Instead of giving in to inertia as the weather gets colder, why not look for ways to enjoy the change of season? With winter comes warm hearths, hearty meals and rich whiskies.
“Whisky really lends itself to the colder months,” says Sean Baxter, Johnnie Walker ambassador and ex-MasterChef contestant. “Especially those richer whiskies with lots of smoke and peat and other delicious elements.”
There are also many classic whisky-based cocktails associated with winter, such as the Hot Toddy, which is a simple drink made using a light whisky, such as Johnnie Walker Red Label Scotch whisky, hot water and a sweetener such as honey. Baxter adds lemon thyme to his, and sometimes replaces the hot water with Earl Grey tea.
Then there are twists on the classics, such as Mulled Cider or hot chocolate. “Mulled Cider is effectively spices and brown sugar added to warm cider, but it becomes something special when it’s fortified with a fruity whisky such as the Singleton Spey Cascade Scotch whisky,” says Baxter, “and paired with a crumbly cheddar and fig paste.
“A really rich, creamy hot chocolate with a small measure of whisky added to it is another beautiful winter warmer,” he adds. “It doubles up as a bit of a dessert as well.”
Plenty of bars around the country offer warm fireplaces and hot drinks. On the menu at 1806 in Melbourne is the Blue Blazer, made with Johnnie Walker Double Black Scotch whisky and Talisker Single malt whiskies. Ugly Duckling offers fortified Mulled Cider. Boilermaker House has a Blazer and a hot Old Fashioned on its cocktail menu.
In Sydney, This Must Be The Place serves the Quick Draw – a hot cocktail made with Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch whisky; Amaro Ramazzotti; macadamia and wattleseed orgeat syrup; and hot cold-drip coffee. Whisky bars such as the Wild Rover, Shady Pines Saloon and The Baxter Inn are also great options for cold nights.
If you’d prefer to stay in, Baxter has shared the recipe for his Hot Buttered Double Black cocktail, so you can make it at home. He suggests pairing it with rare roast beef; smoked fish pie; or hearty Irish stews – “with a nice glug of whisky thrown in for good measure”.
Sean Baxter’s Hot Buttered Double Black
Makes one. Approximately 1.5 standard drinks.
45ml Johnnie Walker Double Black Scotch whisky
1 tbsp butter batter
120ml boiling water
Dash of Boker’s Bitters (or Angostura Bitters)
Ground cinnamon, to garnish
Combine the whisky, butter batter, hot water and bitters in a mug and stir to combine. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
To make the butter batter
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup dark agave
½ tsp of ground cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp of ground clove
large pinch of salt
Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blitz to combine. Store in the fridge until required.
This article is presented in partnership with World Class.