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

Based at the Cowichan Sportsplex, Playcare is a program aimed at promoting physical literacy skills through fun and exciting games and activities. (Citizen file)
Free after-school program offered at Cowichan Sportsplex

PacificSport holding Playcare twice a week

The Cowichan Steelheads’ Jesus Martinez (left) and the Cowichan 49ers’ Daryl Rodgers chase down the ball during Saturday night’s all-Cowichan clash at the Sherman Road turf. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan masters derby takes unexpected turn

Soccer commnity comes together in midst of battle

Kerry Park Islanders defenceman Taylor Webb emerges with the puck from a scrum along the boards during Saturday’s home game against the Saanich Predators. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Optimized results keep Kerry Park Islanders rolling

Several forwards hitting or nearing career highs just six games into season

Our Home on 8th, the Port Alberni Shelter that opened in March 2019, has 27 extra ‘extreme weather’ spaces for people who need a place to get out of the cold. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BC VOTES 2020: Mid-Island candidate plans occupation of shelter to protest homelessness

Graham Hughes says homeless situation a ‘crisis’ in Port Alberni

Parksville’s Jared Huggan won $75,000 playing BC/49. (BCLC/Photo submitted)
Vancouver Island man $75K richer after purchasing winning lottery ticket at Nanaimo Walmart

Parksville’s Huggan plans to purchase electric bike for partner

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter. Photo supplied
Wanted man from Calgary may be on Vancouver Island

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter

Most Read