Calvados Toddy with De Vine Barrel Aged Apple Brandy Pomme at Vis-A-Vis. Don Denton photography

Winter Warmers, Hot Drinks to Warm Up The Holiday Season

Heating up liquid refreshments for enjoyment and health

  • Dec. 19, 2018 8:00 a.m.

– Story by Tess van Straaten

Sitting at the bar of the Oak Bay Beach Hotel’s Snug Pub on a stormy winter day, I slowly sip a delicious drink that warms me from the inside out. It’s a sazerac, which is a New Orleans version of a whiskey or cognac cocktail. The Snug’s concoction, called a winter sazerac, is made from rye, Fernet-Branca bitters, and spicy cinnamon and clove syrup.

“I’m a big fan of simple, classic cocktails and this is just a more modernized, wintry version,” says Oak Bay Beach Hotel food and beverage manger Christian Sealey. “Rather than the traditional addition of Peychaud’s bitters and a sugar cube, I add Fernet-Branca and the cinnamon/clove syrup. It’s the perfect winter warmer because it warms the soul!”

A short stroll away, at Vis-à-Vis Bouchon & Bar on Oak Bay Avenue, I sample their winter hot toddy offering — a tart and lemony Calvados toddy.

“This cocktail was created by Sylvain Gorron, who used to work for us,” explains Vis-à-Vis and Penning Farthing Pub manager Nancy Stewart. “He’s from Bordeaux and travels the world with his partner. The Calvados adds a lovely sophisticated flavour to our hot toddy.”

Sitting outside on the patio, warmed by the overheat heaters, I sip this distinctly different winter warmer, which is made from apple brandy, lemon juice and syrup. Fortified against the cold, I walk a few blocks to de’lish in South Oak Bay for a non-alcoholic, flu-fighting elixir.

“This is a great flu-buster, which is how it came around for us to serve it in the shop,” explains de’lish co-owner Mark Davies. “Customers coming in with colds and flu actually inspired it and it’s a healthy alternative to apple cider. An elixir a day keeps the doctor away!”

Christian V. Sealey, Food and Beverage Manager at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, prepares a Winter Sazerac. Don Denton photography

The Snug Pub’s Winter Sazerac

1 3/4 oz Rittenhouse rye

1/4 oz Fernet-Branca

3/4 oz cinnamon and clove syrup

Absinthe to rinse (1/4 oz)

Orange twist

Combine rye, Fernet-Branca and syrup in a shaker over ice and stir until well chilled. Add absinthe to a coupe glass, swirl around and discard. Strain cocktail into glass and twist orange peel over it to release the oils and use as a garnish

Calvados Toddy with De Vine Barrel Aged Apple Brandy Pomme at Vis-A-Vis. Don Denton photography

Vis-à-Vis’ Calvados Toddy

2 oz De Vine Barrel Aged Apple Brandy Pomme or Calvados brandy

1 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz honey syrup

1/2 oz house syrup

Top with hot water

Orange wheel garnish

Combine brandy, lemon juice and syrups in a specialty coffee mug. Top with hot water, stir, and garnish with an orange or lemon slice.

De’lish server Raissa Souto presents an Elexir, a combination of lemon, honey and ginger and tumeric. Don Denton photography

The De’lish Elixir

3 litres of water

Juice of 6 lemons

150 grams of peeled and sliced ginger

2 Tsp ground tumeric

(or 50 grams fresh tumeric peeled and sliced)

1 cup of honey (vary to suit your sweetness level)

Bring all ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Pour into large container and cool overnight. Strain into new container and use as needed. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Warm before serving and garnish with a slice of lemon.

Food and WineHolidays

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Work on Massey Tunnel replacement on hold after snap election called

The business case for the new crossing was expected to be completed this fall

Horgan’s election call ‘nakedly opportunistic,’ political scientist says

Premier says campaign will ‘fully comply’ with public health directions

Dozens of Canadian venues to light up red in support of entertainment workers

Local facilities among dozens across Canada to participate in Light Up Live

Canada West Golf Championships cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

UBC, UBC-O, UFV and UVic athletes will not hit the links this year, Kelowna was set to host

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 20

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Vancouver Island family overwhelmed with 14 Lab puppies

Litter may be one of the biggest ever

Most Read