Hye Thyme Cafe: Winter Cocktails - by Maria Del Mar Sacasa and Tara Striano

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Winter Cocktails - by Maria Del Mar Sacasa and Tara Striano

Whether you're looking to ward off a winter chill or bump up your holiday menu, this offering by María del Mar Sarcasa and Tara Striano of Cookin' and Shootin' (María does the cookin' and Tara does the shootin') is sure to please.  In addition to cocktails, they provide recipes for a variety of noshing options for every occasion.

The book opens with a section on Pantry and Fridge Basics that can be used in cocktails; everything from apple cider and tonic water to dried edible flowers and bacon.  It then moves on to The Well-Stocked Bar to provide information about various liquors; how they're made, what they're used for, etc.  This section is followed by A Guide to Tools and Serverware, Know Your Glassware, Ice Molds, Muddling, Flavored Rims, Caramel, Opening Champagne, Citrus Garnishes, and Granita - all in anticipation of the goodies to come.

The chapters are broken out as follows:

  • Hot Toddies and Mulled Drinks
  • Eggnog, Hot Chocolate, Coffee, and Tea
  • Punches and Pitchers
  • Chilled Winter Cocktails
  • Underpinnings, Infused Liquors, Simple Syrups, etc.
  • Small Bites

My sister started the tradition of adding a cocktail to our holiday menu, whether it be mulled cider, something cranberry, or last year's Prosecco pear cocktail.  I think I found this year's addition in Winter Cocktails ... the Nutella Melt!  Doesn't that sound warm and inviting?  And my nephews are nuts for Nutella (no pun intended).


Nutella Melt (As written in Winter Cocktails)
4 cups whole milk
1/4 ccup Nutella
Pinch salt
6 ounces hazelnut liqueur, such as Frangelico
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped, for garnish
Toasted coconut flakes, for garnish

Bring milk, Nutella, and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until Nutella is completely dissolved.  Stir in liqueur.  Turn off the heat but leave the pot on the stove while you whip the cream.

Using an electric mixer, beat cream, confectioners' sugar, and espresso powder on medium speed in a large, chilled bowl until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.  (Alternatively, beat by hand using a large wire whisk.) Ladle drink into warm cups and top with whipped cream.  Sprinkle with hazelnuts and coconut.


You'll have to pick up your own copy of the book to read the tips about toasting the coconut flakes and skinning the hazelnuts. ;)

The recipes are beautifully photographed, many with step-by-step instructions.  Between the covers of this 160 page book, you'll find such tasty treats as:

  • Burnt-Sugar Hot Buttered Rum
  • Eve's Addiction
  • Pumpkin-Bourbon Eggnog
  • 1,001 Nights
  • Bloody Good Punch
  • Affogato Speciale

On the munchies side of things, your options include goodies like:

  • Homemade Marshmallows
  • Candied Bacon
  • Orange, Cardamom, and Pistachio Mexican Wedding Cakes
  • Cheese Crusted Olives
  • Roasted Marrow Bones

OK, I could do without the Marrow Bones, but everything else is pretty droolworthy, including the Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches.

This is definitely party season, so it's time to pick up a copy and get your cocktail on!  While you're at it, pick up a few as Christmas gifts too!

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As always, a big thanks for Quirk Books for the review copy.  To pick up a copy for yourself - or  for your favorite mixologist - check out ... 


  1. Have you tried the drink? I don't know, nutella in my drink sounds weird, even though I've heard you can make a pretty goot Baileys-imitation with Nutella, cream, and vodka ;-)

    1. Not yet, but if you can make hot chocolate (not to be confused with cocoa), you can certainly do with a little Nutella. Interesting about the Bailys copy-cat. Personally, I like a Disaronno with orange juice on occasion - tastes like a Tootsie Roll. :)


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