6 warm, boozy cocktails from Barndiva, Grossman’s and more

Serve Hot Spiced Cider or The Hot Lebowski for holiday parties|

When the weather outside is frightful, a warm, boozy beverage can be a delightful way to ward off the winter chill. We asked several popular Sonoma County restaurants, wineries and cocktail experts to share their favorite cold-weather sipper. And the results are delicious.

All recipes are for one serving unless otherwise noted.

Hot Spiced Cider, Barndiva, Healdsburg

At Barndiva in Healdsburg, beverage director and cocktail all-star Scott Beattie puts a twist on traditional hot apple cider with the addition of cognac and allspice dram, a sweet allspice liqueur frequently found in Tiki drinks.

For the apple cider base, Barndiva uses their own recipe, produced from the 16 heirloom apple varieties that grow on their Philo property.

“We’re fortunate to make our own unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider,” Beattie said. “The apple flavor is complex with sweet caramel and tart lemon components.”

At home, Beattie suggests using a quality, unfiltered apple cider for this recipe, as well Remy Martin 1738 cognac or any decent bourbon, aged rum or brandy. For the allspice dram, he prefers St. Elizabeth or Bitter Truth, as well as Fee Brothers Barrel-Aged Bitters, which provide notes of clove, allspice and cinnamon.

Hot Spiced Cider

1½ ounces cognac

½ ounce allspice dram

1 dash Fee Brothers Barrel-Aged Bitters (or Angostura)

5 ounces unfiltered apple cider

Cinnamon stick or star anise, to garnish

Add all ingredients to a small pot and heat until very hot to the touch, but not boiling. Pour into a preheated mug and garnish with a burnt cinnamon stick and/or star anise.

Mulled Wine, Ziggy Eschliman (Ziggy the Wine Gal)

Frequently recognized by her moniker, Ziggy the Wine Gal, Ziggy Eschliman is the vivacious host of “Wine Wednesday,” a weekly wine program on KRSH 95.9 FM (The Krush). An expert on wine, spirits and Wine Country lifestyle, Eschliman loves to entertain at her home year-round and is planning to launch a new lifestyle brand in the new year called ZigStyle.

“Having certain traditions during the holiday season warms my heart, and mulled wine is one,” she said. “As many things in my kitchen do, the recipe has evolved over the years. I add bourbon to pay homage to my relatives in the South and maple syrup to give a nod to Vermont, where my daughter went to college. I also love adding honey from the last place I traveled to before winter. This year, that was Italy.”

For the red wine, use blends for added complexity.

ZigStyle Mulled Wine

Makes about 8 servings

2 bottles red wine

½ cup bourbon

¼ cup Vermont maple syrup

¼ cup honey

Peel of 1 orange, pith removed

6-8 cloves, whole

2-3 allspice berries

3 cinnamon sticks

3 star anise, whole

Take half the orange peel and stud it with cloves. Set aside.

In a large pot or slow cooker, add the wine, bourbon, maple syrup and honey and stir well. Add clove-studded orange peel, plain orange peel, allspice berries, cinnamon sticks and star anise and stir well. Bring mixture to a high simmer (but not boiling), then reduce heat to low to keep warm until ready to serve. If using a slow cooker, heat on low for ½ hour, then turn down to “keep warm” setting until ready to serve.

Eschliman said she likes to use a vintage silver tray for garnishes, including ½ orange wheels studded with a few cloves, cinnamon sticks and fresh cranberries pierced onto long bamboo toothpicks. To serve, she uses mismatched antique tea cups and saucers, with a ladle placed on a vintage plate or tray.

The Hot Lebowski, Grossman’s Noshery & Bar, Santa Rosa

Located in downtown Santa Rosa, Grossman’s Noshery serves heaps of delicious Jewish and Eastern European-inspired fare, like house-cured meats and smoked fish, piles of pastrami, pelmeni, kreplach and potato leek latkes.

Grossman’s also has a full bar with a cocktail list that takes a punny swing at cocktail classics, like Aperol We’ve Been Through, Weekend at Bubbie’s and Divine Intervengin. And The Hot Lebowski.

“When we developed our beverage menu, I knew I wanted to create a drink based on the classic white Russian, but more focused on coffee than booze,” said Matt Stern, general manager. “We quickly dialed in the recipe for The Hot Lebowski, which references actor Jeff Bridges’ favorite drink in the Cohen brothers’ movie, ‘The Big Lebowski.’”

The Hot Lebowski

4-6 ounces freshly brewed coffee

1½ ounces Kahlua

¾ ounce vodka

Whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a warmed mug. Top with whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg.

La Canela, The Madrona, Healdsburg

At The Madrona in Healdsburg, Hannah’s Bar has a list of meticulously crafted cocktails developed by West Bev, a Bay Area beverage consultancy of notable mixologists. Often highlighting ingredients grown throughout the property, the cocktails are fresh, modern and inventive yet true to their classic roots.

“La Canela is a variation on the hot toddy,” said Nora Furst, a West Bev consultant. “We developed the recipe based on a reposado tequila that is rested on white oak for six months. The light baking spice and vanilla notes play well with cinnamon and our demerara syrup. We really wanted to allow the beautiful vegetal notes of the agave to shine through without bringing in too many other flavors.”

To balance the sweetness of the drink, Furst and her team added juice from fresh under-ripe oranges grown on the Madrona property, which give the drink a layer of verdant acidity, as well as ginger, which lends a light floral spice.

La Canela

1½ ounces reposado tequila

½ ounce fresh green orange juice (or fresh grapefruit juice)

¼ ounce fresh lemon juice

½ ounce spiced demerara syrup (recipe follows)

3 ounces water

Cinnamon, for garnish

Combine all ingredients except tequila in a small saucepan and warm over low heat. Once liquid reaches a light simmer, remove from heat and add tequila. Stir well. Serve immediately in a small toddy or tea glass. Garnish with a grating of fresh cinnamon.

This cocktail does well in batches, so feel free to multiply the recipe.

Spiced Demerara Syrup

¼ cup demerara sugar

3¾ cups (30 ounces) water

5-6 cinnamon sticks, cracked in half

2 inch piece fresh ginger, sliced

In a large pot, combine all ingredients and whisk over low heat until sugar fully dissolves. Allow to cool. Syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks (with cinnamon sticks and ginger) until ready to serve. Remove cinnamon and ginger before serving.

Winter Wonderland, The Apothecary by FloraLuna, Petaluma

At The Apothecary by FloraLuna, owner Phaedra Achor offers a satisfying seasonal range of alcohol-free cocktails in her Petaluma lounge, plus a popular line of cocktail bitters, syrups and mixers.

“The Winter Wonderland is perfect mocktail for toasting the holidays and sipping by the fire,” Achor said. “The tart cranberry and spices liven up the tastebuds while the FloraLuna Cardamom Clove Syrup adds silky texture and fragrant, warming notes. The Cayenne Ginger Bitters meld the flavors together, providing an aromatic and complex backbone.”

Winter Wonderland

2 ounces alcohol-free rum or gin, such as Free Spirits

1 ounce cranberry juice

½ ounce orange juice

¾ ounce FloraLuna Cardamom Clove Syrup

1 cinnamon stick

2 cloves

1 slice fresh ginger

5 drops FloraLuna Cayenne Ginger Bitters

Fresh cranberries and a star anise, for garnish

Add all ingredients, except alcohol-free spirit, to a pan and allow to simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add alcohol-free spirit and stir well. Strain into a mug, and garnish with fresh cranberries and star anise.

This recipe can be multiplied for larger batches. It can also be made in a slow cooker hours ahead.

Glögg, West Wines, Healdsburg

Glögg is a traditional Scandinavian mulled wine with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and raisins served during the month leading up to Christmas. This recipe is from West Wines, whose founders, Katarina Bonde and Bengt Åkerlind, hail from Sweden.

Each year, the winery holds a Scandinavian glögg party in the tasting room, with glögg, cookies and Swedish decorations that Bonde sources from Stockholm. While this year’s event has passed, glögg can easily be made at home.


Makes 20-25 servings

2 bottles full-bodied red wine (like a fruity zinfandel or syrah)

1-2 cups brandy or cognac

½ teaspoon cardamom seeds

5 cinnamon sticks (soak the cinnamon sticks in water beforehand to release the flavor)

20 cloves

2 strips of dried orange rind

2 inch piece of fresh ginger

½ cup raisins

1 cup brown sugar

For garnish

1 package raisins

1 package blanched, slivered almonds

Combine all ingredients in a large pot, and warm gently. Do not let it boil since the alcohol will evaporate. Remove from heat, and let cool. Place in an airtight container, and let rest overnight. Reheat gently before you’re ready to serve.

To serve, pour into cups and garnish with raisins and almond slivers. Make sure to provide teaspoons so guests can enjoy the soaked raisins at the bottom of the cup.

You can reach Staff Writer Sarah Doyle at 707-521-5478 or sarah.doyle@pressdemocrat.com.

Sarah Doyle

Wine & Lifestyle Reporter

Wine is the indelible heartbeat of Sonoma County. As the wine industry continues to evolve, my job is to share the triumphs, challenges and trends that affect our local wine region, while highlighting the people — past and present — who have contributed to its success. In addition, I cover spirits, beer and on occasion, other lifestyle topics.

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