The thought of a warm cocktail rarely presents itself in Austin. Yet once the temperature drops, bartenders are bombarded with requests for all things hot. To supply the demand, Contigo has compiled a toddy menu that would make a Northerners’ palette water.
Technically, a hot toddy is any cocktail made of water, liquor, sugar and spices served hot. Instead of putting ice in a cocktail, hot water is substituted. This slight variation creates a completely different drink – and Contigo has an entire menu of warm drinks to help you through the winter.
Owners Ben Edgerton and Andrew Wiseheart have built their restaurant around hospitality and atmosphere, inspired by Ben’s family ranch in South Texas. “85% of our restaurant is outdoor seating,” Ben explains. Outdoor seating during the winter presents its share of challenges. “We’ve had to take what many consider a weakness and make it a strength.” With a large fire pit and blankets dispersed throughout the restaurant, Contigo provides each guest with a ranch experience.
While warming up to the fire, the classic hot toddy or their Branca-Menta Hot Chocolate is an ideal choice. After you pay a visit to Contigo – which means “with you” in Spanish – give these two drinks a try at your own holiday cocktail party.
Fill your mug and half-fill a pint glass with hot water. Place a short metal tin in the pint glass. In the metal tin, add:
1½ oz spirit of guest’s choice
¾ oz honey syrup
¾ oz lemon juice
1 bar spoon Allspice Dram
Stir to blend ingredients, dump hot water from mug, add contents from tin, and top with 4 oz hot water. Garnish with mint sprig and lemon wheel.
Branca-Menta Hot Chocolate
Warm a mug with hot water. Discard the water. Combine in the mug:
1 ½ oz Branca-Menta
5 oz Mexican hot chocolate
Top with a couple of bar spoons of whipped cream made with Fernet-Branca. Garnish with a mint leaf.
Photo by Michael A. Muller