When Old Man Winter rolls around, it's all too easy to get caught up in the melancholy chill of the season. But despite the snow, ice, and other seasonal maladies, having a great winter cocktail by your side (or more appropriately, in your hand), could get you excited about even the frostiest of seasons.
Thankfully, winter brings with it a medley of seasonal cocktails. There are winter-y takes on year-round classics like the margarita and Moscow Mule. Or, you can indulge in a seasonal favorite like the Hot Toddy. No matter your preference, the winter cocktails ahead provide a little something for everyone.
Poinsettia (Cranberry Champagne Cocktail)
The Recipe: Poinsettia (Cranberry Champagne Cocktail)
The Hero Ingredient: Cointreau adds a welcome touch of citrus-sweet flavor to help tame the bubbles in this sip.
Pro Tip: A Couple Cooks share this tip for those hoping to create a big batch version of this cocktail: "You can also make a large batch of cointreau and cranberry juice ahead if desired, then measure out 6 tablespoons per glass."
Why We Love It: If you think champagne cocktails are only reserved for the warmer months, think again. This bubbly libation easily becomes winter-friendly with the addition of a seasonal ingredient like cranberries.
Winter Bourbon Cider Cocktail
The Recipe: Winter Bourbon Cider Cocktail
The Hero Ingredient: Cider, the seasonal favorite that pairs exceptionally well with liquor, especially bourbon.
Pro Tip: Evan Kalman of Add 1 Tbsp offers a few tips on how to serve this cider cocktail—and even how you can spice this sip up a bit. "I warm up apple cider with mulling spices and add fresh ginger for a spicy kick," he reveals. "Then, I can either chill it for a cold drink or immediately use the warm cider for a hot toddy."
Why We Love It: Versatility is always great in a cocktail, and the ability to drink this cocktail either hot or cold gives it major points in the versatility department.
Apple Cider Mule
The Recipe: Apple Cider Mule
The Hero Ingredient: That minor hint of spice you get on any variation of the Moscow Mule is usually due to the addition of ginger beer, and it adds a kick in this Apple Cider Mule that'll warm you right up.
Pro Tip: Although A Couple Cooks recommend serving this drink in a copper mug, they do offer another suggestion. "Of course, you can serve this apple cider mule however you like! It looks great in a copper mug, but it also works in a low ball glass (try it with clear ice for a glamorous look)," they reveal.
Why We Love It: The Moscow Mule is a classic cocktail, but this apple cider-friendly take on the Moscow Mule is a fun way to mix up a classic for the winter months.
Pear Whiskey Sour
The Recipe: Pear Whiskey Sour
The Hero Ingredient: As intimidating as egg white might seem as an ingredient, it's key to making the whiskey sour so deliciously frothy.
Pro Tip: Method is ultra-important when making a delicious whiskey sour. To ensure that your method is solid, The Charming Detroiter's Sarah DeLeon offers these pointers: "Fill shaker with ice and shake for 20-30 seconds, until well combined. Strain into a coupe glass or rocks glass and garnish with a star anise and rosemary sprig, if desired."
Why We Love It: The Pear Whiskey Sour easily incorporates a seasonal ingredient like pears by simply using pear juice.
The Recipe: Persimmon Margarita
The Hero Ingredient: A homemade cinnamon syrup serves as a flavorful way to add a layer of both saccharine sweet and sultry spice to this margarita.
Pro Tip: For those who live for a great salt rim on their margarita, Toni Dash of Boulder Locavore provides this recommendation for a smoked salt. "I’m a big fan of Smoked Salt, Alderwood Smoked Salt to be exact," she says. "A little goes a long way, but a sprinkle over the rimming salt for the glass adds a further dimension still to my now favorite fall margarita."
Why We Love It: From the smoked salt to the use of persimmons, this margarita features so many unexpected yet delicious ingredients.
Hot Buttered Rum
The Recipe: Hot Buttered Rum
The Hero Ingredient: For those added layers of complexity and flavor, a spiced rum is your go-to for a seriously tasty Hot Buttered Rum.
Pro Tip: Since making compound butter is no easy feat, Cooks With Cocktails share an easy alternative to this step. "If you don't want to go through the trouble of making the compound butter, you can just put a dollop of butter in a mug and sprinkle in a bit of each spice (go easy on the cloves) and then add the rum and the hot water," the pair explains.
Why We Love It: You can never go wrong with a cocktail that tastes like dessert in a glass, and this Hot Buttered Rum is exactly that: decadence with each sip.
Hot Toddy With Spiced Rum
The Recipe: Hot Toddy With Spiced Rum
The Hero Ingredient: By using honey instead of sugar, this Hot Toddy boasts the benefit of a natural sweetener.
Pro Tip: If mocktails are more your thing, Lindsay Cotter of Cotter Crunch offers this simple tip for making an alcohol-free version: "Replace 4 ounces of rum or whiskey with a 6 ounces of ginger or cinnamon herbal tea."
Why We Love It: Not only is this Hot Toddy delectable, but it also carries a handful of nutritional benefits thanks to ingredients like honey and cinnamon.
A Long Winter's Nap
The Recipe: A Long Winter's Nap
The Hero Ingredient: Maple syrup is such a great sweetener for winter cocktails, and is. a unique addition to a cocktail.
Pro Tip: Although the recipe for A Long Winter's Nap specifically calls for star anise, Sylvia Fountaine of Feasting At Home shares that there are a ton of various spices you can use. "Sometimes I’ll toss in cardamom pods or whole peppercorns, or whatever sounds good in the moment," she says. "Orange zest, a cinnamon stick or even a few whole cloves are nice to. Play around with it and just have fun."
Why We Love It: As its name suggests, A Long Winter's Nap is a cocktail that borders on cozy with warming flavors of maple and whiskey.
The Recipe: Homemade Eggnog
The Hero Ingredient: Although it does take work, homemade eggnog is so much more flavorful and rich than the store bought version.
Pro Tip: According to Cooks With Cocktails, a sugared rim is the final step in really elevating the taste of their Homemade Eggnog. "We rimmed our glasses with cinnamon and coarse sugar. It tastes delish when you are drinking the eggnog," they reveal.
Why We Love It: This take on Homemade Eggnog keeps things extra boozy with the addition of both rum and Kahlua, a coffee liqueur.
Pomegranate Gin Cocktail
The Recipe: Pomegranate Gin Cocktail
The Hero Ingredient: Although you can purchase them year-round, pomegranates are a visually vibrant and tasty choice for a winter cocktail.
Pro Tip: Need a big batch of this cocktail? Garnish With Lemon's Anna Schaber shares the details on how to make the Pomegranate Gin Cocktail big batch-friendly. "These Pomegranate Gin Cocktails are easy to multiply and make as a batch cocktail," she explains. "Simply mix your ingredients together in a large pitcher and keep chilled until party time. Give your pitcher a quick stir before serving."
Why We Love It: With only four ingredients, the Pomegranate Gin Cocktail is perfect for mixing up for guests or simply making a fuss-free cocktail for yourself.