Melbourne’s icy bite is sharp. With scarves wrapped snugly around our necks and layers staving off the bitter wind, nothing satisfies quite like a good warming cuppa (with booze!). Broadsheet presents some warming winter potions to set you right.

The first sip of a warming drink taken while defrosting slides down beautifully. Its quality surprises every nerve, with the alcohol’s glow spreading out through the chest while the rest slips down, rounding out the experience by creating a radiant ball in the stomach. One will have you happily feeling your toes again, and two will help you forget the weather altogether and set the tongue loose.

The Tequila Toddy
By Bartender Magazine's Bartender of the Year, Chris Hysted.
This poor maligned spirit is more diverse, complex and wonderful than most of us know. It is made with care and dedication, yet seems to get an undeservedly bad wrap. Bringing this beauty into a seamlessly relevant context is Chris Hysted’s mixture of reposado tequila (slightly aged), good quality Australian shiraz, apple juice, lemon, elderflower and agave nectar (that mystical and readily available sweetener championed by Gwyneth and the like). All you need to do is warm them all together on the steam wand of an espresso machine or in a pan – but for Pete’s sake, please stay away from the microwave.

  • 50mls of any decent reposado tequila (if it costs less than $40, don’t bother).
  • 30mls of apple juice (cloudy please)
  • 20mls of good fruit-driven shiraz
  • 15mls of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 10mls of agave nectar (available from health food stores)

Garnish with a cinnamon quill and a big slice of orange.

The Nog of Joy
Gather your friends on a cold and blustery night and fill them with well-cooked winter fare. After dinner take them through to the parlour (or lounge room if you will) and ladle them out a steaming mug of this wondrous concoction, with nutmeg grated freshly on top. To put together one of the tastiest things ever created simply take the freshest of organic eggs, a sweetener of your choosing (like honey, maple syrup, agave nectar or brown sugar), some light cream and a touch of vanilla extract. Whisk them together over a low heat until all begin thickening then add cognac and dark rum of choice quality. Warm again and pour into a terrine with some dainty cups on the side, a nutmeg and a tiny grater. Serve!

Please note that this recipe is totally open to interpretation and will benefit from the addition of fruit brandies, bitters, other spices like anise or cloves, whisky, chocolate, nut liqueurs or other.

  • Nog for 1. Multiply accordingly.
  • 1 medium egg
  • 20mls light cream
  • 15mls of chosen sweetener
  • 30mls of cognac
  • 20mls of dark rum
  • 4 drops of vanilla extract

Imbued Blazer
The ultimate hot drink. The blazer is a 19th century warming potion that involves fire. Lots of fire. Not one for the home, the blazer is the perfect drink to experience in the cocktail-bar world when out on the town this winter. The original blazer is a humble combo of scotch and water, which doesn’t set the imagination on fire so much. However, under the delicate guidance of thinly sliced ginger, sliced apple or pear, some cloves, a touch of sugar and a dash of bitters this steamy potion with fill every corner of your body with delicious, glowing warmth.

Sit back and watch your barkeep light the whisky (or spirit of your choice for that matter) in a handled brass-pitching jug, before pouring the stream of ignited liquid back and forth between the two until thoroughly blazed. The entire mix is then doused and poured into a pre-warmed glass laden with our expectantly waiting sliced fruit and additional ingredients. Sit back and enjoy one of bartending’s most visual spectacles.

No recipe is provided as this really is unsafe in the home, but get involved next time you’re out. I readily recommend The Galley Room, 1806, Seamstress or Black Pearl for some well-crafted blazer action. Have a toasty winter folks.