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Ask A Pittsburgh Expert: Your Best Hot Winter Drink

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If the colder temperatures are leaving you thirsty for a hot winter drink, but you don't feel like braving the winter weather to head to your favorite bar, The Cocktail Chef Steven Kowalczuk has you covered with three of his best hot winter cocktails that you can make from the comfort of your own home. Whether you prefer a hot buttered rum, a twist on a traditional hot toddy or something that delivers a bit of a kick, these beautifully crafted cocktails are perfect for the cold weather months. For your next holiday party or the next time you need a little something to warm you up, try your hand at these seasonal spirits and drinks.

Steven Kowalczuk
Various Locations
Art of Mixology
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

The Cocktail Chef Steven Kowalczuk is the force behind The Art of Mixology's three-hour hands-on cocktail courses that have become increasingly popular throughout the Pittsburgh area. For more than six years, Kowalczuk's Art of Mixology Educational Series has helped thousands learn the history, techniques and art behind his countless award-winning cocktail recipes. Many of his cocktails have appeared as featured concoctions in national publications such as InStyle magazine, National Restaurant News and Nightclub and Bar Magazine, helping to propel him to among the country's top 100 mixologists. In addition to his Art of Mixology classes, Kowalczuk also offers private in-home mixology parties for a variety of occasions.

Hot Buttered Rum

Hot Buttered Rum Batter


  • 1 lb. butter, at room temperature
  • 1 lb. brown sugar
  • 1 lb. sugar in the raw
  • 1.5 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 qt. vanilla ice cream (or your favorite), softened slightly


  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Plastic wrap
  • Large container with lid


Add all the ingredients except the ice cream to a bowl and stir to combine (use your hands if needed). Add the ice cream and stir again. Transfer to a container with a lid, seal and store in the freezer. Kowalczuk adds that you could also lay a long sheet of plastic wrap out on a table, pouring the mixture over the plastic in a long straight line and then roll the mixture into a long, 2" thick stick wrapped in plastic. Freeze to solid consistency for an easy-to-cut stick of hot buttered rum batter. Pull out and serve when the temp drops below 25 degrees. "As the legend goes, serve from first frost to the site of the first robin in spring," explains Kowalczuk. "Enjoy the whole season long!"

Hot Buttered Rum Cocktail


  • 1.5 oz. of your favorite rum
  • 1 tbsp. Hot Buttered Rum Batter,* frozen
  • Boiling water
  • Glass mug


Add the rum and batter to a mug. Fill with boiling water and stir. Serve with the spoon in the glass for frequent stirring. "It's said that the gentle sound of a hot beverage being stirred with a spoon is like comfort food for the ears," shares Kowalczuk.

Hot Toddy (Credit, Jessica Wasik)

Hot Apple Toddy


  • 1 cup of your favorite bourbon, whiskey or scotch
  • 15 oz. hot apple cider
  • 2.5 oz. lemon juice 
  • 2.5 oz. organic honey
  • Whole clove
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Ground nutmeg


Kowalczuk loves to make hot toddies in batches for sharing. For this drink, combine the cider, lemon juice, honey, 3 whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks and a pinch of nutmeg together in a small saucepan. Bring to a light boil and turn off the heat. Wait five minutes and add your favorite bourbon, whiskey or scotch to the mixture. Serve hot with an additional cinnamon stick for stirring or perhaps a few lemon slices. Cheers!

Related: Festive Cocktail Recipes

Screaming Russian (Credit, Jessica Wasik)

Screaming Russian (a.k.a. The Screaming Kowalczuk)


  • 6 oz. hot coffee
  • 1 oz. Jack Daniels
  • .5 oz. Kahlua
  • 1 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp. white granulated sugar
  • Ground cinnamon

Preparation of whipping cream:

Using a chilled mixing tin, add the heavy whipping, sugar and Grand Marnier. Top with a mixing glass and shake until the liquid becomes thicker but yet still runny enough to pour.


In a coffee glass, add the Jack Daniels, Kahlua and coffee and then stir. Top with a 1/4-inch thick layer of cream on top of the coffee. "Be sure not to pour too fast" advises Kowalczuk. "You want it to float on top of the drink." Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy hot!

Related: Best Holiday Drink Ideas From Pittsburgh Mixologists

Jessica Wasik is a graduate of Robert Morris University with a degree in English Studies. She is also a contributing writer for and Her work can be found at

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