Whitesburg KY

This hot cocktail is soothing and comforting on a cold winter day

This photo shows a hot cider cocktail. This drink is from a recipe by the CIA. (Phil Mansfield/The Culinary Institute of America via AP)

This photo shows a hot cider cocktail. This drink is from a recipe by the CIA. (Phil Mansfield/The Culinary Institute of America via AP)

After a snowy walk or long day on the slopes, there’s nothing like curling up under a warm blanket. Maybe you have a fire going and the dog asleep at your feet, with a good book just within reach.

But before you can relax, you need to warm up those cold hands and chilled bones. Before you settle in for your long winter’s nap, stir up this hot cider cocktail, featured at The Tavern at American Bounty at our campus in Hyde Park, New York.

Hot cocktails are inspired by the classic hot toddy, a curative mixture dating back centuries that includes whiskey, rum, or brandy with hot water, a sweetener, and sometimes some spicing.

However you like your hot toddy, it should be soothing and comforting on a cold day. In fact, hot toddies made with spirits, honey, and lemon juice are often used to ease the symptoms from our seasonal colds and coughs.

Our cider cocktail recipe begins with almond-flavored amaretto and hot apple cider. Bitters are added to help balance the sweetness from the cider (and the caramel sauce and whipped cream we’ll add later). Bitters are a blend of naturally sour or bitter botanical flavors — like orange peel or herbs. In cocktails, they add a concentrated dose of bitterness without diluting the primary flavors in the drink.

There are no rules when it comes to a hot cocktail, and this recipe can be reformulated to suit your mood or the contents of your liquor cabinet. In place of amaretto, you can use any of your favorite spirits, like whiskey or apple brandy. If you like infused spirits or syrups (a great make-at-home holiday gift), a hot cocktail is the perfect way to show them off. Cinnamon-infused bourbon or cardamom-infused simple syrup are great starts to making this recipe your own.

Hot cocktails are the perfect treat for a little bit of quiet time, but they are also an excellent make-ahead recipe when you are hosting winter parties. They can be mixed and kept warm in a crock pot or on the stovetop over a very low flame. Be sure to put some of the hot apple cider aside before adding the amaretto, for children and guests who choose not to partake. Garnish your party drinks with freshly made whipped cream, our caramel sauce, and a cinnamon stick for a particularly Instagramworthy presentation.

Hot Cider Cocktail
Start to finish: 20 minutes
Makes one drink
2 ounces amaretto
6 ounces warm apple
1 dash bitters
Whipped Cream, as
needed (recipe follows)
Caramel Sauce, as needed (recipe follows)
Combine amaretto,
warm cider, and bitters in
an Irish coffee mug or regular coffee mug. Top with
fresh whipped cream and
caramel sauce.
Caramel Sauce
Makes about 2 cups
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted
Prepare an ice bath.
Bring the cream to a boil
in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from
the heat.
Combine the sugar and
corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over low heat and stir
until the sugar dissolves.
Slowly cook to a golden
brown without stirring, 8 to
9 minutes. Remove from the
heat and put the saucepan
in the ice bath for 20 seconds to stop the cooking.
Remove from the ice bath
and stir in the butter.
Carefully stir in the hot
cream, mixing until fully
blended. To store the caramel sauce, transfer it to
a clean bowl or jar, cover
tightly, and refrigerate for
up to 2 weeks. Reheat the
sauce over low heat or in the
microwave before serving.

Whipped Cream
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup heavy cream,
1/4 cup confectioners’
1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Chill a stainless-steel
bowl and the beaters of a
handheld mixer, the whisk
attachment of a stand mixer,
or a balloon whisk.
Pour the cream into the
chilled bowl and whip on
medium speed until thickened, about 3 minutes. Increase the speed to high and
gradually add the confectioners’ sugar while whipping. Add the vanilla extract
and continue to whip until
the cream has the desired
peak according to its intended use. Soft peaks are good
for dolloping cream, while
firmer peaks are better if the
cream is to be piped, used
for topping, or folded into
another mixture.
Note: If your cream starts
to turn slightly yellow while
you are whipping, it is close
to being overwhipped and
turning into butter. Fold in a
small amount of unwhipped
cream, if you have it, to rescue the texture.

. This article was provided to The Associated Press by The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. This recipe also can be found in The Culinary Institute of America’s cookbook, “Baking at Home.”

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