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Feature photo by JasonRogers. Photo above by digiyesica.

Drink recipes to keep you warm through those long winter nights.

When the north wind starts blowing and the mercury sinks, there’s nothing better for keeping out the chill than a steaming hot beverage. This guide to cold-weather cocktails will help you mix up the perfect libations for a winter dinner party, or a romantic ambrosia to enjoy while curled up with a loved one.

1. Hot Cider

There’s hardly a simpler beverage than this classic winter cocktail.

  • 1 oz. dark rum
  • 6 to 8 oz. apple cider
  • 1 apple, sliced for garnish

Heat the apple cider in a small saucepan. Add the rum and garnish with apple slices.

Serves 1. (Recipe via Epicurious)

2. Hot Buttered Rum

Rich and comforting and sweet as candy, hot buttered rum is an essential spirit for your favorite mug.

  • 1 cup rum
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 quarts hot water
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • whipped cream for garnish

Combine the brown sugar, water, butter, and spices. Stir thoroughly. Cover and heat slowly, allowing the mixture to simmer for some time. Add the rum and serve hot with whipped cream.

Serves 15. (Recipe from cdkitchen)

3. Eggnog Latte

With eggnog, bourbon, and rum, this isn’t your everyday cup of joe.

  • 1 Tablespoon rum
  • 1 Tablespoon bourbon
  • 1 cup hot coffee
  • 2 cups eggnog

Warm the eggnog in a saucepan but do not allow to boil. Transfer the hot eggnog to a blender, along with the coffee and alcohol. Mix until frothy, and serve warm.

Serves 5. (Recipe from

Photo by Mohan S.

4. Irish Coffee

Supposedly invented in Ireland in the 1940s, when a chef thought to warm weary travelers by adding whiskey to their coffee.

  • 1 1/2 oz. whiskey
  • 3 oz. coffee
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 oz. cream

Combine the coffee, sugar, and whiskey. Heat, but do not boil. Pour into a glass and carefully add the cream so that it floats on top of the coffee mixture.

Serves 1. (Recipe from the International Bartender Association.)

5. Hot Whiskey

Hot whiskeys probably counteract the bitter cold of a winter night better than anything else.

  • 2 oz. whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 lemon slice
  • boiling water

Combine the whiskey, sugar, cloves, and lemon in a whiskey glass. Fill with water and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Serves 1. (Recipe from drinkswap.)

6. Hot Toddy

Ward off a cold by steeping a cup of this robust hard tea, ideal for gray days full of sleet and slush.

  • 1 oz. brandy or blended whiskey
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tea bag
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • lemon wedge

Squeeze the lemon wedge into a glass containing the honey and brandy. Prepare the tea in another container and then add it to the glass.

Serves 1. (Recipe from

Photo by stu_spivack.

7. Mexican Hot Chocolate

The inclusion of tequila makes for a potent variation on an old standard.

  • 1 1/2 oz. tequila
  • 1/2 oz. coffee liqueur
  • 4 oz. hot chocolate
  • 2 oz. cream
  • Powdered cocoa, to dust

Combine all the ingredients in a mug and serve with a dusting of cocoa on top.

Serves 1. (Recipe via drinks mixer)

8. Peppermint Patty

A cocoa delightfully embellished with wintery mint liqueurs.

  • 1 oz. peppermint schnapps
  • 1/2 oz. dark creme de cacao
  • 1 teaspoon creme de menthe
  • 8 oz. hot chocolate
  • whipped cream for garnish
  • shaved chocolate for garnish

Stir together the liqueurs and add the hot chocolate. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Serves 1. (Recipe via

9. Ume Kiss

Uncomplicated, sophisticated, and memorable.

  • 6 oz. plum sake
  • lemon wedge
  • cinnamon stick

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat. Serve in a ceramic cup or mug.

Serves 1. (Recipe via Cocktails of the World)

Photo by chickache.

10. Tamagozake

Occasionally referred to as Japanese eggnog, this warm drink is a traditional remedy for colds.

  • 6 oz. sake
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Heat the sake in a saucepan to evaporate some of the alcohol. Meanwhile, beat the egg well. When the sake has cooled somewhat, stir in the beaten egg a little bit at a time. Add the sugar. Place over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.

Serves 1. (Recipe from Obachan’s Kitchen.)

11. Glühwein

Brewed all over the world and known by many names, mulled wines comprise a large class of warm winter beverages. Gluhwein is a German version of the drink.

  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 cloves
  • 1 orange, sliced for garnish

Simmer the water, lemon, and spices for an hour. Strain. Add the wine, and heat but do not boil. Garnish with a half slice of orange.

Serves 12. (Recipe from Making Homemade Wine and Beer.)

12. Glogg

A Swedish elixir, deep ruby in color and fragrant with cold-weather spices.

  • 2 bottles dry red wine
  • 1 bottle sweet white wine
  • 1 cup aquavit or vodka (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon bitters
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • 10 cloves
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup blanched almonds
  • 1 cup sugar

Blend the wines together in a large saucepan. Squeeze the citrus juices into the wine. Scrape some lemon zest and orange zest from the citrus rinds and tie it in a piece of cheesecloth with the spices. Add the bundle to the wine, along with the raisins, almonds, and sugar. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer for about 15 minutes. When ready to serve, add the bitters and aquavit or vodka.

Serves 12. (Recipe via The New York Times)

Photo by r. e. wolf.
13. Pomegranate Apple Cider

Pomegranates and kumquats, in season during the winter, enliven this spicy cider.

  • 1/2 cup apple brandy
  • 3 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp allspice berries
  • 4 sticks cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 orange, sliced into rounds
  • 16 kumquats, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients except for the brandy and the kumquats. Add half the kumquats. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes. Pour in the brandy and serve warm with the remaining kumquat slices.

Serves 4. (Recipe from delish.)

14. Wassail

Recipes for wassail are numerous and diverse, containing a range of ingredients: wine, cider, cranberries, tea, citrus. Historically, though, wassail was made with mulled beer or mead. This recipe features baked apples, mulling spices, fresh cider, and ale.

  • 12 small apples
  • 1 cup cream sherry
  • 1 quart ale
  • 1 cup calvados (optional)
  • 1 quart hard cider (or use apple cider)
  • 1 quart apple cider
  • 1 to 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 orange
  • 10 cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 10 blades mace (or more nutmeg)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 allspice berries

Preheat the oven to 350F. Remove the cores of the apples but leave the skins on. Bake in a covered casserole dish until soft (about 40 to 50 minutes). Meanwhile, combine the ciders and sugar in a large saucepan. Add the juice of the orange to the mixture. Scrape some orange zest from the rind and tie it in a piece of cheesecloth, along with the spices. Add the cheesecloth pouch to the saucepan. Bring everything to a boil and then allow to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the sherry, calvados, and ale. Serve with the baked apples floating on top.

Serves 12. (Recipe from The New York Times)



About The Author

Aya Padron

Aya Padrón draws and writes and loves to see new things.

  • ianmack

    I want to make a cup of "Hot Toddy" just so I can tell people I'm drinking it. :-D

  • Julie

    Ian- Ha! I totally agree with you! Aya- I love making cocktails and experimenting, but it always seems that most liqueurs are so much better suited for summer. Thanks for this list– I now have a dozen more recipes to try!

  • aya

    thanks for the comments! i had fun trying out these recipes–most of them were ones i'd never tried before.

  • emmylennevald

    yum! we have summer on this side of the earth, but a rainy one. i’ll try one of them tonight…

  • Gabriela Garcia

    Amazing! I’m so over my plain cup of coffee right now

  • Rebecca

    love these recipes & have just discovered hot cider, so i’ll be bookmarking this one :)

  • Dona

    There’s nothing better than a Hot Toddy when you’ve got a cold. I was traveling in China by myself a few winters ago and couldn’t shake a nasty cold, but randomly stumbled on a British pub and they hooked me up with a Hot Toddy and it totally did the trick! I recently posted my favorite Indian Chai recipe, check it out for some Indian goodness!

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