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.