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
Best warm cocktails to try
Hot Buttered Rum
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.
35ml Aged Rum
1 Tablespoon Butter
10ml Vanilla Sugar Syrup
1 pinch of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice
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.
50ml Scotch Whisky
7.5ml Lemon Juice
7.5ml Honey or Honey Syrup
5ml Sugar Syrup
Hot Chocolate with Baileys
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.
12.5ml Chocolate Liqueur
100ml Half and Half Mix (Milk and Cream)
Cocoa or Hot Chocolate Powder
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
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.
750ml red wine
100ml spiced rum
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
220g sugar (caster)
1 large orange, sliced
250ml water, boiled
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
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.
350ml Cloudy Apple Juice
100g demerara sugar
1-2 cinnamon sticks
Pinch of ground All Spice
1 large orange, zested and then cut into wedges
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.
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.
50ml Luxardo Sour Cherry Gin
20ml Sweet Vermouth
2.5ml Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.
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!
20ml Sloe Gin
50ml Pomegranate Juice
10ml Lemon Juice
Shake all ingredients bar soda and then strain into glass with cubed ice.
Crown with soda at the end.
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.
50ml Ruby Port
25ml Pomegranate Juice
20ml Lemon Juice
15ml Sugar Syrup
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
25ml Coffee Liqueur
75ml Half/Half Mix (Milk/Cream)
12.5ml Cinnamon Syrup
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.
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.
25ml Coffee Liqueur
75ml Coca Cola
Winter rum cocktails
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.
60ml Gold or Dark Rum
22.5ml Lime Juice
15ml Sugar Syrup
5ml Ginger liqueur
5ml Pimento dram liqueur
2 dash Angostura Bitters
Shake all the ingredients and strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass.
The Jolly Roger
There are many rum flavoured cocktails taking the name Jolly Roger, but this version from champion bartender Charles Joly is a delight.
35ml Dark Rum
15ml Reposado Tequila
25ml Sweet Vermouth
25ml fresh lemon juice
15ml. simple syrup
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
Created by New York bartender Sam Ross, this smoky and spicy cocktail is a warming delight.
40ml Scotch Whisky
15ml Ginger Liqueur
15ml Islay Whisky
20ml Lemon Juice
If any drink could capture the essence of winter in the Big Apple, it’s the Manhattan.
50ml Bourbon (or Rye Whiskey)
3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
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.
7.5ml Simple Syrup
25ml Lemon Juice
1 Egg White (see below for tips if you don’t want to use egg white)
New York Sour
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.
Take the ingredients for a Whisky Sour:
7.5ml Simple Syrup
25ml Lemon Juice
1 Egg White or Vegan Foamer.
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
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.
75ml Champagne or Sparkling Wine
75ml Cranberry Juice
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.
30ml Fino Sherry
15ml Lime Juice
60ml Advocaat Liqueur
Add the champagne to a chilled flute glass or coupe.
Shake the rest of the ingredients and strain over the champagne.
Rainy Day Cocktails
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.
30ml Dubliner Whisky
10ml Chestnut Liqueur
25ml Pear & Vanilla Shrub
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.
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?
15ml Fresh Lemon Juice
1 full bar spoon of Fine Cut Orange Marmalade
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.