Just Add Heat

Image Source: Poste Modern Brasserie

When most restaurants in the District are packing away their patio chairs and closing up shop until al fresco dining returns in the spring, Poste Modern Brasserie is building a winter wonderland. Their Winter Lounge—first launched in 2011—is both a convivial gathering place for friends and a cozy spot for canoodling couples.

“The inspiration for the Winter Lounge was to embrace all four seasons, encourage guests to venture outside during the chilly months, armed of course with plenty of heaters, fire pits and blankets,” explains lead bartender Justin Hampton. “As the years passed, we found other fun things to include, such as the complimentary s’mores, which have been a big hit.”

On a mild-for-December evening, my friend Etay and I grabbed a spot by a fire pit, got a little sticky from the aforementioned DIY s’mores, and warmed up with some steaming libations—which are perhaps the biggest draw on the patio.

Poste offers five cocktails outside, all priced at $13. Their take on Wassail combines Chivas Regal Blended Scotch and Hot Mulled Apple Cider; I preferred the herbal Hot Toddy, which mixes Jameson Caskmakes Irish Whiskey with tea-infused honey syrup and Angostura Bitters. Irish Coffee is topped with house made cinnamon whipped cream, and the popular S’Mores Hot Chocolate has a base of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, mixed with Thai chili-infused hot cocoa and graham cracker, with a bruleed marshmallow on top.

Recently, Poste added Atholl Brose for two to the menu ($26), a traditional Scottish specialty that combines Dalwhinnie Scotch, cream, honey and oatmeal brose. It takes three days to make, and despite the fact that it’s served cold, it’s meant for winter months.

“I consider the Lounge a winter respite from the city outside,” says Hampton. “[It’s] very much an urban campfire to enjoy with friends and loved ones.”
Simply put, it’s enticingly inviting, and as Etay put it, emits a “cool vibe.” As we sat in our Adirondack chairs, watched the stars peeking through the parting clouds and sipped cocktails in front of the crackling fire, it was all too easy to wish spring away.

Wassail (Hot Apple Cider)

Recipe courtesy of Poste Modern Brasserie

“Wassail originates from at least medieval times in southern England, when folks would go-a-wassailing (singing) and imbibe on hot mulled apple cider or other hot libations,” says Hampton. “To honor this traditional beverage and my own personal heritage I am using a light, honeyed, single malt scotch to complement the slight acidity and sweetness of the cider.”

  • 1 ½ oz. Dalwhinnie 15 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • 4 ½ oz. hot apple cider
  • Winter spices (clove, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg), to taste
  • Ginger
  • Orange peels
  • Cinnamon stick and half moon orange, for garnish

Pre-heat the apple cider with winter spices, ginger and orange peels. Strain off the solids, and store the liquid in a hot pot until needed. In a footed glass mug, combine the whisky and apple cider. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and half moon orange.

S’mores Cocktail

Recipe courtesy of Poste Modern Brasserie

  • 1 ½ oz. vodka
  • ¼ oz. white chocolate liqueur
  • ¾ oz. graham cracker cream
  • ¾ oz. graham cracker syrup

Chocolate sauce, graham cracker crumbles and marshmallow, for garnish
Add all the ingredients except the garnish to a shaker, add ice and shake vigorously. Rim a coupe glass with chocolate sauce, then rim again in graham cracker crumbles. Strain the contents of the shaker into the prepared glass. Skewer 2 marshmallows, lightly toast them and set skewer across rim of glass. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on top of the marshmallow.

Hot Toddy

Recipe courtesy of Poste Modern Brasserie

  • 1 ½ oz. Jameson Caskmates Irish Whiskey
  • 3 oz. hot water
  • ½ oz. tea-infused honey syrup
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • ¼ oz. lemon juice
  • Lemon wedge and 2 cloves, for garnish

In a footed glass cocktail mug, combine all ingredients except the garnish. Stir to incorporate, and garnish with a lemon wedge and clove.

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