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Friday, Dec. 26, 2008
Hot and tasty to keep you toasty
"Basically, no," said the bartender at one of Kyoto's ritzier drinking establishments when I asked if he could make something hot. I could have fancy juices, cream, egg whites or yolks in my cocktail, but I could not have heat. Even in winter.
Bartenders don't seem enamored with hot drinks. Pick a bar, any bar, and ask for something to warm your innards. I'll bet you get a hot wine, hot toddy, buttered rum, boozy coffee or an apologetic wince. It's a meager lineup compared with their repertoire of iced cocktails. Luckily, I've only got space for four recipes on this page, and I know some bartenders who always have an idea up their sleeve.
If you fancy trying these recipes at home, use heat-proof glasses and warm them first by filling them with hot water and leaving to stand for a minute or two.
Vin chaud — Koji Ozaki, Bar Radio
60 ml red wine
Heat the juice and wine together (a saucepan or microwave will do), then add the remaining ingredients.
Bar Radio, 3-10-34 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3402-2668; www.bar-radio.com; 6 p.m.-1 a.m.
Hot wine — Hirotaka Konishi, Bar Blossom Hirotaka Konishi put Osaka on the cocktail map when his fruity, gin-base Sundowner won the Nippon Bartenders Association's 2006 award for best cocktail. His 5-year-old Bar Blossom gets everything just about perfect: world- class cocktails — including a menu of seasonal fresh fruit drinks — Osakan hospitality and a bar tab that will surprise you in a good way. He, too, offered a recipe for hot wine, using a Chilean cabernet sauvignon and a just-launched curiosity called Umeshu de France Prucia, a plum liqueur from the South of France. The grapes and plums combine for a very rich, Christmas puddingy drink, and, as the strongest drink on this page, it will put a little fire in your belly.
90 ml red wine
Heat the wine, plum liqueur, honey and fruit slices in a pan. Pour the drink into a warmed glass and garnish with one of the fruit slices.
Bar Blossom, 2-1-6 Sonezaki, Kita-Osaka; (06) 6311-6530; open 5 p.m.-1 a.m. (closed Sun.)
Kentucky eggnog — Hidetsugu Ueno, Bar High Five
Hidetsugu Ueno, who trained at Ginza's legendary Star Bar, was inspired by his American wife to use bourbon as the base for his Kentucky eggnog. This is by far the hardest recipe on the page, requiring a delicate hand to ensure that the egg doesn't coagulate. Ueno says the trick is to "beat the egg really, really well before blending with the hot stuff. It's much easier if you have a hand mixer. Then stir the well-beaten egg while you add the hot stuff really slowly."
30 ml bourbon
Beat the egg well and set aside. Heat the milk, bourbon, syrup and cinnamon powder in a pan, being careful not to let them come to a boil. Then pour the hot drink slowly onto the egg, stirring constantly. Remove any coagulation with a tea strainer.
Bar High Five, 4F No.26 Polestar Building, 7-2-14 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3571-5815; open 6 p.m.-2 a.m. (closed Sun.)
Hot chocolate mint — Prinz
30 ml creme de menthe
Heat the milk, pour over creme de menthe and top with cocoa powder.
Prinz, Tanaka Takahara, Sakyo-Ku, Kyoto; (075) 712-3900; www.prinz.jp; open 8 a.m.-11:30 p.m.