MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Jackets, blankets, roaring fires; they are all perfectly good ways to keep warm this time of year. But sometimes you need some internal warmth.
That is why we set out to find the best hot cocktail in Minnesota.
We actually found two of them in St. Paul at one of the Twin Cities’ most iconic restaurants. In fact, they’ve been serving warm drinks for 41 years.
What was once William A Frost’s pharmacy has been a beloved restaurant and watering hole since 1975.
Aric Okerman is a bartender at W.A. Frost on St. Paul’s Cathedral Hill.
“We want to be able to have an alcoholic beverage that is also warm, something that you could substitute for a hot chocolate or something,” Okerman said.
And in a state known for its aggressive Decembers, we are told their hot cocktails are spot on.
Their wassail is made ahead and its flavors are set. It is their version of the English classic, made with all-spice, cinnamon, triple sec and brandy.
Okerman says this sassy version of cider gives you “warm cheeks.” He uses the same steaming technique on the house-made mulled red wine, with cranberry juice, sugar and bitters.
He says making these cocktails is not just about finding the right flavor and the right smell — you also have to find the right temperature.
We found some local beer buffs in for lunch and asked them to test out the warm waters and confirm this top title. Patrick Foss and Breanna Evans are from Excelsior Brewing, and beer distributor Hanszee Lofgren of Original Gravity tasted the drinks for us.
“I think with the hot alcohol, being warm, that kind of helps it go down easier,” Breanna Evans said.
This is Foss’ first wassail, and he says it tastes like Christmas.
“That’s a great winter warmer,” Foss said.
Lofgren is also a fan.
“This is so good that I think even Matt Brickman would enjoy this!” Lofgren said. “Cheers, Matt!”
It is a holiday treat with just the right amount of heat.