This delicious and warm cocktail is pretty simple to make. With the flavors of rye whiskey and caramel sauce, it's the perfect drink for a chilly afternoon! You can assemble it right in the glass, and the optional cocoa is a nice touch.
With the hot water warming it up, this drink is nice to have on a cool fall or winter day. It's amazing after coming in from the chilly weather. (Of course, you could always serve it cold, but it's just not as good in my opinion!)
You can use store bought caramel syrup, but I highly recommend using my Caramel Syrup recipe to make your own. It's so easy to make, and all you need is sugar and water! If you like this recipe, another warm cocktail to try is this Hot Apple Cider and Rum cocktail. They are both so comforting to drink and perfect as the days start to get shorter.
All you need to make this drink are the following ingredients (see recipe below for amounts):
- Caramel Syrup
- Rye Whiskey
- Chocolate Bitters
- Hot Water
- Cocoa Powder
This Whiskey Caramel cocktail could not be easier to make. First, though, you'll want to make sure you have the right size cocktail glass. I used this 5 ounce glass mug, which was the perfect size. (You can measure your glass volume by filling it with water and pouring the water into a measuring cup.)
Using a jigger or small measuring cup, measure and pour the caramel syrup, rye whiskey, and chocolate bitters into the cocktail glass. Then, add the hot water and give it a quick stir.
You can serve it immediately, or add a sprinkling of cocoa powder to the top. The cocoa powder will start to sink, so I recommend giving it another stir. This will give the drink a slightly darker brown color and slight cocoa flavor.
The amount of water you add is a personal preference! I like to add about an ounce, but you can try out different amounts and see what you like.
Hint: Although I think it's just fine without a garnish, you couldn't go wrong by adding a cinnamon stick or a star anise for some festive holiday flair.
In order to make this drink sugar-free, you would need to use a sugar-free caramel syrup. I've outlined how to make a sugar-free or a Paleo diet syrup in my Caramel Syrup blog post.
To make this drink alcohol-free, you can directly substitute the rye whiskey for a whiskey replacement, such as Monday Whiskey or Ritual whiskey alternative. If you do, I suggest adding about only half of the hot water, or add slightly more of the whiskey alternative. You may need to heat the drink in the microwave if it is not hot enough.
If you don't have whiskey on hand, seriously go get some!!! Ok, ok, you can substitute the whiskey for a dark rum.
I really love the chocolate bitters, but any kind of bitters will go well here. Cardamom bitters, ginger bitters or orange bitters would work perfectly.
There are so many ways you could vary this cocktail and make it your own! Here are just a few:
- Vary the Caramel Syrup - check out my Caramel Syrup recipe for some ideas on how to change up the syrup flavor, while still keeping the caramel main flavor. My favorite is adding vanilla!
- Use a different kind of whiskey - this is a great drink to try out different whiskeys, since it is the main ingredient. Bourbon goes particularly well with its sweet notes.
- Add tea or coffee instead of hot water - you can layer on the flavor instead of just making it hot.
- Sugar rim - if you want to get really fancy, you can use the caramel syrup to coat the glass rim, and then dip it in sparkling sugar.
All you'll need are a jigger or a small measuring cup, cocktail glasses and a cocktail spoon.
I also recommend an electric kettle, because I have an unhealthy obsession with mine, but a saucepan to heat the water is just fine too!
Top tip - Batching
This is a great cocktail for batching. You can assemble everything ahead of time in a pitcher except for the hot water and cocoa. Just pour 2¼ ounces of the mixture into each serving mug, and top each one off with hot water and cocoa.
A final note: don't be afraid to adjust the amounts in this cocktail. It's simple, which means that adjusting amounts here and there will have a big impact.
Warm Cocktail - Whiskey and Caramel
- Cocktail serving glass
- Cocktail spoon or small spoon
- Electric kettle or saucepan to heat water
- Small sieve to dust the cocoa powder (optional)
- 1½ ounces rye whiskey
- ¾ ounces caramel syrup
- 2 dashes chocolate bitters
- 1 ounces water You will need to heat more than just 1 oz in a saucepan or in the kettle. Just measure it after it boils or pour it in little by little
- cocoa powder optional
- Add some water to your kettle or saucepan and let it come to a boil while you make the rest of the drink. (Fill to the minimum fill line if there is one.)
- Measure and add caramel syrup, rye whiskey and chocolate bitters to the cocktail serving glass.
- Add one ounce of the now-boiling water to the glass. You can measure in a heatproof measuring cup if you like.
- If you are using cocoa, use the mini sieve (sifter) to sprinkle it onto the top of the cocktail.
- Give the cocktail a quick stir so the cocoa powder will mix into the drink.
- Serve immediately.