of this cocktail and are instantly reminded of the land where palm trees sway. Mauna Kea is the highest point in the Hawaiian archipelago and often boasts a snowy cap — much like this namesake cocktail made with Brugal white rum, Amaro Averna, coconut milk, mango juice, orgeat (an almond-based syrup), citric acid and lavender bitters.
Marmalade Rusty Nail at Cilantro
If anyone knows how to keep the party going through a long, cold winter just as well as Canadians, it’s the Scots. “Marmalade on toast is a staple in Scotland, so much so Scotch producers often sell marmalade mixed with a dash of their spirit,” notes Mike Squire, bar manager at Cilantro. To compensate for the sweetness of the marmalade, Squire went easy on the Drambuie and added a dash of smoky Laphroaig Quarter Cask Scotch along with Famous Grouse Blended Scotch.
The Spray Tan at The Tea House
When getting on a plane and escaping to the tropics isn’t an option, The Tea House at Two Penny Chinese has a little something that’ll transport you to warmer climes, if only in your dreams. Enhance your staycation with this combination of Plantation pineapple rum, Flor de Caña four-year-old rum, Angostura bitters, orange zest and a pinch of five spice for a holiday flavour.
The No. 9 at Cannibale
Need a pick-me-up with your warm-me-up? The coffee in this wintery concoction will give you a little kick-start, while the Great King Street Scotch and Dos Maderas Rum take care of the rest. Named for the street car that connected Cannibale’s home of Bridgeland to the rest of the city, the flavours of this cocktail — including Cynar, Lucano Amaro, and fig — reflect Bridgeland’s ethnic diversity.
Sundance at One18 Empire
Decked out with the flavours of honey sage and chai, along with Suntory Whisky Toki, Amaro Montenegro and lemon, this cocktail is a homage to the Sundance Kid, who helped open a hotel in Calgary in One18 Empire’s location before heading south to meet with Butch Cassidy.
Grannie’s Cookies at Raw Bar
Anyone lucky enough to have a baker in their family knows the joy of that one special treat that only gets made at holiday time. Tyler-James Cleveland, a bartender at Raw Bar, was inspired by his great grandmother’s gingersnap cookies when he created this hot drink made with Jameson Black Barrel whiskey, Bolivar bitters, a teaspoon of gingersnap butter and a lemon twist. Stir in the gingersnap butter for a sip of rich, sweet nostalgia.