Our Favorite Winter Cocktails for Cold Weather Drinking

Winter is a time for festivities, fun, fellowship, and of course, some libations. So whether you’re ringing in the New Year or celebrating one of winter’s classic holidays, it’s always good to have some winter-themed cocktails under your belt. The best winter cocktails invoke the spirit of the season and are easy enough to prepare.

Personally, I prefer cocktails that are easy to batch and prepare so that I can spend as much time with my guests as possible. Many of the best winter cocktails can sit for several hours in your crockpot, including Mulled Wine and Mexican hot chocolate. This makes it easy to pay attention to your guests and allows them to serve themselves if they want. 

Make sure you set aside some cute garnishes, and don’t be afraid to break out the special glasses for these seventeen unique winter cocktails that will spice up your holiday season and make entertaining a breeze.

Hot Toddy

Originally, Hot Toddies were intended to be medicinal drinks, and while they might still be applicable that way, many people drink them as a way to warm up on a cold day. Hot Toddy’s are deceptively easy to make. All you really need is hard liquor, like whisky, rum, or brandy, some honey, lemon, a cinnamon stick, and a cup of hot water.

Mix the liquor of your choice, honey, a squeeze of lemon, and boiling water in a glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge and cinnamon stick. You can certainly make this recipe in your crockpot and let people put on their own garnishes as they wish.    

Snowshoe Grog

Snowshoe Grog has a cute name and a taste to match. This cocktail is one of the easiest ones on our list to make and a personal favorite of mine. You can serve it neat or on the rocks. Snowshoe Grog contains only two ingredients; brandy and peppermint schnapps. 

All you need to do is mix one and a half ounces of brandy with half an ounce of peppermint schnapps, and you’ll have a cocktail that will really knock your socks off. Snowshoe Grog is great for winter picnics and ski trips because you can make big batches at a time. 

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Mexican Hot Chocolate will warm you up from the inside out. It’s creamy, chocolatey, and has just the right amount of “kick” at the end. If you want to make great Mexican Hot Chocolate, you need to start with some good ingredients. 

Use whole milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, pure vanilla extract, and some high-quality chocolate. Top the entire thing off with a pinch of cinnamon a chili powder, and you have a true winner.

Heat your milk, being careful not to scald it, and mix in your cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla extra, chili powder, and cinnamon. Whisk in your high-quality chocolate until it melts, and the Mexican Hot Chocolate is the consistency that you want it to be.  

Winter Margarita

What sets a Winter Margarita apart from its summery cousin? Winter margaritas contain classic seasonal flavors like cranberry and pomegranate juices. They are one of the best holiday cocktails to make if you want something a little outside of the box. Winter margaritas are always the star at my holiday parties.

You want to start off with great ingredients. Get fresh pomegranate and cranberry juice, as well as premium tequila. You can finish off your winter margarita with some orange liquor if you wish. Garnish it with a rock salt rim and some lime. You can make your winter margarita to taste, adding as much tequila as you want to be festive.  

Very Merry Bourbon Alexander

The Very Merry Bourbon Alexander hails from the southern part of the United States and is a delicious cocktail that will put an elegant and unexpected spin on your next holiday get-together. The one big downside to the Very Merry Bourbon Alexander is that this cocktail is a little bit difficult to produce in batches, so it’s better for a more intimate gathering.

You’ll need one ounce of bourbon, an ounce of half and half or cream, an ounce of creme de cocoa, a little bit of simple syrup to taste, a touch of salt, and an egg white. Combine your ingredients in a shaker, pour them into a glass, and top with some cranberries. 

Boozy Candy Cane Milkshake

If you love sugar and sweets and want a more adult version of your traditional Christmas cookies, try the Boozy Candy Cane Milkshake on for size. It’s full of peppermint, vanilla and has an adorable candy cane rim. You can stick the crushed candy canes to your glass with simple syrup or vanilla frosting. You can also use melted white chocolate.

For the milkshake itself, you’ll need four scoops of vanilla ice cream, half a cup of whipped cream or Cool Whip, half a cup of milk, and half a cup of peppermint schnapps. Garnish your shakes with whipped cream, crushed candy canes, and maybe a drizzle of chocolate syrup.  

Good Tidings

Good Tidings is a sophisticated drink that celebrates one of the season’s most classic ingredients: Cranberry. You can make this cocktail in batches and serve it in your punch bowl alongside a bowl of sugar encrusted cranberries that your guests can use to garnish their drinks. Unlike a lot of the other drinks on our list, Good Tidings is served cold.

Good Tidings is a combination of vodka, rum, Cointreau, a slight squeeze of lemon juice, cranberry juice, and allspice. Fill a chilled lowball glass with ice, and add the mixture. If you’re making individual servings of Good Tidings, you can use a shaker to combine the ingredients. Garnish with cranberries. 

Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine has been around since ancient times when Roman soldiers discovered that by heating up their wine, they could stave off the cold. Today, Mulled Wine is an easy way to incorporate a little bit of holiday cheer into your next gathering. I love it because it’s easy to make, universally appreciated, and makes your whole house smell amazing.

You always make Mulled Wine in batches, keeping it warm on the stove or your slow-cooker. Start off with a blended red wine and add a touch of brandy or orange liquor to taste. Now it’s time to add your spices. Add in whole spices; cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and a touch of nutmeg. Garnish with orange slices.   

Winter Snowflake Cocktail

If you’re looking for a delicious, decadent cocktail that incorporates all of the sweet flavors of the winter season, the Winter Snowflake Cocktail is a good bet. This cocktail doesn’t shy away from the sugar. Start off with a tablespoon of white chocolate chips and a similar amount of caramel sauce. Mix in half a cup of milk, a few ounces of Baileys Irish Cream, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. You can either heat this mixture on your stove or microwave it.

Once it’s warm and mixed together, top it off with whipped cream and just a delicate sprinkle of cinnamon. 

Eggnog Cocktail

Eggnog is one of the most iconic drinks of the season. While you can certainly buy it at the store, it’s so easy to make at home. Traditional eggnog calls for six egg yolks beaten until frothy, ¼ of sugar, ¼ of rum, ¾ cup brandy, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, 2 cups of milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, and a sprinkle of nutmeg on the top. It’s decadent and delicious.

Mix all of your ingredients together and chill until you’re ready to serve. You can garnish this cocktail with a cinnamon stick. 

Drunken Snowman Cocktail

The Drunken Snowman Cocktail has a lot to offer in terms of presentation and taste. If you have a sweet tooth, this cocktail was simply made for you. Dip the rims of your mugs in white chocolate, and then garnish with some milk chocolate shavings or sprinkles. 

Then, scoop some vanilla ice cream into the glass. The amount that you use is really up to you and the size of the glass.

Next, pour hot chocolate and Baileys over the ice cream and top the whole thing off with some whipped cream. Your ice cream will melt, and you’ll get a grown-up cocktail that you can write home about.  

Caramel Irish Coffee

If you love Irish Coffee, you’ll definitely fall for this caramel take on the classic. I love using this cocktail as a fantastic way to close out a dinner party or during a boozy holiday brunch. Start off with half a cup of brewed coffee. Add an ounce of Irish whiskey, an ounce of Baileys, and an ounce of butterscotch schnapps.

You can top the whole thing off with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel syrup. You can always tailor the amount of coffee and liquor that you put in to taste.   

Candy Cane Peppermint Mimosas

I find that these Candy Cane Peppermint Mimosas are absolutely perfect for brunches. They’re a fun holiday riff on your traditional mimosa and are sure to bring a smile to your guests’ faces every time. The key is peppermint vodka.

You can make your own vodka with candy canes and premium vodka or buy it from the store. Make sure that you get red-colored vodka if you want that festive color. Put an ounce of peppermint vodka into your glasses, then top with champagne. You can always change the proportions to taste if you’d like as well. 

Salted Caramel White Russian

This Salted Caramel White Russian is another great twist on a classic drink and one that will almost certainly become part of your holiday traditions moving forward. Start off with an ounce of Baileys Salted Caramel coffee liqueur, add two ounces of Salted Caramel vodka, one ounce of half and half or cream, and a drizzle of caramel syrup.  

Although you can’t make Salted Caramel White Russians in batches, they’re easy enough to prepare individually if you have all of the ingredients on hand. Shake the vodka, coffee liquor, and half and half in a chilled shaker, and then pour the mixture into a rocks glass coated with caramel syrup. Delicious!

Jingle Juice Punch

Jingle Juice Punch is a great party drink because it’s designed to be made in big batches. You can serve this punch in a festive punch bowl and let people add their own garnishes as they wish. Start off with four cups of sweetened cranberry juice. If you’re using unsweetened cranberry juice, add a little bit of extra sugar.

Add in two bottles of red wine, one bottle of Prosecco, and ½ a cup of vodka. Garnish the top with some frozen cranberries and springs of mint. Jingle Juice Punch certainly packs a kick and is one of the most potent and popular holiday-themed drinks.

Winter-Spiced Apple Cocktail

The Winter-Spiced Apple Cocktail is a deliciously fragrant and tasty drink with plenty of cinnamon and spiced apple flavor. If you’re looking for a drink that highlights the classic winter flavors of the season without being too overpowering, this is definitely it.

Start off with some apple juice or apple cider and warm it in a saucepan. Add cinnamon, cloves, a lemon peel, plus some dark rum. The amount of dark rum that you use is totally up to you. You can taste the mixture and add more if you need to.

Celebrating with friends and family is one of the joys of the holiday season. If you love entertaining as much as I do, these classic winter cocktails will make your next holiday party something to remember. Whether you opt for a huge, festive bowl of Jingle Juice Punch or some classic Very Merry Bourbon Alexanders, these cocktails will elevate your next get-together and make your guests as merry as possible.

Looking for some other fun cocktails to make? Check out these recipes for Fall themed cocktails.

Did we miss any amazing winter cocktails? Let us know what your favorite holiday tradition and cocktail is in the comments below. 

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.