3 Winter Cocktails That Will Make You Forget It's Snowing Outside

Winter cocktails from the editors of PUNCH

Photo: Lizzie Munro

We may be veering on blasphemous, but we must confess: We've had one too many mugfuls of mulled wine this season. Don't get us wrong, we love a good warm seasonal beverage, but now that winter is on the horizon, we're looking for a fresh crop of cocktails to get us through to spring. Enter winterized versions of our favorite warm-weather drinks. (Yes, ice included.)

Because we're of the mindset that ice in a glass is always preferable to ice on the ground, we tapped the editors of PUNCH, a James Beard Award-winning online magazine, for a selection of winter cocktails so bright that they'll make us forget it's snowing outside. From a wintery take on a classic summer spritz to a cold-weather variation on a tropical piña colada, these delectable drinks are a vacation in a glass.

Keep scrolling for your new go-to cocktails to sip at the next happy hour.

Sanguinello Spritz

Sanguinello Spritz
Photo: Lizzie Munro

The spritz—the bitter, bubbly, low-alcohol icon of Italian aperitivo culture—is a perfect candidate for riffing and experimentation. This wintry adaptation wrangles the holiday season with the addition of in-season blood orange, spicy Barolo Chinato (a lightly bitter aromatized wine), and vanilla syrup for a spritz with enough stuffing to stand up to the season. 

Ingredients:

1 oz. Cocchi Barolo Chinato
1 oz. freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1/2 oz. Campari
1/2 oz. vanilla syrup (recipe below)
Prosecco, to top
Blood orange half-wheel (garnish)

Directions for the spritz:

Combine the Barolo Chinato, orange juice, Campari, and vanilla syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain over ice into a stemless cocktail glass (one of the many types of glasses to have on-hand) and top with Prosecco. Garnish with a blood orange half-wheel. 

Ingredients for the vanilla syrup:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean

Directions for the vanilla syrup:

Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until the mixture boils. Reduce to simmer and stir continuously as the mixture thickens slightly. After about eight minutes, remove the mixture from heat and stir in the vanilla. Allow it to cool.

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Piña Colada Milk Punch

Piña Colada Milk Punch
Photo: Lizzie Munro

The piña colada so singularly symbolizes summer that it seems an almost impossible feat to make it winter-appropriate. Almost. This punch maintains the drink's tropical essence but transforms it by adding comforting scalded milk. The best part? This recipe serves eight, making it the perfect drink to whip up for your holiday party.

Ingredients:

14 oz. aged rum
8 oz. coconut water
4 oz. velvet falernum
4 oz. pineapple juice
3 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 oz. demerara syrup (recipe below)
6 oz. whole milk
Freshly grated nutmeg (garnish)

If you're serving a cocktail in a shorter glass, opt for one large ice cube rather than several smaller ones. The latter melt faster, causing your drink to become diluted quickly. A large ice cube will take much longer to melt, giving you more time to enjoy your libation.

Directions for the punch:

Pour the rum, coconut water, velvet falernum, pineapple juice, lime juice, and demerara syrup into a heat-safe mixing bowl. Over a medium-low flame on the stove, heat the milk in a saucepan, stirring continuously until the milk begins to bubble around the edges (taking care not to let it boil). Add the milk to the mixing bowl, stir until it begins to coagulate, and let the mixture sit for 15 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth or coffee filter until the mixture is clarified. Ladle into cups over ice and garnish with grated nutmeg. 

Ingredients for the simple syrup:

1 cup cane sugar
1 cup water

Directions for the simple syrup:

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 month. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

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Winter Pimm's Cup

Winter Pimm's Cup
Photo: Lizzie Munro

While there is no official category for ostentatiously garnished classics, we refer to them as "chain-reaction drinks." One hits the bar and, soon, everyone's drinking one. The Pimm's Cup—a simple mix of Pimm's No. 1 liqueur and ginger ale—is one of those drinks. Here, we replace ginger ale with American lager and then garnish the glass with a bounty of fresh winter herbs, apples, and cranberries for a head-turning holiday take on the classic summertime cooler. 

Ingredients:

1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
3/4 oz. simple syrup (recipe below)
2 oz. Pimm's No. 1
3/4 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
American lager, to top
Seasonal fruit and herbs (garnish)

Directions:

Combine the ginger and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and use a muddler to lightly crush the ginger. Add the Pimm's and lemon juice. Add ice, shake, strain over ice into a tall Collins glass, and top with lager. Garnish with seasonal fruit and herbs. 

Ingredients for the simple syrup:

1 cup cane sugar
1 cup water

Directions for the simple syrup:

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 month. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

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vegetable peeler
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Reprinted with permission from Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails by the Editors of PUNCH, copyright © 2018. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photography by Lizzie Munro © 2018.

The Editors of Punch Winter Drinks
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