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Warm your spirits


Warm Espresso at Stella
Credit: Mark Hancock

Joshua Strother, bartender at Ludivine, 805 N. Hudson, mixes a few warm cocktails, including his Chartreuse and Grey. Made with Plymouth gin, crème de cacao, Green Chartreuse (flamed), lemon juice and Earl Grey tea, the concoction tastes like a hot cup of tea on a cold evening, only with a bit of a kick.

Strother creates some cocktails specifically as warm drinks, but also experiments.

“I’ve had a lot of success making the egg-based classics into coffee with a little cream,” he said. “The Sarah’s Flip on the menu is great as a coffee drink.”

Coffee drinks, incidentally, make excellent winter brunch choices.

Tarah Patton, bartender at Stella Modern Italian Cuisine, 1201 N. Walker, makes a delicious warm version of her Espresso Martini.

Made with a shot of espresso, vanilla vodka, Patrón XO, Kahlúa, dark crème de cacao and steamed milk, this cocktail easily could serve as a cool-weather drink at brunch. Coffee flavors are prominent, as is alcohol, so unless you plan on a post-brunch nap, sip carefully.

Patton also makes Keoki Coffee, another great brunch drink. This one is mostly coffee, making it a nice caffeine boost for a Friday or Saturday evening. She mixes Kahlúa, brandy, crème de cacao and coffee, and tops it with whipped cream.

Many bars still nod toward traditional offerings like the hot toddy.

Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse, 7 S. Mickey Mantle, doesn’t have it on the menu, but it’s always available for the asking. The toddy can be made with any whiskey, so pick your favorite; not even blended Scotch is off-limits. You can also substitute rum, brandy or gin, depending on your preference.

Toddies are traditionally made with honey and lemon, but nutmeg, cloves and other baking spices can add delicious twists.

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