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Hot Buttered Rum by Julian Short is a perfect cocktail for winter PICTURE: Samantha Slabbert

Winter cocktails? Are they a thing?

“Oh sure, they are. Seasonality is a big thing in the beverage world and I’m currently designing a number of cocktails that are suitable for winter. It’s all in the spirits that you use, drinks like whisky, brandy; spices like nutmeg and cinnamon and citrus flavouring.  

Those all bring out the warm feeling we want in our drinks this winter.” 

With a newfound appreciation for cocktails, there’s now a respectability afforded to mixologists, says SA’s best bartender, Julian Short.  

“I think people have finally realised that a lot goes into making their cocktail taste the way it does. It’s very technical, but for many of us it’s a pleasure to see our work being enjoyed.

There’s more creativity in the industry and I’m glad that patrons push us to make better cocktails because they are also now more educated about it. It makes us better.” 

His favourite spirit to use when making cocktails?

“Even though I think you need to be adaptable when you’re a bartender, I’m a huge tequila fan. There’s a misconception that tequila is only for shots- it’s not. There’s so much that can be done with tequila.” 

Hot Buttered Rum (Serves 2) 
 
This is one of my all-time favourite winter cocktails and is perfect for warming yourself, partner or friends up on a cold winters evening. 

50ml Ron Zacapa Rum 
30ml Hot water 
1/4 Tsp Butter 
10ml Honey 
a pinch of some winter spices including cardamom, anise, all spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and/or clove. 
 
Add all ingredients to a punch bowl, stir and serve.