By Amy L. Schubert Food Writer Published Oct 18, 2006 at 8:20 AM
The first snow fall caught me off guard last night after a weekend of lovely 70s, and while I’ve lived in Wisconsin long enough to know better, I still yearn for some quick sign so I know to say goodbye to summer and really relish the last warm, sunny day before fall hits us with temperatures in the 20s.

The change of season makes me crave tea, and hot chocolate, all of which I find to be much better in the evenings with a hint of something intoxicant to help warm me from the inside out. Back in my bartending days, my friend and co-worker Julie swore by the medicinal purposes of brandy or whiskey to help stave off the nefarious season-changing colds which usually hit me twice a year, from winter to spring, and again from summer to fall. Hot toddies usually did (and do) do the trick, either because the warm mixed drink helps me nod off a little quicker or maybe it is purely psychosomatic, but either way, we make them at home when we are feeling under the weather.

To make a hot toddy, start with a base of brandy, whisky or rum, combine it with a hot liquid of your choice, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cider; whatever you like, and add a sweetener like honey or sugar. These lovely warm drinks truly showcase the duplicitous nature of alcohol, in light moderation, they can serve as tonics to cure ailments, in a bit more than moderation, something to make you potently silly on a cold fall or winter night. I have included some of my favorites here, if you don’t want to use them to try to cure a flu (tonic), they also do wonderful double duty as a hayride beverage or an after dinner drink with dessert (potion).

Julie’s Hot Toddy
1 oz. brandy
1 cup hot tea (I prefer Korean Ginseng, but chamomile, Earl Gray, or any other tea will do just fine)
1 tsp. honey
1 lemon slice

Prepare the tea and stir in the brandy and honey. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

Marian Kelly’s Irish Coffee

1 oz. Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 cup hot coffee
1 tsp. pure maple syrup
2 tbsp. whipped cream

Prepare the coffee and stir in the whiskey and maple syrup. Add 2 tablespoons of whipped cream.

New Year’s Day Spiked Apple Cider
1 gallon apple cider
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp. cloves
1 whole orange, cut into eighths
Myer’s Rum

In a large pot, combine cider, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and oranges, warm over medium to low heat until cider is hot. Pour 1 _ ounces of Myer’s Rum in a coffee mug and pour the cider over the top; garnish with an orange slice.

Amy L. Schubert is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry and has worked in every aspect of bar and restaurant operations. A graduate of Marquette University (B.A.-Writing Intensive English, 1997) and UW-Milwaukee (M.A.-Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing, 2001), Amy still occasionally moonlights as a guest bartender and she mixes a mean martini.

The restaurant business seems to be in Amy’s blood, and she prides herself in researching and experimenting with culinary combinations and cooking techniques in her own kitchen as well as in friends’ restaurants. Both she and her husband, Scott, are avid cooks and “wine heads,” and love to entertain friends, family and neighbors as frequently as possible.

Amy and Scott live with their boys, Alex and Nick, in Bay View, where they are all very active in the community. Amy finds great pleasure in sharing her knowledge and passions for food and writing in her contributions to