Warm Up This Winter with The Fort’s Historic Cocktails

Winter has arrived in Colorado and is here to stay for a while. With forecasts below freezing and snow storms in the near future, keep cozy by enjoying some of our favorite warm cocktails.

Trader’s Whiskey

By the time quality whiskey made its way west in the 1860s, the American Indians resisted it and instead preferred the flavor of the liquor they had become accustomed to. When whiskey was brought to be traded at the camps, the chief would sample the contents of each barrel to be sure that the spirit was worth the furs being traded.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. cut tobacco
  • 4 small dried red peppers, such as piquines
  • 1 liter Old Crow (or similar bourbon whiskey)
  • ½ tsp. old-fashioned black gunpowder (do not use modern, high-speed powder; it is poisonous)

Make a tea by boiling the water, tobacco and red peppers together for 5 minutes. Strain and add the tea to the whiskey, little by little, to taste. Add the gunpowder and enjoy.


Hot Buttered Rum

Ever since the colonial days of America, hot rum has been a drink of choice, especially during the chilly holiday seasons. In the words of Samuel P. Arnold, “nothing beats hot buttered rum on a bitter cold day.”

What you’ll need:

  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 rounded tsp. hot buttered rum batter
  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 pat of butter

Pour the water in a bar mug and bring to a boil in the microwave. Stir in the batter and rum. Garnish with the cinnamon stick and top with butter.


Bear Hunter’s Tea

Have the low temperatures gotten the best of your immune system this season? This hot toddy combines honey liqueur and black tea to help relieve your winter cold.

What you’ll need:

  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 bag orange pekoe tea or other black tea
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 ½ tsp. Barenjager honey liqueur
  • Lemon slice, for garnish

Bring water to a boil in the microwave or teakettle. Steep the tea in the water for 2-3 minutes. Remove the tea bag and stir the Barenjager into the tea. Garnish with the lemon slice.


Yard of Flannel

This holiday libation tends to be an acquired taste, but once you acquire it, you are sure to love it. It combines the hoppy taste of beer with the warmth of rum-based eggnog. Yard of Flannel was the drink of choice among coachmen, outrides and wagooners in the old west. This drink is guaranteed to warm you up on a snowy evening.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 quart good ale
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 4 oz. Jamaican dark rum
  • Grated nutmeg, for sprinkling

Heat the ale in a saucepan. In a blender, beat the eggs with sugar. Add the ginger and rum. Blend well. When the ale is almost boiling, slowly combine the two mixtures, pouring the hot ale into the egg mixture. Blend well to prevent curdling. Alternate pouring a bit of each mixture back and forth between the saucepan and the blender until the drink is silky. Serve in a large glass and sprinkle with nutmeg.


Cherry Bounce

 Cherry bounce stems from the early American “shrubs” – a combination of fruit and brandy or rum. When made properly, the bounce resembles a delicious syrupy liqueur that is full of history.

What you’ll need:

  • 5 pints dark cherries
  • 1 quart dark rum or cognac
  • 1 lb. brown sugar

Grind the cherries through a meat grinder, seeds and all. Transfer the ground cherries to a bottle holding the rum or cognac. Cap the bottle and set aside at room temperature for at least a week.

Strain the liquor through cheesecloth into a bowl. Stir the sugar into it and once the sugar dissolves, pour the bounce into a jug. Cork the jug and set aside for 2 weeks before serving.

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