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

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

MISSING: High-risk woman last seen on May 25

Police are asking for the public’s help in locating Jennifer Daughinee-Mendelson

Playgrounds back in the swing of things on the West Shore

Langford, View Royal, Colwood reopen parks, playgrounds

Black bear sighting reported on UVic campus

University urging residents in the area to be careful

Parkland grads mark end to high school in virtual ceremony

North Saanich grads pre-tape graduation ceremony days before school officially reopened

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Alert Bay resident carves tribute to his community kicking COVID-19’s butt

‘Our little village crushed the curve with love and commitment’

End of an Era: Tofino hair studio closes shop

“We were getting excited to start ramping up and then all of sudden we had to close our doors.”

Most Read