Top 10 Winter Cocktails and Drinks

As the weather turns cold and the holidays creep up, stay home and make yourself these cocktails created by master mixologists to stave off the chills.

Two years ago, Physician’s Money Digest decided to get into the holiday spirit with the article Top 10 Holiday Drinks (with Alcohol). That list of 10 drinks was mostly traditional holiday drinks (Wassail, Glogg and Eggnog, for example).

This time around we found drinks that really encompass the feel of winter — some of which were created by master mixologists.

There’s something for everyone depending how much time you are willing to spend on the right drink (some require little more than being mixed in a shaker, while others need hours to cook in a slow cooker), or what your alcohol of choice is (cognac, wine, bourbon, vodka, etc.).

So make one of these drinks at home rather than brave the cold and spend $14 a drink to have a bartender do it for you.

Hot Buttered Bourbon and Apple Cider

Apple cider is traditional favorite during the fall and winter, especially warm. Bon Appétit gave the drink a little bit of a kick, but kept it piping hot to warm your bones despite how cold it gets outside.

Unfortunately, making this drink isn’t as easy as pouring the ingredients into your glass—you’ll have to work a little for your cold weather drink. But, this recipe is meant to be shared.

Ingredients:

• 2 cups apple cider

• 1/2 cup water

• 3 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar

• 4 whole cloves

• 1 cinnamon stick

• 3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter

• 3/4 cup bourbon

• 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

• Ground nutmeg

Bring cider, water, sugar, cloves and cinnamon stick to simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat, cover and let steep 15 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons chilled butter to saucepan and bring to simmer.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the bourbon and lemon juice. Strain into large measuring cup.

Divide the hot cider among four mugs. Cut 1 tablespoon butter into 4 pieces. Add 1 piece to each mug. Sprinkle nutmeg over.

Snowflake

Now, a departure from the warm drinks to something incredibly reminiscent of the cold weather. At the Hyde nightclub in Las Vegas’ Bellagio, the Snowflake is served in a glass frosted by coconut snowflakes and given a little showmanship with a splash of liquid nitrogen (a step you can skip at home and still make a wintery cocktail).

Ingredients:

• Coconut flakes

• 3/4 ounce Ciroc Coconut

• 3/4 ounce Malibu Rum

• 3/4 ounce white cranberry juice

• 1/2 ounce simple syrup

• 1/2 ounce lemon juice

• Ice

• 3 drops of liquid nitrogen float

Rim a martini glass with coconut flakes. Combine all ingredients except liquid nitrogen in a shaker, then strain into the martini glass. Garnish with three drops of liquid nitrogen float.

Toasted Marshmallow Martini

No fire necessary to enjoy a toasted marshmallow. A mixture of hazelnut, cream and marshmallow, the Toast Marshmallow Martini from Mandatory.com, might bring you back to childhood memories of making s’mores.

Ingredients:

• 2 ounces vanilla vodka

• 2 ounces hazelnut liqueur

• 2 ounces cream

• 2 ounces marshmallow topping/whip

• 3 to 5 whole mini marshmallows

• Ice

Into a cocktail shaker, pour the vodka, hazelnut liqueur, cream and ice. Shake until cold and serve in a marshmallow whip-rimmed martini glass. Top with mini marshmallows.

Cinnamon-Pumpkin Toddy

The combo of rye whiskey and apple-cinnamon schnapps is sure warm you up, according to Better Homes and Gardens. The inclusion of pumpkin might make this the perfect drink for your Thanksgiving meal, especially since the recipe makes eight to 10 servings.

As a drink that includes the use of a slow cooker, you might want to start making this one early, get in some cooking, and then enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Ingredients:

For the Cinnamon Whipped Cream:

• 1 cup whipping cream

• 2 tablespoons sugar

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cocktail:

• 5 cups water

• 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

• 1/3 cup canned pumpkin

• 1 cup rye whiskey or bourbon

• 1/2 cup apple-cinnamon schnapps or cinnamon schnapps

• 1 recipe Cinnamon Whipped Cream

• Ground cinnamon and/or stick cinnamon

First make the Cinnamon Whipped Cream. In a medium mixing bowl beat whipping cream, sugar and cinnamon with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until soft peaks form. Makes two cups.

In a 3.5- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine the water, maple syrup and pumpkin. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for three to four hours or on high-heat setting for one-and-a-half to two hours. Stir in rye whiskey and schnapps.

Ladle into mugs. Serve with Cinnamon Whipped Cream and garnish with ground cinnamon and/or stick cinnamon.

The Old Twelfth Night

Named for a festival that concludes the Twelve Days of Christmas, this drink from Chicago’s South Water Kitchen was highlighted by City Eats as a great winter cocktail for containing bourbon (a favorite to ward off the cold), thyme and apple brandy. All flavors that will put you in the mood for winter — plus, it’s a warm drink.

Ingredients:

For the thyme syrup:

• 1 quart water

• 1 quart granulated sugar

• Pinch of salt

• 3/4 cup chopped fresh thyme

For the cocktail:

• 1 ounce bourbon (preferably Wild Turkey 101)

• 3/4 ounce apple brandy (preferably Laird’s brand)

• 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 3/4 ounce thyme syrup

• Boiling water

• Baked apple slice or apple chip, as garnish

First, make the thyme syrup. Throw all the ingredients in a pot and bring it to a boil. Remove from heat and let it cool. Strain.

To make the cocktail, combine all of the ingredients in an Irish coffee glass and fill with boiling water. Garnish with a baked apple slice.

Winter Magic Punchbowl

Another drink for parties, this warm wine cocktail from the Rebar in the Trump Hotel can serve six to eight guests. The drink calls for more cinnamon and sugar, plus spices like clove and star anise.

Ingredients:

• 3 bottles pinot noir (or personal favorite red wine)

• 1/2 bottle brandy

• 1/2 cup brown sugar

• 3 cinnamon sticks

• 10 cloves

• 2 to 3 star anise

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a vigorous boil.

When the sugar is completely dissolved, let the mixture cool to a comfortably warm drinking temperature and serve immediately.

Hennessy Coco

No list of winter drinks is complete without hot chocolate, but with the inclusion of cognac, this version isn’t for children. Refinery 29 chose this drink from the Tortoise Club in Chicago.

Ingredients:

• 1 1/2 oz Hennessy V.S

• 6 oz hot chocolate

• 3/4 oz flavored syrup, your choice

• 3 drops vanilla extract

• Heavy cream, to taste

• Shaved nutmeg, to taste

• Shaved dark chocolate, to taste

In a heat-proof glass, combine Hennessy, hot chocolate, syrup and vanilla.

Float with desired amount of heavy cream. Garnish with nutmeg and chocolate.

Warm Spiced Sangria

Like the Cinnamon-Pumpkin Toddy, you’ll need your slow cooker for this spice-infused wine punch from Southern Living.

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn/SouthernLiving.com

Ingredients:

• 8 black peppercorns

• 6 whole allspice

• 6 whole cloves

• 2 cinnamon sticks

• 3 orange rind stripe

• 3 cups orange juice

• 1 1/2 cups apple cider

• 3/4 cup sugar

• 2 (750-milliliter) bottles dry red wine

• 1/2 cup brandy

• 1 orange, sliced

• 2 small Granny Smith apples, sliced

Place peppercorns, allspice, cloves, cinnamon sticks and orange rind strips on a five-inch square of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth, and tie securely with kitchen string. Combine orange juice, apple cider, sugar, and spice bag in a 6-quart slow cooker.

Cover and cook on high for two hours. Stir in wine, brandy, orange slices and apple slices. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Discard spice bag before serving.

Winter Warmer

The name of this cocktail gets straight to the point. Made at the critically acclaimed Gilt restaurant inside New York City's Palace Hotel, this warm cocktail has an array of aromas and flavors.

Photo credit: Gilt New York

Ingredients:

• 1 bottle red wine

• 6 cloves

• 6 star anise

• 6 green cardamom pods

• 6 allspice pods

• 2 sticks cinnamon

• 10 black peppercorns

• Nutmeg, freshly grated

• 1/2 orange

• 1/2 lemon

• 3/4 cup sugar

• 2 ounces vodka

Combine all dry ingredients and wine in a pot over medium heat. Squeeze and toss in both the lemon and orange.

When the mixture comes to a simmer remove from heat and let steep for another five minutes.

Add the vodka. Strain and serve.

Candy Cane Cocktail

What winter list would be complete without a candy cane flavored cocktail? Martha Stewart highlighted this holiday drink from Charles Corpion from The Four Seasons.

Ingredients:

• 1 candy cane, crushed, for garnish

• 2 ounces strawberry vodka

• 4 dashes white creme de menthe

• 2 1/2 ounces cranberry juice

• Ice cubes

First, place crushed candy canes on a small plate or saucer. Wet the outside rim of a chilled martini glass with water. Holding the glass by the stem, rotate the rim to coat with candy.

Next, in a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, creme de menthe, cranberry juice and ice. Shake until well combined, then strain into the glass.