A Campfire for Your Thermos – Winter Cocktails Tips & Tricks
Some winter cocktails can stand up to spending a few hours in a thermos, but many cannot. We undertook painstaking, but not unwelcome, research to come up with these tips, tricks, and recipes for warm winter cocktails. Now it’s time for you to do your own testing to tell us how we did.
Prepare Your Thermos
Whatever warm winter cocktails you decide to put in your vacuum bottle, you should prepare it in the same way. Fill the thermos with boiling water and let the interior pre-heat. It will keep the contents warm for much longer once it’s sealed. Do this for any hot beverage you put in your thermos. You will be pleased by the results.
Stanley Adventure Vacuum Bottle
Warming Liquor – Straight Up
Whether your choice is cognac, brandy, or bourbon, most aficionados like their winter cocktails slightly above room temperature. Slight warming releases all the flavors and aromas to savor.
The traditional way to warm winter cocktails is in a large snifter that allows swirling to warm the liquor in your hand, but that takes 8-10 minutes if you’re starting with a room temperature glass. On the other hand, fine liquor should NEVER be exposed to flame or an intense heat source like a stovetop burner.
If you want to carry properly tempered brandy or whiskey with you here’s what to do. Boil water in a pan or teakettle. Get it rolling hot. Carefully pour the boiling water into your thermos to fill it. Let it sit open for about 10 minutes. Empty the water out of the thermos and replace it with room temperature cognac, brandy, or bourbon, then quickly seal the thermos. When you’re ready to serve, use glasses that are room temperature or slightly warmer, pour the liquor into them, and sip immediately. You WILL enjoy… guaranteed.
Mixing Cocktails in Bulk
Unless you’re using a tiny little single—or double-serving vacuum bottle for yourself and/or a special companion, most of the concoctions you’ll be mixing for the thermos will be larger batches. It will be enough for half a dozen servings or more.
This is different than mixing cocktails in individual serving sizes, so put some thought into it. Just multiplying the amount of ingredients in your favorite recipe may work fine, but what you put in your thermos is likely not intended to drink right away.
For example, say you’re making a toddy that is to be served with a sprig of a particular herb. Will the drink be best if you add the herbs directly to the thermos and let it steep for all those hours before you serve it? Might be worth an experiment, but you should also consider prepping the herbs ahead of time and taking them in a separate zipper top bag, placing them in the individual glasses, and pouring the warm beverage over the herbs as combined flavor and garnish.
There are some things, like expressing citrus, adding a whipped topping or garnishing with a roasted marshmallow that simply must be done AFTER the drink is poured into an individual serving vessel.
- 12 oz. dark rum
- 6 cups hot water (just off the boil)
- 8 cinnamon sticks
- 8 Tbsp. cinnamon/sugar butter
- ⅔ cup unsalted butter (at room temp, but not melted)
- ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. real maple syrup
- ⅓ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 pinches salt
- FOR CINNAMON/SUGAR BUTTER:
- Place butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt in mixing bowl.
- Beat with electric mixer or by hand until smooth, creamy, and all ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Store in a zipper top freezer-weight bag.
- FOR THE DRINK:
- Preheat thermos with boiling water.
- Mix the six cups of hot water for the drink with the rum. Pour into pre-heated thermos and seal immediately.
- When you’re ready to make the drinks, spoon one tablespoon of the compound butter into each mug. Fill the mug about ¾ full directly from thermos.
- Garnish each mug with a cinnamon stick that doubles as a swizzle.
- 12 cups water
- 6 dark tea bags (use your favorite; we used Earl Gray)
- 1 lemon, sliced thin
- 1 large orange, sliced thin
- ½ cup regular white sugar
- 1 Tbsp. cloves
- 12 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 ½ cups raspberry liqueur (Chambord for example)
- 1 ½ cups bourbon whiskey
- ¼ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- Bring the water to boil in a large pot. Reduce to simmer.
- Add tea bags, lemon slices, orange slices, sugar, cloves, and sprigs of thyme. Cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
- Pour in Chambord, bourbon, and lemon juice. Stir well. Return to very low heat, just to keep the mixture really warm. A preheated crockpot works really well for this.
- Preheat thermos(es). When they are ready, pour out the water and add a small portion of the solids (lemon and orange slices, cloves, and thyme sprigs) to each thermos.
- Then fill with the hot liquid. Seal immediately. Pour gently into warm mugs over another fresh thyme sprig (optional) to serve.
- 3 cups of hot chocolate (make your favorite mix or homemade recipe)
- ¾ cup chocolate liqueur (Godiva makes some GREAT ones)
- ¾ cup marshmallow vodka (pick up a bottle of Smirnoff Fluffed Marshmallow – you have to try this!)
- ¾ cup crème de cacao
- Large marshmallows
- Graham crackers (crushed)
- Preheat thermos as described above and pour out the water. Immediately put the HOT chocolate into the thermos.
- Add the liquors and swirl gently, then seal the thermos immediately.
- At the fireside (campfire, woodstove, or fireplace) place mugs near, but not over the fire to warm.
- Toast one marshmallow for each mug to perfect golden doneness.
- Pour from thermos to fill each mug about ¾ full.
- Remove marshmallow from roasting stick and squeeze as you place on top of mug.
- Sprinkle top of drink/marshmallow with graham cracker crumbs.
- Enjoy! You may need a spoon to get every last delicious bit.