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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Drink This Now

Toasty Drinks for Winter Weather: Hot Toddies, Irish Coffee and Warm Punch

Hot Drinks: The Dead Rabbit

The Dead Rabby © Andrew Kist

New Yorkers looking for an antidote to the recent blast of frigid weather can take refuge at a new cocktail spot opening next week called the Dead Rabbit, which will offer several warming winter drinks. Located in an early-19th-century townhouse, the new venue is actually two bars in one: a cozy pub, which aims to have the largest Irish whiskey menu in the city, and an upstairs cocktail lounge. Downstairs, co-owners Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry will serve a classic hot toddy and Dale DeGroff’s Irish coffee recipe. But upstairs, among the 72 cocktails divided into 12 chapters, Muldoon and McGarry will employ very modern technology to prepare historically influenced drinks. MORE >

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The Hottest New Chile Cocktails

Mucho Humo

Courtesy of Florida Cookery at The James Royal Palm

From mild anchos to seriously hot Scotch bonnets, chile peppers add nuanced flavors and, at times, lip-numbing sensations to cocktails. MORE >

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The Rise of Lighter Cocktails

OAK at fourteenth's Trail Ridge Road

Trail Ridge Road © Phoebe Trotta.

While boozy, brown drinks still rule in pre-Prohibition-style bars, bartenders who take inspiration from Europe are now popularizing aperitif-like cocktails that are flavorful and low in alcohol. In F&W's series of cocktail predictions for 2013, Bryan Dayton, owner of OAK at fourteenth in Boulder, Colorado, championed low alcohol drinks as the future of mixology. "European cultures have always promoted light aperitifs," Dayton says. "Whether it's cider in Normandy or Aperol spritzes in Italy." MORE »

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The Newest Holiday Punches

New Holiday Punches: Passed Bright Milk Punch

Passed Bright Milk Punch © Nathan Rawlinson.

Long before there were martinis and daiquiris, Manhattans and mai tais, there was punch. Punch dates to the early 17th century, when it was imported to England by officers of the East India Company, according to writer John Ayto, who just published a new edition of The Diner’s Dictionary: Word Origins of Food & Drink.

Made in batches and perfect for holiday entertaining, punches are especially popular this time of year among bartenders looking to put their own spins on festive cocktails. Brooklyn’s buzzed-about Scandinavian restaurant Aska—from chef Fredrik Berselius (Aquavit, Per Se) and partner Eamon Rockey, formerly of Atera—is now serving three innovative punches. “Punch is about community and about enjoying something together,” says Rockey. MORE »

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Innovative Alpine Mai Tais, Chestnut Old-Fashioneds and More Holiday Cocktails

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Innovative Holiday Cocktails: The Alpine Mai Tai

The Alpine Mai Tai Courtesy of The Beehive

Often sugary or creamy, holiday drinks frequently taste more like liquid dessert than balanced cocktails. “The temptation is to do peppermint this and gingerbread that,” says Nate Hayden, bartender at The Beehive, a jazz club, bar and restaurant in Boston’s South End. “But we wanted to create something fun and slightly sweet, but also with real complexity to it as well.” Inspired by the nostalgic scent of pine trees, Hayden came up with the Alpine Mai Tai.

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The New Old Fashioned

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The New Old Fashioned: No. 10

Whitehall's No. 10 Courtesy of Whitehall

When it comes to cocktails, it doesn’t get much simpler than the old fashioned: spirit (typically rye or bourbon), bitters, sweetener and citrus. The uncomplicated nature of the drink makes it a fantastic blank canvas for bartenders. “The old fashioned is arguably one of the oldest cocktails,” says John McCarthy, the beverage director of New York City’s Scotch-centric Highlands and gin-focused Whitehall. “What’s great is that you can change all the elements and just mix and match.” McCarthy created three riffs on the old fashioned for his fall menus. »

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Delicious Pear Cocktails

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Pouring Ribbons' Tahona Smash

The Tahona Smash ©Paul Wagtouicz.

If fall fruits were superheroes, pears would be Robin to Batman-like apples: terrific, but occasionally left behind. But this season bartenders are spotlighting the sweet, fragrant fruit in cocktails made with a range of spirits from brandy to vodka. »

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Perfect Fall Pairing: Apples and Booze

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Apple Cocktails: The Hudson

The Hudson cocktail. Courtesy of Northeast Kingdom.

In fall, when overzealous apple-picking excursions and trips to the farmers’ market end with piles of the crunchy fruit overflowing from kitchen bowls, most people make pies, slice them for salads and do lots of fiber-rich snacking. Here’s a tip: Use fresh apples to create fantastic of-the-moment cocktails. More >

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American Sparkling Cider Cocktails

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Woodberry Tavern: Whiskey Smash

Whiskey Smash © Dusan Vuksanovic

With lightly sweet flavors and a soft fizziness, hard sparkling ciders from American craft producers are a fantastic fall alternative to sparkling wine or soda water in cocktails. At Woodberry Kitchen, the Whiskey Smash calls for cider that is made in the same way it was during colonial times. »

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Late Summer Jam & Marmalade Cocktails

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Summit Bar's Shu Jam Fizz

Summit Bar's Shu Jam Fizz. Courtesy Pamela Vlahakis.

Preserving sweet summer fruits in jams and marmalades is a tradition for many home cooks, but home mixologists should consider stocking up as well. Preserves are good for more than just spreading on toast; they add bright flavors and a silky texture to cocktails >

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.