Winter has arrived in the United States, Canada, and Europe. This means snow, cold temperatures, and evenings spent relaxing in front of the fireplace. It's the perfect time for a top 10 winter cocktails list.
There are plenty of great winter beverages to brighten your days this time of year and you don't have to be a mixologist to experience them. It doesn't matter whether you prefer cocktail drinks with gin and tonic water, vodka, whiskey, rum, or even gluten-free cocktails.
Top 10 Winter Cocktails List
We've included some of our favorites on this list of top 10 winter cocktails. Read on to get some ideas for adding some flavor to your winter.
Winter Gin Cocktails
Gin has a refreshing character, explaining its association with spring or summer. But consider tweaking those warm-weather gin cocktail recipes to make them work as some of the best winter cocktails. Why limit a good thing to just half the year?
The Negroni started in Italy in the early 1900s. Many people have experimented with the basic recipe of the three-way split between gin, vermouth, and Campari over the years, especially the vermouth part.
This is another slight variation that's perfect for adding flavor and warmth to a cold winter evening.
- 7 oz. caster sugar
- Orange slices
- Juice from 2 oranges
- 3 tsp. juniper berries
- A cup of 8.5 oz. (each) gin, vermouth, and Campari
- Ice cubes
Place a half cup of sugar into a shallow bowl and dip both sides of the orange slices in sugar. Apply grease to a large non-stick frying pan, then heat it on medium. Add orange slices and cook, turning once, for 2-3 minutes until each side is dark and caramelized.
Remove and place them on a tray lined with baking paper and let them cool. Place juniper, orange juice, and the remaining sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and stir to dissolve sugar.
Adjust them to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes or until they thicken. Fill serving glasses with ice cubes.
Combine gin, vermouth, and Campari in a large pitcher. Fill a few glasses, then top it with warm syrup and caramelized orange, and it's ready.
This winter cocktail is an adaptation of the classic French 75. Denver-based writer Linnea Covington created the French Harvest, which features Nolet's silver dry gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice. It substitutes sparkling cider for champagne to give it an apple flavor that's perfect for cold-weather months.
- 1.5 oz. Nolet's silver dry gin
- 0.75 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 0.75 oz. simple syrup
- Dry sparkling cider (chilled)
- Lemon twist
Add the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a champagne flute and top with the sparkling cider. Garnish with a lemon twist and serve.
Winter Vodka Cocktails
Vodka is good in winter cocktails because it's a versatile liquor that complements hot and cold drinks, and fruity or creamy drinks. It must be one of the ways Russians are able to survive those cold winters in Siberia.
This creamy cocktail doesn't require a cocktail shaker to prepare it, which means it can be ready in under a minute. To make a classic White Russian, combine vodka and Kahlúa coffee liqueur in a small glass, add ice, and pour over heavy cream. You could also leave out the heavy cream to make it a Black Russian.
- 2 oz. vodka
- 1 oz. Kahlúa
- Splash of heavy cream
Add the vodka and Kahlúa to a rocks glass filled with ice. Top it with heavy cream and stir.
This winter cocktail is perfect for chocolate lovers.
- 1 oz. (each) vodka, coffee liqueur, and Bailey's Irish Cream
- 1.5 oz. heavy cream
- Garnish with chocolate shavings
Add the vodka, coffee liqueur, heavy cream, Bailey's, and heavy cream to a shaker with ice.
Shake until it's well-chilled, then strain it into a chilled fizz glass or coupe. Garnish it with freshly shaved chocolate.
A Good Tidings is like a traditional Tom Collins but with cranberry juice and allspice added. You get classic winter flavors and scents of winter, but it goes down smoothly like a regular Collins.
- 1.5 oz. vodka
- 1 oz. (each) Cointreau, lemon juice, and cranberry juice
- 1 bar spoon of allspice dram
Add cocktail ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a Tom Collins glass over ice and top with club soda. Garnish it with a lemon wheel with embedded cloves.
Winter Whiskey Cocktails
A good winter cocktail with one of your favorite whiskey brands can warm your mouth and stomach during a cold winter evening. Additionally, it can help you stay healthy during the peak of cold and flu season. So many reasons to love whiskey!
Spiked Hot Chocolate
Nothing is better for getting warm than hot chocolate. Except, maybe, a Spiked Hot Chocolate. The best thing about Spiked Hot Chocolate is that you can use whatever liquor you prefer. I like whiskey, but some people add types of rum, vodka, or gin. It's easy to make and goes down smoothly.
- 2 oz. finely chopped semisweet chocolate
- 6 oz. heated milk
- 1.5 oz. whiskey (or your preferred liquor)
- Mini marshmallows
Place the pieces of chocolate in an Irish Coffee mug.
Pour the hot milk in and melt the chocolate, which should take about two minutes.
When the chocolate has melted, stir with a spoon until the contents are smooth. Add the liquor of your choice and stir.
Don't forget to add marshmallows!
A Hot Toddy is the perfect winter drink. It's great for an evening in the living room near the fireplace or at a ski resort.
It originated in the mid-1700s and gained a reputation for treating colds and soothing sore throats.
The classic drink uses liquor, sugar, and hot water with a lemon peel and assorted spices. In Ireland, they use Irish whiskey, while in Scotland, they use scotch.
- Boiling water to fill a mug
- 4 cloves
- Lemon peel
- 2 tsp. brown sugar
- 0.25 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 oz. whiskey (bourbon, Irish, Scotch, rye)
Pour boiling water into a mug and let it sit for a minute to warm.
Meanwhile, stick the cloves into the lemon peel and set them aside. Then, empty the water from the mug and fill it about halfway with fresh boiling water.
Add the sugar and stir to dissolve it before adding the prepared lemon peel. Finish by adding the lemon juice and whiskey.
There are many stories about the origin of Irish Coffee.
Many believe that Joe Sheridan, a head chef in County Limerick during the early 1940s, was the creator. Legend says that when Joe first served it, a patron asked him if it was Brazilian coffee. He replied that it was "Irish Coffee."
The Buena Vista Café in San Francisco perfected the recipe in the 1950s. I can personally vouch for the excellence of their Irish Coffee served by friendly and knowledgeable staff.
- 1.5 oz. Irish whiskey
- 2 tsp. brown sugar
- Hot brewed coffee
- Whipped cream
Fill an Irish Coffee mug with hot water, let it sit for a couple of minutes, then empty it.
Add the whiskey and sugar to the heated glass, fill it with coffee, and stir. Top it with whipped cream.
Winter Rum Cocktails
The mention of rum brings to mind sunny beaches, ships, and pirates. But don't pack away your rum for the winter with your swimsuit and beach towel. These winter cocktails with rum taste delicious and will have you dreaming about your beach getaway next summer. These are great options for learning how to make a cocktail with rum.
Spiced Rum Milk Punch
A bartender from New Orleans named Abigail Gullo gets credit for this updated version of the cocktail that originated in the 1600s. Fans of this drink include Benjamin Franklin and Queen Victoria, notable figures in the history of rum consumption.
There are many different versions of Milk Punches that produce a clear cocktail. This recipe is close to the traditional one created by Gullo.
- 1.5 oz. spiced rum
- 3 oz. milk
- 0.75 oz. simple syrup
- Dash of pure vanilla extract
- Freshly grated cinnamon
- Freshly grated nutmeg
Pour the spiced rum, milk, simple syrup, and vanilla extract into a shaker with ice. Shake until it's chilled, then strain it into a chilled rocks glass.
Garnish it with a light dusting of freshly grated cinnamon and nutmeg.
Aged Rum Daiquiri
Take the usual white rum out of a Daiquiri and replace it with an aged rum with caramel notes. It's still light and balanced but has that rich spiciness that makes it a real winter treat.
- 2 oz. aged rum
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- 0.75 oz. simple syrup
Add ingredients into a shaker with ice and strain into a coupe glass. No garnish needed- it's ready to serve and drink! On nice winter nights, this drink even crosses into the aphrodisiac meaning of a great drink.
Although the weather is cold and the days are short, it doesn't mean you can't indulge in a good cocktail after work (like one of the best vodka cocktails). No matter which liquor is your favorite, there's probably a winter cocktail version of it that's delicious and perfect for this time of year. If you're one for having snacks with your cocktails, check out this appetizer list. You may also consider making some delicious Mexican food appetizers to add some heat to your winter.