Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, sending us into six more weeks of winter.
By JENEÉ OSTERHELDT
The Kansas City Star
Do I believe in the predicting powers of the groundhog? No. But look at our weather. Winters wrath is on a roll.
But dont let these temperature drops and random snowstorms bully you. Theres still fun to be had First Friday, The Monuments Men, Monster Jam and more go down this weekend. Get out of the house and into some fun.
A little winter warmer always helps me ease into the cold. Im talking about hot chocolate and coffee of the spiked variety. Happy hour doesnt have to be all martinis and cold cocktails; put a little heat in your system. You have options. (And call a cab, or a friend, if you have too many.)
Some of downtowns best hot drinks are at the Crossroads bar known for frosty beverages: Snow & Company, 1815 Wyandotte St. There are nearly a dozen to choose from, and most are $7.25. My favorite is the Flying Snow Squirrel: Trader Vics Macadamia Nut Liqueur, 360 Double Chocolate Vodka, white hot cocoa and fresh whipped cream. Its my favorite warm adult beverage, period.
But there are others worth checking out. Like Luck of the Chai-Rish, made with the Irishman Irish cream, Catdaddy spiced moonshine, hot chai and cinnamon. Think Big Red chewing gum.
And the Social Heart On is somewhere between a Thin Mint and an Andes Candies. Its hot chocolate, Boulaines Creme de Menthe, 360 Double Chocolate Vodka and Fee Brothers Mint Bitters served with whipped cream on top. The best part of the Social Heart On is that 10 percent of every purchase is donated to SocialHeart, a nonprofit dedicated to fundraising for local charities. SnowAndCompany.com
I went to McCormick & Schmicks, 448 W. 47th St., to get an Irish Coffee. The Plaza restaurant has a tempting list of adult coffees like Spiked Mocha and Millionaire Coffee, but when I saw the Hot Apple Pie on the drink menu, I couldnt resist. When it comes to apple drinks, Im more of the Martinellis apple juice kind of gal, but I love apple pie.
The drink, a spiced apple cider spiked with Tuaca Vanilla Citrus Liqueur, is $9 of delicious. Its comfort food in a glass. Theres something so buttery and sweet about it, just like apple pie. I was tempted to order a scoop of vanilla ice cream despite the cold season. mccormickandschmicks.com.
Theres only one warm drink at the Jacobson, 2050 Central St. And since Im a fan of the restaurants cold craft cocktails, I had to give it a try. Jacobsons Hot Toddy ($10) is rye whiskey infused with cinnamon, dried cherries and cloves poured over fresh orange tea. Hot toddies are known as the adult cure for a cold, and the Jacobsons version tastes a little like Theraflu, but better. Its a citrus-licious remedy to chase the winter blues away.
Its on the happy hour menu, so if youre out on First Friday and looking for a winter warmer, Id get there between 3 and 6 p.m., when you can try it for $5. TheJacobsonKC.com
Beat em or join em
At the Brick, 1727 McGee St., theres a storm brewing in the form of the Blizzard ($6.50). Dont be fooled by its sweet appearance. It might look like hot chocolate, with its perfectly whipped cream and cute sprinkles, but this is not a drink for lightweights. A mix of Jameson, hazelnut liquor, Irish Cream and Oddly Correct coffee, its a knockout.
Luckily, we had the Hot Mama, too. Shes a soothing ginger tea, with lemon juice and Kraken Dark spiced rum. This is a feel-good drink, a true toddy and only $6.50. If I had a sore throat or found myself in the throes of a crappy day, Id come to Hot Mama. TheBrickKCMO.com
Sake may be an acquired taste. My taste buds just arent refined enough for rice wine. To me, it tastes like boiled nail polish remover. My friends love the sake at Nara and Drunken Fish. I just dont like it. What I cant debate is how easily it warms the chest. One shot is like an instant heater. If youre cold and like to drink, just add sake.
At Bo Lings in Zona Rosa, I tried the house sake, $8 a carafe. Twice to be sure. Our waiter insisted after a few shots its good. The hubby says its like a hot Malbec. Ill take his word for it because the taste never grew on me. But at least I felt cozy. Sake is like a warm blanket. BoLings.com