Escape the polar vortex, sip on warm winter drinks

    Do you have the polar vortex blues? Have you been imagining yourself on a beach somewhere, sipping a Piña Colada?

    Since Philly doesn’t have the right ingredients for warmer weather, NewsWorks checked in with area bartenders and a barista on their favorite wintertime – and optionally spiked – drinks.

    Old-fashioned mulled wine

    At Café Nola in Headhouse Square, long-time bartender Richie Davis says a few sips of his “Old-Fashioned Mulled Wine” will “warm you to the bone.”

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    “It’s a tradition, we make it here every winter,” said Davis. “I simply take the ingredients and boil them in a pot on the stove.”

    The recipe includes red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as slices of apples and oranges. As it cooks, stir and spice the mixture with nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.

    “Don’t forget to add a little bit of love,” added Davis.

    Classic warm-ups: Tea, cider and cocoa

    A sweet addition to any Happy Hour is hot tea, cider or cocoa – “to keep you warm on a cold winter’s night,” says bartender Junior Flores of the Monkey Bar in Old City.

    “We serve them with or without alcohol,” said Flores. “People love our hot cider and spiced rum, hot toddies and hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps.”

    He also says patrons are buzzing about his “Warm Cinnamon Toast Crunch Martini.”

    To make the cocktail, Flores says mix a tasty combination of the following:

    – Two ounces of vanilla vodka

    – One ounce of cinnamon schnapps

    – On stove or in microwave, warm three ounces of milk or a cream liqueur

    – Sprinkle with cinnamon to serve

    Get your mojo going with mocha

    At Parc in Rittenhouse Square, barista Christopher Comstock says there’s a science to all the shaking and stirring that comes with his line of work.

    “I think of it as creating a liquid masterpiece,” said Comstock, a self-proclaimed caffeine fan.

    He recommends Parc’s “Mocha Hazelnut,” which has a homemade mocha hazelnut sauce, two shots of espresso, steamed cream and cocoa powder.

    “Café Vietnamese” is also popular at Parc. It’s a layered drink with sweet condensed milk and two shots of espresso topped with a thick layer of foam.

    “The drinks have to be pretty and on time,” said Comstock, who typically creates shapes, like leaves or hearts, out of foam, “it’s an art.”

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