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Spring officially begins next week, but that doesn't mean it's time to put away your heavy jacket for the season. When the temperatures dip, and the skies cloud over, cocktail connoisseurs will experiment.

Jordan Salvas, a bartender at Murphy’s Pub & Grill, has a few go-to cold weather cocktails that he whips up at the bar. The first is a surprisingly cold drink called manzanita mule.

“This recipe is a variation of my favorite drink, the Moscow mule, and a margarita," Salvas said. "I love this drink because it evokes the sweet seasonal flavors of apple pie while maintaining the crisp refreshing sips of the original summer classics.

"The smoky biting flavor of mezcal adds a great warming flavor to the mule as well.”

Salvas said customers seem to value spicy, smoky flavors during cold weather — such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. “A touch of something sweet can keep your spirits high in the cold.”

Of course, warm drinks are perpetually popular in the often windy and chilly South Dakota weather.

“That's where mulled wine comes in,” Salvas said. “The dry, fruity flavors of the red wine and sweet, seasonal flavors — like star anise, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon — bring a luscious, drinkable and bright aroma to this warm classic.”

Patsy Parkin-Valandra, manager at Sun Inn Lounge at the Days Inn, is in her 50th year of bartending. She’s spent the past 20 years in Rapid City working at various restaurants and bars.

During the winter season, Parkin-Valandra said she serves up Baileys and hot chocolate to provide warmth on cold days. She also mixes hot chocolate and Peppermint Schnapps for her customers.

“Hot chocolate and Baileys is my personal favorite. It’s warm and soothing, and it has a nice smell. I’ve only had a few, mind you, but I like it,” she said, with a wink.

Parkin-Valandra said customers also ask for B & B (brandy and benedictine) and dram liqueur heated up during cold weather, because in the summer, it gets too warm to enjoy them heated.

So sit back, relax, and pour a seasonal cocktail before old man winter crowns his successor: sweet, savory spring.

DIY winter cocktails at home

Manzanita mule

1-1/4 ounces mezcal or a blanco tequila

1/2 ounce Grand Marnier

2 ounces apple cider

1/2 ounce agave sweetner/syrup

Dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Shake with ice and pour over fresh ice. Top off with a splash of ginger beer. Garnish with an apple and a cinnamon stick.

Red mulled wine

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1 bottle red wine (Yellowtail blend or malbec)

1/4 bottle brandy

1 cardamom pod

2 cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 star anise pod

Cook together for 1 hour on medium heat. It's important to not let the mixture boil. Serve and pour 5 ounces per drink. Garnish with cinnamon stick and optional star anise pod.

Recipes courtesy of Jordan Salvas, bartender at Murphy’s Pub & Grill.

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