Winter Cocktails

Like many of you I enjoy an adult beverage now and then. And I’m usually easy to please. In summer, there are a number of tart, fruity, refreshing, drinks I enjoy on the patio. Autumn evenings you’ll often find me sipping Bourbon Sours or a gingery Dark N Stormy in front of the chimnea. But finding the perfect winter cocktail is harder. I don’t care for egg nog. And I’m not interested in the sickly sweet, minty, concoctions featured on Pinterest. I’m also lazy. I’d like to be the kind of person who makes allspice dram but it’s not gonna happen. I do like a Whiskey Skin, yes whiskey with the e , I don’t drink scotch. But I don’t always want a warm drink. So help me out. What are some of your favorite winter libations?



  1. My holiday cocktail exploits are usually limited to quick forays into the kitchen, as my extended family leans towards beer and wine and mixing cocktails isn’t a big draw. Apple cider is my go-to base. It’s got an appropriately seasonal flavor. It mixes well. Bourbon, rye, rum, brandy are all happy additions, so a limited bar is no obstacle. I mixed up a version over Thanksgiving that involved apple vodka with whipped cream and cinnamon. Folks, it was a boozy apple pie.

    • I tried a recipe for Apple Cider Margaritas this fall and did not like it. But I really do like cider so I should give it try with bourbon or rum. Thanks!

  2. Let’s talk punch – if entertaining, a big bowl of booze is always nice. Here is a recipe that you can do as punch or individual cocktails. And depending on the juice you use, can be not so sweet . . .

    1 bottle any fruit/spice liquor or brandy (peach, pear, raspberry, orange, ginger, etc.)
    1 bottle any sparkling wine or champagne
    1 bottle any sparkling water or ginger ale or 7up
    1 bag Frozen fruit slices or berries to match liquor/brandy
    Pour it all in the punch bowl, stir
    To be fancy, I put water and fruit slices in a jello mold and freeze, then float it in the punch bowl

    2 oz any fruit/spice liquor or brandy (peach, pear, raspberry, orange, ginger, etc.)
    3 oz any sparkling wine or champagne
    Frozen fruit slices or berries to match liquor/brandy
    Put frozen fruit slices in glass (champagne flute or coupe), add liquor/brandy, top with champagne.

    2 oz any fruit juice (peach, pear, raspberry, orange, etc.)
    3 oz any sparkling water or ginger ale or 7Up
    Frozen fruit slices or berries to match fruit juice
    Put frozen fruit slices in glass (champagne flute or coupe), add fruit Juice, top with sparkling water/soda

    Looks liked you worked at it . . . super easy

  3. Beer. Rich, creamy porters and stouts. My 2020 New Year’s Resolution is going to be “LOSE 30 POUNDS.”

    So I’m trying to put on like…30 pounds over the next two weeks.

  4. I love Emeril’s recipe for Hot Buttered Rum – you can make the seasoned butter in batches, freeze in serving size balls/scoops, and you can have it by the cup or for a party. (*but it’s hot. I like it because because I can control literally everything about it, from type/amount of sweetener/spices in butter, to how much or little I feel like whipping up at the time. Not many big-batch recipes you can say that about.)

    • Hot Buttered Rum is my winter go to. I actually prefer the Betty Crocker recipe. Most call for generic dark rum or Jamaican rum, but Black Seal is the perfect one for this drink. If I’m not in the mood for something hot, Pilgrim’s Punch is quick, easy and tasty. Apple juice, cranberry juice, ginger ale and vodka.

  5. If you want something hot, Jolie Kerr’s mulled wine recipe is a good start.

    Personally, I’d simplify things a bit. Use just one citrus, use less sugar, drop either the cloves or the allspice unless you have both on hand — no need to buy a tin of spices you won’t use again for another year. I wouldn’t even bother with the whole “raise to a boil then reduce to a simmer” thing — just set the pot to low, put a top on it, and then come back later when it’s hot. It’s probably best if it never gets hotter than a cup of coffee.

    Definitely don’t use a fancy wine, just everyday drinkable wine is good. It doesn’t even have to be red wine, white wine will work fine if that’s all that’s on hand. Or hell, a rose? I’m sure it will work.

    Want to modify it and add slices of ginger root, a whole nutmeg, star anise, cardamom pods, a few dashes of Grand Marnier, or something like that? Feel free, just go slowly. A shot of brandy or rum or bourbon added to the pot might be nice. Taste it, and maybe add two. Or some vodka, maybe. Don’t be an idiot and add anything pricey to make it fancier.

    Mulled Wine (Jolie Kerr)

    1 cup water
    ½ cup sugar
    1 lemon, sliced
    1 orange, sliced
    12 whole allspice berries
    12 whole cloves
    4-inch cinnamon stick
    750 mL dry red wine

    In a large saucepan, combine water, sugar, lemon and orange slices, allspice, cloves and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Add the wine—750 mL is just a standard bottle size, but it’s helpful to include the specific measurement for those of you who are pouring your wine from a box—and bring it just to the boiling point before reducing the heat again and simmering for 10 minutes.

    To serve, pour the mulled wine into mugs, or glasses that are thick enough to stand up to the heated drink. Include a slice of fruit and a few nuts and berries for funsies. Mulled wine is one of those things that has the added bonus of making your home smell awesome.


    • I love red wine but unfortunately it gives me terrible heartburn. I’d like this but I don’t know if it’s worth the suffering. I’ll pass this on to my daughter though, thank you!

  6. I’ve been drinking High Sparrows, I might have got this from 3-ingredient happy hour but I modified because orange zest, and I rarely have oranges.
    Without further ado:
    4 parts Bourbon
    1 part Benedictine
    Slug Orange bitters
    Guessing at the proportions because measuring, ugh.

    My other fave is the mid scale Paloma, differentiated from the up scale Paloma by subbing grapefruit soda for rosy red grapefruit cordial. So, Tequila, Campari, lime juice and grapefruit soda. Salted rim.

    My ‘Im cold’ drink is Cognac straight up or Rooibos tea and a slug of Green Apple Bourbon.

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