Side Dish: Cocktail book offers inventive recipes

“Winter Cocktails: Mulled Ciders, Hot Toddies, Punches, Pitchers, and Cocktail Party Snacks”

by María del Mar Sacasa.

Quirk Books, $22.95.

160-page hardcover.

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Furry weather forecaster Groundhog Phil saw his shadow Feb. 2 in Punxsutawney, Pa., a sign, folklore says, that we’ll have six more weeks of winter. It’s also a perfect excuse, then, to try a few recipes from the cookbook “Winter Cocktails: Mulled Ciders, Hot Toddies, Punches, Pitchers, and Cocktail Party Snacks” by food stylist María del Mar Sacasa.

The book, nicely illustrated with full-color photos by Tara Striano, offers 100 creative ideas for seasonal cocktails sure to warm you whether you’re curled up on a cushy chair on a brisk day or hosting a get-together with friends on a chilly evening. The attractive book even includes a ribbon to mark the reader’s spot.

It opens with plenty of useful information on what staples to have on hand for making cocktails; ideas for the well-stocked bar; a guide to tools for serving cocktails; and glassware. There are also step-by-step illustrated instructions on how to make ice molds, caramel, citrus garnishes and granita, and how to muddle and flavor rims.

2The inventive, flavorful recipes — from hot toddies and mulled drinks to chilled winter cocktails — are, of course, the heart of the book. 2

Not all the well-written recipes are for drinks. There also are recipes for small bites to feed your guests. Among them are homemade marshmallows, candied bacon and cheese-crusted olives. And, another chapter provides recipes for infused liquors, simple syrups and homemade sour mix.

“Winter Cocktails” is a good choice for the person who’s looking for recipes for creative, but not too-unusual drinks.

2Cheramie Sonnier is The Advocate’s food editor. Her email address is csonnier@theadvocate.com. M2ama’s Remedy

Serves 4. Recipe is from “Winter Cocktails: Mulled Ciders, Hot Toddies, Punches, Pitchers, and Cocktail Party Snacks” by María del Mar Sacasa, who says, “Milk punch is a sweetened milk drink fortified with spirits, namely bourbon and brandy. It’s been around since the 1800s and especially popular in the South. Like many other drinks this book, it was once used medicinally. My mother’s version is a better alternative to any cough syrup — just as soothing and soporific, but much easier on the way down.”

24 cups whole milk

1 cup dark rum

1 oz. brandy

1/4 cup cup honey, plus more to serve

2 cinnamon sticks

Peel of 1 orange (see note)

Ground cinnamon, for garnish

2

1. Combine milk, rum, brandy, honey, cinnamon and half the orange peel in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until honey is dissolved. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, warm cups by running them under hot tap water for a minute or two, dry thoroughly, and keep in a warm place covered with a towel until time to serve. Using a lighter or match, carefully run the flame along the remaining orange peel to release its oils. Rub the flamed side of the peel along the edges of the cups. Remove and discard cinnamon sticks and orange peel and pour milk into prepared cups. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and serve with additional honey.2 N ote: Remove the orange peel with a vegetable peeler, being careful to avoid the white pith, which will impart a bitter flavor.