Something hot, something sweet
Enough with the hibernating, folks. Valentine’s Day is swiftly approaching and here are six very quaffable reasons to grab your special someone and venture out of the house. So, don your scarves, boots, and/or cross-country skis, and toast your love with these creative cocktails.
$12, Russell House Tavern
14 JFK St., Cambridge
In the mix: 1 1/2 ounces Appleton Reserve rum; 1 1/2 ounces Cruzan Blackstrap rum; 1 ounce burnt sugar simple syrup*; 2 dashes Angostura bitters; 1 dash Urban Moonshine maple bitters; 4 ounces Kenwood sparkling wine. Shake first five ingredients with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Top with sparkling wine. *Demerara sugar soaked in El Dorado 151 rum, burnt and caramelized.
Bar manager Aaron Butler’s girlfriend asked him to make a drink with burnt sugar and champagne. He added rum, his favorite spirit, and arrived at the Flickering Ember.
Bottom line: It’s a little too cold to eat Christina’s crave-worthy burnt sugar ice cream. We’ll stick to this heady sparkler until spring comes, thanks.
North Star Punch
$8/person for groups of four or more, Citizen Public House
1310 Boylston St., Boston
In the mix: Peel from one orange; 1/2 cup raw sugar; 2 teaspoons star anise; 2 teaspoons cloves; 8 ounces hot water; 2 ounces lemon juice; 3 ounces Carpano Antica Formula vermouth; 8 ounces Old Overholt rye whiskey. Muddle the orange peel with the sugar in the punch bowl to express the oils. Steep the star anise and cloves in the hot water and pour it over the sugar. Add the lemon juice, vermouth, and rye to the mix and serve with an ice block.
“Brown spirits are great in the winter, especially when mixed with raw sugar and warm spices,’’ says Joy Richard, bar and beverage manager of the Franklin Restaurant Group. Fun fact: Richard purchased most of the bar’s fabulous vintage punch bowls from antique shops in Amherst, N.H.
Bottom line: Slide into Citizen Public House’s cushy circular booth with your Valentine and some friends, split a punch, and forget that it’s winter.
118 Beacon St., Somerville
In the mix: 1 ounce Daron Calvados brandy; 1 ounce Bénédictine liqueur; 1 ounce Ras el Hanout-citrus syrup*; 4-5 ounces hot water. Build in cast-iron teapot. Serve warm. *A syrup made from boiling down Ras El Hanout spice blend, sugar, water, and lemon juice and peel.
“What’s better than an oversize brandy snifter with steam coming off it on a winter day?’’ says bar manager Paul Manzelli. Calvados and Bénédictine are two of the three liquors used in the classic cocktail the Widow’s Kiss, one of Manzelli’s favorite winter drinks.
Bottom line: There’s a lot going on in this aromatic libation — layers of complexity come from the Ras el Hanout spice blend of peppercorns, cinnamon, rose hips, cardamom, and more.
$10, The Abbey
1657 Beacon St., Brookline
In the mix: 1 1/2 ounces gin; 1 ounce Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur; 1 splash lime juice; ginger beer. Stir first three ingredients and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a strawberry.
“It’s refreshing, but it also has a warm wintry kick in the back of the throat,’’ bar manager Dean Taormina says. The name refers to the tall Collins glass it’s served in, not the calorie count. “It’s not a diet drink,’’ he adds.
Bottom line: The Domaine de Canton lends a gentle burn to this drink and the bright red strawberry is a welcome sight for winter-sore eyes.
$12, Back Bay Social Club
867 Boylston St., Boston
In the mix: 2 1/2 ounces rye whiskey; 1 ounce Sapling Vermont maple liqueur; 1/4 ounce absinthe; dash of simple syrup; 1/4 ounce lemon juice; 6 dashes Peychaud’s bitters. Wash glass with absinthe and lemon juice. Stir the other ingredients and strain into the glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
“Maple syrup and rye is a great combination — it’s nice and warming,’’ bar manager Tom Mastricola says, adding that the bar also uses the Sapling liqueur in a maple-bacon Bloody Mary.
Bottom line: The slight sweetness of maple plays nicely with the rye and hint of absinthe in this Sazerac variation. Makes us crave pancakes . . . wonder why?
48 Temple St., Boston
In the mix: 1 egg yolk; 1 1/2 ounces Appleton rum; 1/2 ounce orange Curaçao; 1/2 ounce simple syrup. Shake with ice, strain into a glass, and dust with peanut butter powder (made from organic peanut butter and tapioca maltodextrin).
“We love playing around with the peanut butter powder,’’ principal bartender and drink creator Eric Cross says. “We see what’s new and innovative in the kitchen and bring it back to the bar.’’ And, the drink is cleverly named after George Washington Carver.
Bottom line: Peanut butter? Good. Rum? Good. A frothy cocktail that combines the two? What’s not to like?