Food & Drink, Libations

What to drink if you don’t have a fireplace

Warm you up from the inside out.

I love a good, hot drink. Coffee in the morning. Tea later on in the day. And when it’s really cold, there’s nothing like warm alcohol by the fire to take the chill out of the air and out of the body. At least that’s how a hot-buttered rum or two will make you feel. Trust me. You won’t be sorry.

But then, not everyone loves warm alcohol as much as I do. Or if you’re entertaining a small crowd and want something a little less spiked (and by spiked I mean alcoholic), you will need other options. There is nothing that compares to a warm, slowly simmered apple cider. Plus, it makes the house smell amazing. Like you’ve been working really hard. But you haven’t.

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I’ve made this apple cider with homemade apple juice, Sun-Rype apple juice from a carton and President’s Choice fresh-pressed apple juice. I much prefer the homemade apple juice because you can control the sweetness of the finished product. But of course, apple juice you’ve made yourself isn’t always readily available (well maybe at your house, but definitely not at mine). I like something that has a bit of apple pulp still in it because it feels closer to the homemade stuff.


Hot Apple Cider

2 L apple juice
2 cinnamon sticks
1 whole star anise
1 tsp whole cloves
2 cardomom pods

Additional (optional but delicious) ingredients:

Apple slices
Orange slices
Lemon slices
500mL cranberry juice
Whole cranberries

Pour juice into large saucepan. Add spices and any additional ingredients. Heat over low heat until simmering. Don’t boil if you can help it. Ladle or pour into mugs. Garnish with a cinnamon stick if you want to make it fancy.

Alternatively, you can mix all the ingredients together in a crock pot. Turn the crock pot on high if you want to heat up your cider quickly or low if you’ve got time to let the flavours mingle a bit. The cider won’t boil in the crock pot and you’ll save stove space which is supremely beneficial of you’re hosting a party.

Hot buttered rum is a real crowd pleaser. Initially, people are a little weirded out by the addition of butter to alcohol and boiling water. Again, I just want you to trust me here. Because the creaminess and the saltiness from the butter combined with the slight spice of the rum and the sweetness of the honey, creates a smooth (and slightly dangerous – but who doesn’t love a little danger?) combination that is greater than the sum of its parts. Sip it slowly – as we all know, hot alcohol works a little faster than the cold stuff.


Hot Buttered Rum

For each mug:
1 cup of boiling water
1 oz or 1 ½ oz spiced rum (Kracken is my personal favourite)
1 scant tbsp. salted butter
Honey, sugar or maple syrup to taste (I usually start with about 1 tsp and add more if necessary)

Add butter, sweetener and rum to mug. Pour boiling water to top. Stir mug contents until butter and sweetener are dissolved. Garnish with cinnamon stick and serve.

This recipe can easily be made in larger quantities. I recently made a large batch in my insulated coffee thermos to bring outside for my guests sitting around the fire.


Jamie Dyck is a gardener, preserver, and lover of food and cocktails. 

Follow her on Twitter: @jndyck