Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. Western News file photo

Okanagan Taste: Hot drinks for the cold season

It seemed appropriate, as I reach for a tissue, to come up with hot drinks for the cold season

It’s time to admit it: cold and flu season is here, and the comments online from those in my network who have already picked up a bug indicate that once you get the sniffles, they will plague you for a while.

Weeks, in fact. And with snow in the forecast, it seemed appropriate, as I reach for a tissue, to come up with hot drinks. Because eventually, you might get bored of tea.

Last year I discovered the hot gin and tonic: the trick is using tonic syrup. An ounce and half, equal parts gin (more or less), top with hot water and a cinnamon stick. Throw in a lemon slice for vitamin C, or your favourite citrus or berry flavour. Pure raspberry juice is nice (not the sugary stuff).

By accident, I recently enjoyed hot coffee with a cherry cough drop. Not necessarily a recommendation (though it was immensely comforting), but on a recent trip abroad I frequently added liqueur to my evening espresso when I needed late in the day caffeine. Cherry liqueur or Kirsch are go to additions for coffee. There’s always Baileys or Kahlua too, but if you’re taking a mocha from the coffee shop home to your better half to make her or him feel better, Amaretto is a delight as well.

Nice, warm apple ciders – with or without alcohol — have the added bonus of the health benefits of the fruit. Choose a non-boozy version and mix up six cups with a quarter cup of maple syrup, some cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice…all the things you might put in an apple pie. Top with whipped cream or even clotted cream, a drizzle of caramel syrup, and you’ve got apple pie in a glass.

Alchocolates: the combo of hot chocolate and a libation, or combo of libations. Don’t be stingy with the whipped cream on top of good hot chocolate with a shot of peppermint schnapps, Frangelico, brandy, or if you dare, a shot of Fireball whisky.

And, of course, there is tea. Earl Grey and bourbon is something to experiment with this year, as play on the traditional hot toddy. Chai tea spiked with your favourite cream-based libation. Good old black tea and limoncello with a bit of honey and slice of lemon, and you’ll feel better soon. Just make sure with any of these drinks, you’re already planning to take tomorrow off to rest.

Save the Date – click the links for more information

Mondays through Thursdays through Dec. 1, West Kelowna: Quail’s Gate has $5 Happy Hour at the Old Vines Restaurant. Live music on Mondays.

Fridays till Dec. 1, Okanagan Falls: Enjoy a three-course dinner at Liquidity Bistro with wine pairings.

Nov. 9, Penticton: Head to the Penticton Public Library for the second presentation in a speaker’s series examining the wine industry, Collaboration and Understanding in a Successful Wine Cluster.

Nov. 18, Penticton: The 10th annual BC VQA Wine Info Centre open house takes place with guest wineries, local art, door prizes and more.

Nov. 18 and 19, Okanagan Falls: Wineries host their annual open house weekend with gift ideas, food pairings, and wine samples.

Nov. 18 and 19, Okanagan Falls: Visit Blue Mountain for the Sparkling and Fire Weekend, reserve a spot for a sparkling wine tasting, enjoy live music and more.

Nov. 18, 25 and 26, Summerland: The 23 wineries of Bottleneck Drive in Summerland host the 7th annual Light Up the Vines. Wineries, breweries and cideries participate.

Nov. 25, Oliver: Be Merry Eat and Drink at the Frank Venables Theatre as a kick off to the Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country Festival of Trees.

Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. She can be reached at and on Twitter @OkanaganTaste.

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