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.

Just Posted

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Update: Highway 3 reopened following rockslide near Keremeos

The slide occurred Friday March 22, at about 8 p.m. between Red Bridge and Standing Rock

Active burn pile prompts firefighter response in Salmon Arm

Reports of residential fire, thick smoke was from burning construction material

Rock slide forces rural Keremeos residents to leave their homes

Witness describes boulders bigger than her car

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: goodbye sun, hello rain

Environement Canada forcasts clouds and rain for the weekend and beyond

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Okanagan woman launches sewing studio

“I know there’s a lot of people up and down the valley that would love to sew.”

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Former Okanagan teen found safe after disappearing from YVR airport

Ethan Burnett, 14, was found safe in Kelowna on March 22

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Vernon road closed again following landslide

The road that was reopened Thursday morning was closed again Friday following geotechnical engineer report.

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

Most Read