"Hot Drinks," Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss

Pros: Delicious; adventurous; beautiful photos
Cons: Helps to have a well-stocked bar!
Rating: 5 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Ten Speed Press.

 

You don’t need to have a well-stocked bar in order to enjoy Hot Drinks, by Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss, but boy does it help!

Whether you’re looking for a delicious coffee or chocolate drink, a variation on the usual teas, a spiced punch, or some creative uses for spirits, you’ll find something in here to serve at your holiday parties. Every drink we tried from this book was wholly delicious, such as Winter Twilight, which includes pomegranate juice and Chambord. I wouldn’t particularly recommend this book for folks who don’t like alcohol, however, as many of the recipes, even those found outside of the obviously spirit-based chapter (“merry-making cocktails”) include a fair amount of alcohol.

Other chapters include chocolates and coffees, teas tonics and tisanes, welcome cups and party punches, and winter warmers and sweet dreamers. Thankfully since this isn’t a huge book it doesn’t spend much space on tried-and-true recipes; instead it dives straight into some nifty and unusual temptations. One of my favorites was ‘tres leches’—a concoction that includes banana, orange juice, the traditional three types of milk referred to in the title, and several other surprising ingredients. I was slightly dubious at the combination, but it was amazing! (And even more surprisingly, the leftovers survived refrigeration and were quite good cold.) Another amazing drink, called ‘toasted caramel,’ involves the sublime dulche de leche, as well as the wonderful combination of Frangelico and Amaretto.

The table of contents lists each drink by name, and the index allows you to search for drinks by ingredient.

The book is small and attractive, definitely a contender if you’re looking for a delicious little gift cookbook for someone. The photos are beautiful, the layout is clean and easy to use, and the recipes seem well-tested.

If you enjoy making unusual and delightful hot drinks come wintertime, this is a wonderful book to have on hand!

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