It’s February, which means we’re just about halfway through winter in Montana’s Yellowstone Country. And while the holidays sort of zoom past and catapult us all into a New Year—stuffed to the gills with resolutions and leftover Christmas cookies—and January is the month that we really start getting excited about winter, February is the time when we start to realize: there are still four more months of snow.
Which, even to the most enthusiastic of winter-lovers out there, can be a bit daunting. (Let’s be honest: it’s rare to see a Facebooked picture of a beautiful beach any time of year, much less February, and think, "Nah, looks too warm for me.")
So, in order to help keep the cold out and help extend your feelings of goodwill towards winter until … well, at least the end of June, when you’re relatively safe from impending snow fall (note that I said relatively), here are four delicious things to sip on that will make you wish it were winter all year long:
Hot Toddy: When I ordered this at a local beer-specific establishment, I didn’t expect it to come in a glass beer stein. But I’m so glad it did because not only was there more delicious rum to consume, but I had to consume it quickly, as the heat was dissipating from the glass mug with haste. Which, of course, led to me feeling wonderfully warm despite the -20 F degree weather outside.
Hot Toddies are notoriously famous as a remedy for winter flus and colds, but in case you’re wondering, they’re also good for curing one’s fear of the dance floor, particularly when consumed quickly, after being served in a beer stein.
1 oz brandy/whiskey/rum (or all three if you’re feeling lucky)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tea bag
2 lemon slices
1 cup of water
Steep, stir, drink, dance.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate: This is where I confess to you all that I was having a fight with a family member and ordered an alcohol-infused hot chocolate to deal with said family headache. The intended benefit was that it was delicious, sweet, warm and kept me in a good mood until dinnertime. The unintended benefit of this was that no one knew that I was imbibing. "Yes, I will have another, ‘hot chocolate,’ thank you very much."
You can make this drink at home by using one part Peppermint Schnapps and three parts hot chocolate (with water, not milk … milk and Schnapps? I’m not buying it). And ordering one after a particularly chilly morning ski? Delightful.
Montana Tornado: I have to confess; I only heard about this drink after reading this article claiming it as Montana’s signature drink (I have so much to learn). Unlike typical tornados, this version uses 7Up, instead of Coca-Cola, and whiskey (which, as noted above, is distilled abundantly in Yellowstone Country).
Make your own with:
5 shots of vodka
5 shots of whiskey
5 shots of gin
5 shots of tequila
5 shots of 7-Up
Mix it all up, pop in the lemon slices, serve in a mason jar (as Montanans are apt to do) and make sure you have a sober ride home.
The Snowball: Another drink I was unfamiliar with until I took the bull by the horns and got better acquainted with Yellowstone Country libations. At first, I thought it was going to be some sort of White Russian concoction, but when I sipped it, it tasted a bit more like sparkling eggnog (wrap your head around that for a minute). At any rate, this is a good one to have at home (though it means you’ll have to buy the Dutch liqueur Advocaat), because its thick, brandy-infused taste made me want to curl up in front of the fire with my slippers on.
Make it at home:
1 part Advocaat
2 parts Sprite or Fresca
Rub the rim of a rocks glass with lemon, then dip it in sugar. Mix Advocaat and Fresca/Sprite in a shaker, then pour over ice cubes.
What drinks are keeping you warm this winter?