Recipes for the Best Winter Cocktails

Recipes for the Best Winter Cocktails

Photo Credit: Nadianb /

Cheers! Sliante! Prost! Salute! L’Chaim!

Winter is upon us, and with it comes the promise of parties and get-togethers. Seasonal flavors don the grocery store aisles and farmer’s market stalls, finding their way into our cooking. But, how about our drinks? Flavors like cinnamon, clove, chocolate, peppermint and apple don’t have to just be dessert; you can drink them too. So, shake off that winter chill and celebrate the season with one of these winter cocktails in hand.

Seasonal Rum Punch

Rum punch is traditionally a citrusy drink that conjures up images of the Caribbean. However, citrus isn’t exactly easy to come by in the wintertime unless you live near the Equator.

A fun, festive spin on rum punch is called Christmas Rum Punch, which is a hot version with seasonal flavorings. Pomanders are created with oranges and cloves and baked until soft in the oven. Then you pour rum and sugar over them, setting fire to the rum before adding apple cider, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir and serve piping hot.

Keep It Simple With Irish Coffee

It’s no secret the Irish love their booze, so is it any wonder they’d spike their coffee too? An Irish Coffee is exactly what you think it is: coffee and whiskey.

The drink is mixed into a preheated glass mug with sugar stirred in and whipped cream on top. Drinking songs are optional, but with all that caffeine in your system, you’ll at least want to dance your troubles away.

Exotic Mulled White Sangria

If you’re looking for something a little spicier and exotic, Mulled White Sangria might be just what you need. Instead of fruits like peaches or oranges, this recipe calls for apple, pear and kumquats.

A boiled mixture of lemon, cinnamon, star anise and cloves form the base for the sangria, which is then added to the white wine and heated further. Perfect for a sophisticated get together with close friends.

Festive Winter Punch

Punch is always a big hit at holiday parties, especially if it’s festively colored. Pomegranate Champagne Punch is a brilliant red cocktail that’s as sweet as it is pretty.

Pomegranate juice and pear nectar are combined with Grand Marnier and champagne for this fruity mixture. Best chilled and served over ice to really bring out the flavors.

Add Cranberries to Your Martini

Cranberries are one of the few winter foods that you may find on your dinner table as well as in your drink. Try this Winter Cranberry Martini for a tart take on a classic gin martini.

The recipe calls for cranberry-infused simple syrup, which you can easily make at home by boiling cranberries with sugar and water. Then you take the syrup, vermouth, and gin and add them to a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake and pour into a chilled martini glass with cranberry and rosemary garnish on top.

Hot Chocolate for Grown-Ups

Chances are you’re going to have hot chocolate at least once this winter. While the kids might be satisfied with Swiss Miss or other boxed mixes, there’s no reason why you can’t have a more decadent, adults-only version.

How about a scratch-made Kahlua Hot Chocolate? Boil some milk, sugar and cocoa powder with some spices like cinnamon or nutmeg to taste. Stir in the Kahlua liqueur and top with marshmallows and flavored syrups like salted caramel or chocolate.

Take the Edge off With a Hot Toddy

If you start feeling under the weather over the holidays, you might get that family member or two who mentions a hot toddy remedy. This Zacapa Hot Toddy recipe is sure to take the edge off and knock out any cold or flu virus that may be lurking.

In a cocktail shaker, add Zacapa rum, clover honey, and fresh lemon juice. Shake together and pour into a mug of boiling water. Stir and sip slowly, letting the steam enter your nose and warm you from the inside out.

Keep It Dandy With a Shandy

Unlike most of the other cocktails mentioned this one uses beer rather than liquor. The Dandy Shandy is a British pub favorite that’ll warm you with just its alcohol and spiciness.

It’s also so easy you can even make it when you’re already tipsy. Just pour half a dark stout or porter beer into an 8 oz. glass and add in some ginger ale. No need to mix, just serve and drink up!

Revisit a Christmas Favorite

If you’re missing the joy of Christmas already, you’re going to want to try the Candy Cane Cocktail. Originated on the Martha Stewart Show, an unlikely pairing of strawberry vodka, crème de menthe, and cranberry juice makes up this merry little cocktail.

For extra fabulousness, crush up some candy canes and coat the rim of your martini glass like you would salt for a margarita.