Six More Weeks of Winter Drinks

Harvey’s Buttered Rum, from Bremerton, turns boiling water and rum into the region’s official winter warmer.

I've felt the cold-weather cravings for piping-hot soup and stew, but outside of my daily coffee and tea, I don't drink enough hot drinks this time of year. With at least six more weeks of winter in front of us, however, I've been trying to change that. More than just a nightcap or occasional comfort for a sore throat, a hot drink makes you stop and smell the bourbon; it's the perfect melding of teatime and happy hour.Unfortunately, the only hot adult beverages that usually make it on to a bar's drink menu involve coffee and liqueur. These after-dinner drinks often taste more like a dessert. Bailey's and coffee is one of my all-time favorite smells, but it's not something I order at 6:00 when I'm meeting a friend after work. A hot toddy, however, fits the bill.Toddys are often easier to make as a nightcap at home than to order out. Ask for a toddy in the majority of bars, and you'll likely get some anemic, half-assed whiskey-water blend with a lemon. I consider a hot toddy to be any spirit paired with a hot beverage—in any combination that doesn't already have its own name. Add a sweetener or a citrus garnish if you so choose. Think hot apple cider and whiskey; hot cocoa and Jägermeister; herbal tea and bourbon.My favorite toddy, a Blueberry Tea, has an aroma so heady the payoff is worth the silly name. Ask your bartender for a pot of Earl Grey tea and a mug containing a shot that's half each brandy and amaretto. Add to the shot at least twice that much tea, and take a big whiff—oddly, it smells like blueberry pie hot out of the oven. Any highly aromatic tea will do the trick, even some herbal-tea variety like ginger-lemon. After shopping for supplies in the Pike Place Market the other day, I snuck down the hallway between Don & Joe's and Pike Place Fish to Place Pigalle, the city's best place for hot toddies. There I spent the afternoon gazing at the tumultuous bay, sipping on armagnac with black tea.One of the all-time most delicious, and most often butchered, hot drinks is hot buttered rum. Mix hot water with a healthy shot of dark rum and a pat of butter loaded with spices and a little sugar. The butter adds an amazing mouthfeel and flavor—as long as you drink the buttered rum before it cools off.Stay away from mass-produced buttered rum batters; they taste like chemicals and leave a nasty film in your mouth, like fake whipped topping. Around these parts, if you look in the dairy section, you may find bright yellow tubs of Harvey's Buttered Rum Batter kicking it next to the eggnog. The batter is still made in Bremerton according to a recipe Harvey Hudson developed more than 50 years ago. Harvey's mix turns boiling water and rum into Seattle's official winter warmer. Hudson's spiced butter is pleasantly nutmeg-centric, making it perfect for hot buttered brown anything, be it rum, bourbon, or brandy.mdutton@seattleweekly.com

 
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