You can use lots of different bases to start out your hot cocktail-coffee, hot cocoa, milk, tea, water, or cider are all great options. Build your cocktail by pairing flavors in the base with similar flavors in the liquor and garnishes. For example, hot apple cider pairs perfectly with dark rum or hot chocolate benefits from a splash of cinnamon schnapps.
Just about any kind of liquor can be used for hot cocktails. Spirits like rum, vodka, and tequila or cordials like chocolate or coffee flavored liqueur can all work well as does red wine or even ginger beer. When making hot cocktails, you typically don't heat the liquor (except for wine sometimes) you heat the base. You should always use room temperature liquor instead of chilled so it does not chill the drink too quickly. When choosing the liquor you want to use look for flavored liquors like apple flavored vodka or a mint flavored liqueur.
Adding spices like cinnamon, lemon zest, or nutmeg to a hot cocktail adds great flavor and depth to the cocktail. Using warm winter spices instantly gives a hint of warmth to the overall drink and of course makes for a delicious beverage. Simply stir in a pinch of your favorite spice or use it as a garnish to rim the cocktail glass.
Just like any other beverage, hot cocktails can be paired with food and not only desserts. Of course hot cocktails pair perfectly with just about any dessert for example pair a rum based cocktail with rum cake or decadent chocolate brownies with a coffee based beverage. Cheese and fruit are also delicious pairings for hot cocktails or even muffins, scones, or some salads. A whiskey based hot cocktail pairs well with a Waldorf salad or even turkey and cranberry sauce. To get started with pairing, think about what pairs well with the liquor in the cocktail first then use the other flavors in the base to finish the pairing off
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