In which the Company revisits an old favourite and takes it into the harsh winter.
In which the Company goes a'travelling.
So, November. The long nights are here, forcing a day's worth of warmth into the slivers of daylight that punctuate the week. Winter is most definitely here and there's only one thing to do: blow stuff up. It's funny how we feel it's appropriate to celebrate a failed detonation with fireworks, but if you can't spin festivities out of a treasonous plot then what can you do? After a long evening enrapturing children and scaring pets, there'll come a point when the thing you really want is to be inside with something warm - a nice hot cocoa, perhaps - and if that point happens to coincide with a powerful need for a cocktail, then you'll likely be disappointed. There are some options: a liqueur coffee of some description, a hot toddy, or - if you're still feeling particularly pyrophiliac - a Blue Blazer; but on the whole, the hot cocktail is something of a lost art. It's worth noting that before the advent of refrigeration, mixed drinks would have been served either cold-compounded (whack it in a vessel and give it a stir) or heated, either indirectly (by adding some hot water, for example) or directly (by, say, shoving a red-hot poker from the fireplace into the drink. If you wanted to be all refined, I'm sure there were more subtle ways of doing it).
Of course, making and serving a cocktail hot will usually require some extra equipment. For this week's drink, I went all in and headed toward the much-abused coffee machine at work, though not with the intention of making any coffee. Sure, there's a coffee flavour in the recipe but not everyone's looking for a caffeine rush in a warming, late-night tipple. We don't all wanna get a buzz on.
In the base of warmed brandy balloon or coupette, combine:
25ml bourbon (I used Bulleit)
15ml Kahlua (or your choice of coffee liqueur)
1 barspoon maple syrup
25ml hot water
In a milk jug, combine:
50ml half & half (25ml milk and 25ml double cream if you don't prep half & half)
15ml white creme de cacao
10ml Navan vanilla cognac liqueur
Using an espresso machine, steam the mixture until creamy. Layer over the bourbon/Kahlua/maple syrup combination and garnish with a sprinkle of shaved chocolate.
In which the Company recognizes the contribution made to the world of rum by the Spanish crown.
In which the Company examines deep thoughts of the nature of our existence within the confines of a larger cosmic whole. And flavoured vodka.