It’s that time of year when the scents of cinnamon and spice and other things nice waft from stovetops and coffee mugs, seducing us to sit down and sip away. This season, we asked barristas, bartenders and bistro owners all over northern Michigan for their very best hot-drink recipes so we can make them at home. Here are their divine concoctions with some sweet memories sprinkled on top.
Crescent Bakery’s Hot Mulled Cider
“Making this cider is mental preparation for the holidays,” says Jason Gollan, co-owner, with his wife Linda, of Frankfort’s Crescent Bakery. They get their fresh cider from Walton’s on M-115 in town.
Curly’s Up North Bar and Grill’s Eggnog
Bartender Shannon Boven created this as an homage to Christmases around her grandmother’s fireplace on Lake Sapphire in Lake City. “This is an adult way to spice up your holidays,” Boven says.
Woolly Bugger’s Lake Effect
Darrell and Kathi Lavender’s trademarked drink is named after the blizzards they “enjoy” on the shore of Lake Michigan. “This will comfort you through the winter doldrums,” says Darrell, who named his coffeehouse and Internet café after a streamer fly used in fly fishing.
Inn the Woods’ Woolly Mitten
Jeff Schneider, food and beverage manager of this Michaywé restaurant, says this is a great coffee drink for after cross-country skiing. “It will warm your hands and your heart,” he says.
Stuart Merchant, bartender/manager, says this drink tastes just like the cookies his mom, Jan Mang, made at every holiday in Indian River.
Osorio’s Mexican Hot Chocolate
Miguel Osorio, owner of Osorio el Mexicano and Taqueria Margarita, brings this recipe from Yosondua, Oaxaca, Mexico, where he grew up with his eight brothers and sisters. As a holiday treat, his widowed mother, Albertha, made hot chocolate and served it with pan de yema—bread made with extra eggs.
Dress Up Your Drinks
It doesn’t take much to make hot holiday drinks look festive. Try these: Cinnamon and peppermint sticks, dark and white chocolate shavings, multicolored or silver and gold sprinkles, fresh whipped cream, tiny marshmallows, dark-chocolate-covered orange rinds, and of course, cherries.