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Warm Cocktails

Finally — our long North Carolina summer has given way to autumn breezes, the smell of fireplaces and the falling of leaves. To imbibers everywhere, this is the sign to swap out the tropical cocktails for heartier, warmer, and spicier cocktails. Spring and summer cocktails are, for the most part, characterized by white liquors, like vodka or white rum. They don’t cut into the fruitiness in summer drinks like darker liquors do, but tropical fruits and sweaters don’t mix, which is why I bring you this list of a few brandy, whiskey and rum cocktails that pair perfectly with cozy sweaters and roaring fireplaces.

The Hot Toddy
This classic cocktail has been around for ages, and aside from being a deliciously cozy cocktail, it has been used as a cold remedy around the world. Different civilizations around the world have made their own spins on the Toddy – the Irish call theirs a Hot Whisky, while the Japanese call their version Tamagozake, a version using hot sake and a whole egg. I’ll let you Google the Japanese one – stop by The Fearrington House Restaurant for the Western take on the Hot Toddy, or see our recipe below.

Hot Toddy
Serves 1


  • 1-1½ oz. Brandy, Whiskey or Gin
  • ¼-½ oz. Honey
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon Juice

Gin makes a more aromatic drink. Combine ingredients in a mug and top with hot water or your favorite tea. Add a slice of lemon and a stick of cinnamon as a swizzle stick.

Hot Buttered Rum
Smooth, relaxing, and rich, Hot Buttered Rum has been a seasonal favorite since the colonial days of America. It has ties to the drink known as Grog, which was a hot rum drink with lemon or lime juice and sugar and spices to taste — a favorite among pirates and merchantmen of the day (see the previous National Rum Day post). Today, the recipe has been refined enough to become a seasonal staple, and is the perfect end to a chilly day.

Once you’ve had one of these, you’ll understand the meaning behind its name; the Penicillin does wonders to clear you up when you’re coming down with a cold. Created by famous Australian bartender Sam Ross, this contemporary drink is packed with ginger, honey, citrus, and smoky scotch whiskey. It is featured on the Fearrington House bar list, and those who’ve had the opportunity to try it have all been pleasantly surprised. Whether you’re needing a delicious conventional remedy or a good autumn drink, come try this cocktail.

If you’d like to try these classic cocktails at home, email me at for the recipe!

– Watson, Fearrington House Restaurant Bartender