Hot cocktails are a good thing: who doesn’t like being warm and happy? Check out these fine examples

The world is indeed a better place than it used to be. OK, sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, but as the New Year approaches, please be assured, it is.

Eating and drinking in the UK, for example, is easier, there is more choice, the quality is higher, it’s more fun than it ever has been. London, in particular is awash with options.

On a more serious note, we are statistically kinder to each other and more healthy – we have even managed to have fewer wars, resulting in fewer deaths. Raise a glass to that.

HotsTalking of which, another improvement is in the hot alcoholic beverage arena. Anybody who has a tortuous memories of a luke-warm bucket of mulled wine, with a sad-looking orange and a lonely cinnamon stick, and releasing an odour you could describe as “eau de old pub carpet” can agree heartily: the hot cocktail has come of age.

Event though the weather looks like it’s going to be “sunbathing on Christmas Day” and “snow by June”, it is still cold enough later on in the evening to whip up a hot toddy – or better still, pop out for one.

Ten of the best in London
1. The W hotel is serving a Winter’s Tale – a warmed cognac, benedictine, lemon, honey and a burning sprig of thyme (would it be rude to suggest the burning thyme might be pure theatre?).

2. Gaucho’s Winter Terrace in Broadgate has a hot toddy made from Glenmorangie, lemon, honey, orange and cloves. I might somehow induce a cold just so I can pop and have one of those.

3. Peckham Springs is doing a Hot Marmalady: warming bourbon, marmalade and orange juice. Liquid breakfast, anyone?

4. Forest at Selfridges has a hot chocolate cocktail bar playing with gingerbread liqueur, banana liqueur and chestnut cream among others. One for the sweet tooths.

5. The Skandikitchen is the place to go for Glogg. What? You haven’t tried Glogg? You haven’t lived. A mulled wine with a Scandi spirit and raisins. Random.

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6. Christopher’s has a pumpkin rum cocktail, featuring pumpkin puree, orange juice, demerera sugar and mulling spices. This one might actually be healthy.

7. Black Kraken is serving at its Think Ink pop-up, among other concoctions, a Squid Bite: hot cider, rum, apple slice and cinnamon stick. Simple, but mindblowing, it could warm your cockles 10, 000 leagues under the sea.

8. The Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green has got a Hot Punch Cocktail with ginger beer, vermouth, lemon, honey, Ban Poitin and chocolate bitters. The only punch you used to get in Bethnal Green was in the face, but times have changed.

9. Mr Foggs features an Ice Breaker, with Hendrick’s gin, St Germain elderflower liqueur and cider. As fruity as an old painter!

10. The Cocktail Trading Company caused a fuss with The Tod – a whiskey-based cocktail with apple juice, fig liqueur and rooibos tea and served in a hot water bottle. Can’t see what the fuss is all about myself – nice to have something to cuddle after a drink.

words: Jimmy Jimjams