In Search of the Perfect Winter Whisky Warmer

July 27, 2015


Almost every one of our days in Patagonia:

Wake up 2 hours before the sun comes up… At 8:00. Hot porridge breakfast (Matt’s invented Manjar* porridge… it tastes like your teeth are falling out). Distillery planning until midday. Put almost all our warm clothes on before a run outside, otherwise indoor death-by-burpees. Lunch. Distillery planning. Dinner. Hot whiskey-based beverage testing in front on the fire.

This post is all our results from the latter! (You’ll have to contact me directly for details about our burpees- far more foul language required than is appropriate for this blog) We’ve made and tasted classics, newbies and some of our own inventions; had some successes, some disgusting failures, and all sorts of super-strange flavour combos and clashes in between.

Armed with a Scotch (Dalwhinnie 15), a Tennessee Whiskey (Jack Daniels), a Bourbon (Jim Beam) and a Rye (Jim Beam), we systematically and very nerdily recorded all of our observations in a spreadsheet. Yes we’ve probably missed a host of what are probably better well-known hot cocktails, but we did our best with what ingredients could be found cheaply at our local shops and our livers probably couldn’t have handled many more than these anyway! Without further ado, because you’re likely on the edge of your seats, here are our top picks!


Hot tips of South America: Manjar and Panamanian Rum combined in a mug of hot water

I know in the last post I said that this invention of ours was good with Bourbon, but everything changed after the alcoholics in us couldn’t resist buying a tasting-pack of Abuelo Rum that we found in a supermarket. That night we made ourselves a hot Manjar and added some rum and OH BOY. Rum and sweet is such a classic and warming combo that no more precious whisky should ever be wasted in this cocktail.


Winter Julep: Mint tea, brown sugar and bourbon

These ingredients are so basic that we had to give it go, despite that it just doesn’t sound that special… But it absolutely knocked our socks off! The freshness of the mint and the dark caramel of the brown sugar matched exquisitely with the sweet and floral notes of Bourbon to produce a really sophisticated tasting cocktail. It also worked super well with the Scotch too but clashed horribly with the Jack Daniels. Definitely a must-try-this-at-home! But whatever you do, not with Jack Daniels. That’s a whole lot of terrible cough syrupy yuckniess in your mouth.


All-time Favourite Apple: Hot cloudy apple juice with cinnamon and, well, any whisky

We first tried this sweet, luscious, fruity, spicy goodness with the Dalwhinnie, “amazing.” Then the JD, “also amazing.” With the Bourbon, “does this ever taste bad?” And finally the Rye, “perfect.” Honestly, when it’s winter, drink this drink. It can do no wrong.


Hot Monkey Milk: Warm banana milk with bourbon

When we did our crazy-shouldn’t-be-possible-in-winter hike with our crazy friends last week, we brought with us a big bag of banana chips which we absolutely devoured when we were wet to our underwear on the way down. There is something super appealing about enjoying tastes from the tropics when you couldn’t be much further from the tropics if you tried. This cocktail is just that; the florals in the Bourbon almost make it seem like there are all sorts of perfumey tropical fruits in your glass full of warm sunshine from a tropical paradise somewhere.


Hot Toddy: a lemon slice studded with cloves, hot water, sugar and Scotch

This super classic cocktail sounded nice-ish, and the recipes all got very stuffy about ensuring that the exact number of cloves precisely studded the lemon slice. But there sure is a reason that this is such a popular concoction- it is an excellent drink! It’s one of those perfectly balanced cocktails where every ingredient enhances every other ingredient so well that is tastes more than the sum of its parts. If you’re a Scotch drinker, its winter and you haven’t tried this yet, than you must!

*Manjar is Chilean Dulce de Leche aka thick caramel like the stuff that goes in caramel slice