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The Best Winter Cocktails: 20 Easy Recipes

Learn how to make the best winter cocktails, including warming classics like the Hot Buttered Rum and new recipes from our expert mixologists.

What are the best cocktails for winter?

Though there are a variety of winter cocktail recipes, one element rings true throughout all of them.

The main element of a winter warmer cocktail is a comforting experience, perfect to relax with on a cold winter night.

Whereas summer cocktails often include light and floral flavours (think elderflower and basil), winter cocktail recipes often lean heavily on richer, indulgent flavours.

This doesn’t mean they can’t be sweet however – just take the honey infused Penicillin as an example.

In this article we’ll cover the best alcoholic drinks for winter including the best warm cocktails, and the best winter drinks with rum, vodka, gin, and whisky.

 

Best Winter Cocktail Recipes from The Cocktail Society

The best winter cocktails

 

Best warm cocktails to try

Hot Buttered Rum

The Hot Buttered Rum recipe on a winter background with sprigs of holly, pine cones, and dried fruit

No list of winter cocktails is complete without this warming, indulgent delight.

This winter warmer has mysterious origins. Though the use of butter in hot drinks can be traced back to the time of King Henry VIII, it’s thought that Colonial-era New England in America is where this cocktail was derived.

Learn about the Hot Buttered Rum recipe and follow our step by step guide to make this delicious and comforting winter cocktail.

Ingredients

35ml Aged Rum
1 Tablespoon Butter
10ml Vanilla Sugar Syrup
1 pinch of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice
Hot Water

Method

Build

Read the full recipe

 

Hot Toddy

Hot Toddy winter cocktails recipe. Photo by Eugene Kuznetsov on Unsplash

Whisky, honey, hot water, and cloves. We can’t think of any warm winter cocktails easier than this.

Quick and easy to make, yet perfect to enjoy slowly on a cold winter evening.

Ingredients

50ml Scotch Whisky
7.5ml Lemon Juice
7.5ml Honey or Honey Syrup
5ml Sugar Syrup
Cloves
60ml Water

Method

Build

Read the full recipe

 

Hot Chocolate with Baileys

Hot chocolate with Baileys winter warmer cocktails recipe. Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

The best warm winter cocktails should be simple and easy.

After all, if you’re looking for something to take the chill of after a long walk through the crisp winter air, you want it to be quick to make.

A luxurious mix of creamy Baileys and chocolate. Enjoy.

Ingredients

50ml Baileys
12.5ml Chocolate Liqueur
100ml Half and Half Mix (Milk and Cream)
Hot Water
Cocoa or Hot Chocolate Powder

Method

For this, simply make up your hot chocolate as you usually would, mixing the hot chocolate powder with hot water.

If using cocoa, then add 12.5ml sugar syrup.

Next add the Baileys and the liqueur and stir.

Finally top with the half and half mix and garnish with a sprinkling of chocolate powder.

The beauty of this drink is its adaptability. Switch the Baileys for Whisky and you have an Irish Hot Chocolate.

 

The Cocktail Society’s Glühwein Recipe

The Cocktail Society's Mulled Wine Recipe

No list of warm winter cocktails should be complete without a mulled wine recipe.

This recipe adds a dash of spiced rum, but you can switch this out for brandy, or whisky.

Ingredients

Serves 6-8

750ml red wine
100ml spiced rum
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
4 cloves
220g sugar (caster)
1 large orange, sliced
250ml water, boiled

Method

Add the wine, fruit, sugar and spices to the pan and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Add the water and continue to heat for another 5 minutes.

Lastly, add in the rum and stir for 1 minute.

Pour into glasses and serve heated.

Pro tip: if you’re finding the mix too strong, simply increase the ratio of wine and water to 50/50.

 

The Cocktail Society’s Mulled Cider Recipe

The Cocktail Society's Mulled Cider Winter Cocktails Recipe

Mulled cider is right at home in a list of Autumn cocktail recipes, but also as a winter warmer cocktail.

Our recipe adds a dash of Calvados apple brandy to gift the drink a warming kick.

Ingredients

750ml Cider
350ml Cloudy Apple Juice
25ml Calvados
4 cloves
100g demerara sugar
1-2 cinnamon sticks
Pinch of ground All Spice
1 large orange, zested and then cut into wedges

Method

Add the cider, Calvados, juice and sugar to a pan and heat – do not let it boil.

Add in the spices and stir.

Zest the orange into the mix, then squeeze the juice of two wedges into the pan.

After simmering for 25 minutes, serve warm in glass mugs.

 

Winter gin cocktails

With gin pairing so well with floral and fruity ingredients, it’s no wonder that it’s a feature in many easy summer cocktail recipes.

However, there are a number of wonderful easy winter cocktails made with gin.

 

Cherry Martinez

The Cherry Martinez cocktail recipe. The Cherry Martinez recipe created by Gareth Franklin

The origins of the Martinez drink are not clear, but it’s possible it was based around Old Tom Gin or Dutch Jenever.

This twist was created by Luxardo brand ambassador Gareth Franklin, so it’s no surprise that Luxardo products, and cherry flavours dominate.

Luckily, these also happen to be delicious.

Ingredients

50ml Luxardo Sour Cherry Gin
20ml Sweet Vermouth
2.5ml Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Method

Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.

 

Sloeberry Lemonade

The Sloeberry Lemonade has long been one of our best winter cocktails for events and parties. Sweet sloe gin meets bitter and refreshing pomegranate juice. The perfect livener for Christmas day!

Sloeberry lemonade cocktail recipe from The Cocktail Society

Ingredients

20ml Sloe Gin
50ml Pomegranate Juice
20ml Limoncello
10ml Lemon Juice
25ml Soda

Method

Shake all ingredients bar soda and then strain into glass with cubed ice.

Crown with soda at the end.

 

Ruby Fizz

A winter cocktail recipe

We adapted the Sloeberry Lemonade at the request of a guest who preferred port over sloe gin.

A relatively short list of ingredients, most of which will be included in your standard Christmas shop, make this one of the best alcoholic drinks for winter.

Ingredients

50ml Ruby Port
25ml Pomegranate Juice
20ml Lemon Juice
15ml Sugar Syrup
25ml Lemonade

Method

Add cubed ice to a hi-ball glass.

Build the ingredients on top of each other.

Add the lemonade last, floating it on top of the mix.

Garnish with a blackberry.

 

Winter vodka cocktails

Cinnamon and Nutmeg White Russian

A Christmas Cinnamon and Nutmeg White Russian

Ingredients

25ml Vodka
25ml Coffee Liqueur
75ml Half/Half Mix (Milk/Cream)
12.5ml Cinnamon Syrup
Demerara Sugar
Nutmeg
Cinnamon

Method

To prepare the cinnamon syrup, follow our steps on making homemade sugar syrup and simply add some cinnamon sticks into the mix to infuse.

Then build exactly as you would a standard White Russian.

Take all ingredients and build in a rocks glass with cubed ice.

Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a sprinkling of cinnamon, nutmeg, and demerara sugar on top.

 

Black Russian

Black Russian recipe

If you’re looking for easy winter cocktails which keep things simple, look no further than the Black Russian.

Invented by Gustave Tops in the 1920s, this slightly adapted version has three ingredients and couldn’t be simpler to make.

Ingredients

50ml Vodka
25ml Coffee Liqueur
75ml Coca Cola

Method

Build

Get the full recipe

 

Winter rum cocktails

Winter Cocktail

Winter Cocktail recipe

If you could combine the essence of all winter cocktail recipes into a single cocktail it surely would be this one.

First appearing in Albert Stevens Crockett’s 1935 Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book it’s a delight of warming rum, mixed with comforting sweet ginger and sugar, along with citrus kick.

Ingredients

60ml Gold or Dark Rum
22.5ml Lime Juice
15ml Sugar Syrup
5ml Ginger liqueur
5ml Pimento dram liqueur
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Method

Shake all the ingredients and strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass.

 

The Jolly Roger

Red orange cocktail with mint sprig garnish

There are many rum flavoured cocktails taking the name Jolly Roger, but this version from champion bartender Charles Joly is a delight.

Ingredients

35ml Dark Rum

15ml Reposado Tequila

25ml Sweet Vermouth

10ml Fernet-Branca

25ml fresh lemon juice

15ml. simple syrup

30ml Champagne

Method

Mix the rum, tequila, vermouth, fernet and citrus, along with the sugar syrup in a shaker.

Add ice and shake it!

Add the Champagne into the shaker gently.

Strain the ingredients into a Collins glass with crushed ice.

Garnish with a lemon peel and fresh mint.

 

Winter whisky cocktails

Penicillin

The Penicillin cocktail recipe

Created by New York bartender Sam Ross, this smoky and spicy cocktail is a warming delight.

Ingredients

40ml Scotch Whisky
15ml Ginger Liqueur
15ml Islay Whisky
20ml Lemon Juice
10ml Honey

Method

Shaken

Get the full recipe

 

Manhattan

Manhattan cocktail recipe

If any drink could capture the essence of winter in the Big Apple, it’s the Manhattan.

Ingredients

50ml Bourbon (or Rye Whiskey)
25ml Vermouth
3 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Method

Shaken

Get the recipe

 

Whisky Sour

Whisky Sour Recipe in a living room. Whisky Sour cocktail recipe

Sour cocktails are some of the oldest in cocktail history, and for good reason.

This delightful mix of whisky, sugar, and lemon makes for one of the best winter warmer cocktails.

Ingredients

50ml Whisky
7.5ml Simple Syrup
25ml Lemon Juice
1 Egg White (see below for tips if you don’t want to use egg white)

Method

Shaken

Get the recipe

 

New York Sour

Red cocktail resembling the New York Sour recipe. Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

If you’re anything like us, the start of winter means one thing: red wine season.

However, don’t think we wouldn’t find a way to incorporate red wine into cocktails.

Ingredients

Take the ingredients for a Whisky Sour:

50ml Whisky
7.5ml Simple Syrup
25ml Lemon Juice
1 Egg White or Vegan Foamer.

Method

Follow the steps in the Whisky Sour recipe, shaking all ingredients and straining into a rocks glass.

Then take 15ml red wine (we like a Malbec for the spice it brings) and float on the top of the cocktail.

 

Winter Champagne Cocktails

Poinsettia

The Poinsettia winter cocktail recipe

Named after an American senator who introduced the Poinsettia plant to the USA, the cocktail of the same name mimics the red flowers of the plant.

With three only ingredients this is one of the most easy winter cocktails: champagne, cranberry juice, and Cointreau orange liqueur.

Guaranteed to be a hit at any sophisticated Christmas soirée.

Ingredients

75ml Champagne or Sparkling Wine
25ml Cointreau
75ml Cranberry Juice

Method

Build

Get the recipe

 

Champagne Snowball

Champagne Snowball Recipe

The Snowball was the “it” cocktail of the 1970s. Esteemed bartender Charles Difford adds Perrier-Jouët Grand Bru Champagne for a classy, elegant take on this winning winter cocktail.

Ingredients

60ml Champagne
30ml Fino Sherry
15ml Lime Juice
60ml Advocaat Liqueur

Method

Add the champagne to a chilled flute glass or coupe.

Shake the rest of the ingredients and strain over the champagne.

 

Rainy Day Cocktails

Fireside

Fireside cocktail recipe

Recreate the feeling of roast chestnuts by a warming fire. It doesn’t get more wintery than that, does it?

We created this whisky winter warmer cocktail back in 2019 and it’s been a hit at events ever since.

Ingredients

30ml Dubliner Whisky
10ml Chestnut Liqueur
25ml Pear & Vanilla Shrub

Method

To make the shrub, which is a type of non-alcoholic syrup, read our guide to making syrups with fruit.

Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass, then stir.

Serve in a rocks glass with cubed ice, with a pear fan and cinnamon stick garnish.

 

Breakfast Martini

Slingsby Breakfast Martini recipe

When the weather outside is frightful, curl up in the warm with this indulgent marmalade flavoured delight.

And if you pair it with a slice of toast and some actual marmalade, well, who could say fairer than that?

Ingredients

50ml Gin
15ml Cointreau
15ml Fresh Lemon Juice
1 full bar spoon of Fine Cut Orange Marmalade

Method

Shaken

Get the recipe

 

The Best Winter Cocktails

We hope our list of winter warmer cocktails gives you an arsenal of comforting drinks to see you through the colder months.

Did we miss one? Get social with us @thecocktailsocietyuk on Instagram and Facebook.

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