The Cliff House in San Francisco is situated on a blustery lookout over the Pacific Ocean. After winter hiking the damp and windy trails and staring at the surf, it was always a joy to go into their bar, with its floor to ceiling windows of the ocean view, warm up and indulge in what they then served as a Hot Nut. When we first arrived, a clever group of girls from Boston, we’d giggle and wink and have a lovely time with the San Francisco waiters who were SO safe to flirt with “Do you have hot nuts” “Can we have a couple of your hot nuts” – you get the drift – given their livelihood was tips and not the originality of their patrons – the waiters winked, flirted and added to the grand ol time. Very fun memories of a warm, mild drink.
Checking the web, there are many versions of what folks are calling a Hot Nut – some add Hot Cocoa, some Coffee, some Cherry Brandy, many Frangelica. Some (gasp) do not even add Amaretto. This particular version is about as gentle as you can get while being pleasantly sweet, warm and toasty. I do not know if it is what the Cliff House would serve today given that all the “expert” sites out there add so much more to the drink. Here’s what we recalled from waiter queries and adopted. Thinking this may need its own name – suggestions welcome.
Quite simply, for a mug pour in 2 oz Amaretto, 8 oz Boiling Water, float Softly Whipped Cream on top then finish with freshly Grated Nutmeg. For an espresso cup, simply reduce to one part liqueur to 4 parts hot water. Some folks love SWEET and can go up to ½ hot water, ½ liqueur. For more of a teetotallerone ounce liqueur to ~ 7 ounces boiling water to fill a tea cup also works. The one to 4 ratio is a safe starting place.
Complete aside, an electric kettle simplifies making and serving so many hot toddy style drinks (in addition to its other uses).
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