Nina Del Rio

Nina Del Rio

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Wise Ways To Use Your Booze During The Bomb Cyclone

With a major snow storm making its way through the Northeast, Tri-State area residents are liable to be holed up in their homes for upwards of the next 24 hours.

A frigid night in means many of us will be opening our liquor cabinets in search of something to quench our boredom.

If you don't have the ambition to brave the cold in search of mixers ahead of the 'Bomb Cyclone' — or if the snow is already coming down when you're reading this — here are a few simple winter cocktails to warm your cockles and keep you company while you wait out the storm.

Apple Smasher

  • Whiskey (or rum)
  • Apple cider
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon

Simmer (but don't boil) apple cider, 1 - 2 tsp brown sugar and cinnamon sticks in a pot just enough to marry the flavors. Pour some whiskey into a mug and ladle the mixture on top. Cheap whiskey is recommended, as the sugar content will obscure the depth of flavor in dearer spirits.

SUBSTITUTIONS: If you don't have apple cider, you can use apple juice instead; be wary of sweetened apple juice, however, as it could make the drink too sweet with the brown sugar.

Cranberry Moscow Mule

  • Vodka
  • Lime juice
  • Ginger beer or ginger ale
  • Cranberry juice

Here's one for the vodka drinkers out there. Pour 1/4 cup vodka, 1/4 cranberry juice and a tablespoon of lime juice into a glass. Top it with 1/3 cup of ginger beer. Add ice and treat yourself with a little lime garnish for presentation points.

NOTE: As with any cocktail that calls for juice, be aware of the sugar content, especially if you're using ginger ale instead of ginger beer.

Hot Toddy

  • Whiskey
  • Honey
  • Lemon
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon

Boil water as if you're making tea. Pour into a mug with 1 1/2 ounces of whiskey, honey and lemon juice to taste. Give it a stir and you should be good to go.

NOTE: Cloves add yet another level of warmth and subtle sweetness flavor, but they tend to float around in the drink unless they're secured. Try sticking your cloves in a lemon round or lemon slice to keep them in place. Add a dash of cinnamon or a cinnamon stick for more winter feeling.

Spiked Hot Chocolate

  • Hot chocolate mix
  • Milk or non-dairy beverage
  • Rum, bourbon, Bailey's, Kahlua, peppermint schapps or whatever liquor makes you feel good

As coziness goes, hot chocolate is undefeated. Prepare your hot chocolate however you usually do, then drop in a shot of whatever liquor suits your fancy.

Liqueurs like Bailey's, Kahlua and schapps are practically made for taking a sweet drink to the next level. Darker spirits like whiskey and rum compliment the profile of the chocolate. Most vodkas will be unobstructive at worst.

Old Fashioned

  • Bourbon or rye
  • Sugar, simple syrup or maple syrup
  • Bitters
  • Orange peel
  • Luxardo cherry

I am a bourbon lover and to me there's nothing better than the boozy simplicity and citrus aroma of a great handcrafted old fashioned.

Being that it's a simple drink, for a perfect one, you need top shelf ingredients. In the mean time, here's a recipe that'll get the job done — at least for tonight.

Pour a teaspoon of simple syrup, maple syrup or demerara syrup into a glass. Add 2 - 4 dashes of Angostura bitters. Mix it so that it lines the glass. Then add 2oz or 1/4 cup bourbon or rye and give it a stir.

Carefully place an ice cube into your glass and then add an orange peel. The orange is not just a garnish; the citrus from the peel enhances the inherent sweetness of the whiskey.

I cannot condone use of those radioactive red cocktail cherries, but if you have real Luxardo cherries, add one or two. Let them soak up the whiskey and they act like a little treat once your drink is gone.

SUBSTITUTION: Dark rum also works well in an old fashioned in place of whiskey, offering a more tropical-feeling variation.

Pumpkin Spice Martini

  • Vanilla Flavored Vodka
  • Irish Cream Liqueur
  • Pumpkin Flavored Liqueur
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground Nutmeg

This one might take some pre-planning--unless you happen to have pumpkin flavored liqueur hanging around!

Pour equal parts of the three liquids, or about 1.5 ounces each per drink, into a cocktail shaker over ice. Cover, and shake until the outside of the shaker has frosted. Strain into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Enjoy!

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