Your skinny mojito might be great for your New Year’s resolutions, but the attendees of your next ugly sweater party will not be impressed. Winter cocktails need to be warm and hearty to have a place at your next holiday shindig — or next to you on the couch under a warm blanket.
1) An Apple (Cider) a Day
Warm apple cider can be quite the crowd pleaser on a cold Friday night. Drinking cider dates back to America’s first English settlers, who created the drink because grains for making beer weren’t available.
During Prohibition, many cider farms were burned to the ground, and cider’s popularity didn’t rise again until recently, when apples became cheaper because of globalized farming.
Here is a simple recipe from DivineCaroline.com that uses bourbon:
- 2 quarts apple cider
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 cup high proof bourbon
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons whole cloves
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
Directions: Mix all ingredients except bourbon in pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add bourbon and stir. Immediately strain and serve. May be garnished with fresh orange or lemon slice or a cinnamon stick in each mug. And feel free to add bourbon individually as desired.
2) Be Toddy for the Party
A hot toddy can be a great way to escape the winter cold.
"Toddy" is a term for any drink that mixes spirits, sugar and hot water. Evidence of the drink’s existence dates back to the 1700s, where it might have been invented in the Todian Spring in Scotland, according to CBS Detroit, or in India, where "toddy" is a term for coconut tree sap.
This recipe from CBS Detroit can be modified to the contents of your liquor cabinet:
- 1 ounce brandy, rum or whiskey
- 1 ounce honey
- 4 ounces hot water
- 1 lemon slice with whole cloves pierced into the rind
- 1 cinnamon stick
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a glass mug. Place water in a teapot and bring to a rolling boil. Add water to fill mug. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. You can also substitute 4 ounces of ginger ale for the water.
3) Brass Coffee
Perhaps the only way to add to the warmth of coffee in the winter is to add liquor. Irish coffee was created during World War II when some of the first transatlantic plane passengers went from the US to County Limerick, Ireland, according to TheNibble.com. A restaurant was created to welcome passengers, and the legend is that Chef Joseph Sheridan created the drink.
Here is a simple recipe from Esquire.
- 2 ounces Irish whiskey
- 5 to 6 ounces coffee
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Heavy cream
Directions: Pour the whiskey, coffee, and sugar into a stemmed, heated glass mug. Stir, then top off with a thick layer of lightly whipped heavy cream. If too lazy to bother whipping the stuff, just pour an ounce or two in over the back of a spoon. In either case, don’t stir it in, and really don’t drizzle cr me de menthe over the top.
4) Sippin’ on Gin and Green Tea
If yoga isn’t enough to help you relax, this "kinky tea" from Shape.com could help you get your Zen on.
Try out this recipe:
- 1 small bag green tea
- 3 ounces gin
- 2 lemon slices
- 1/4 ounce Splenda syrup or other sweetener like simple syrup
Directions: Put tea bag into a glass with gin and heat for 30 seconds. Remove tea bag, squeeze one lemon slice into gin and add sweetener. Transfer to an ice-filled shaker, shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with remaining lemon slice.
5) Red Mulled Wine
Now that there’s no more holiday family drama to escape, here’s a use for all that leftover wine. One of the most popular red wine creations for the winter months is mulled wine, which was possibly invented during medieval times. The word "mulled" literally means "spiced and heated," according to The Weekly Murmur, a Harvard Medical School publication.
Making the wine is easy — mix in some sweet flavors like orange, cinnamon and cloves, and you have a nice drink to keep you warm.
Here is an easy version from Food.com:
- 1 orange, sliced and seeded
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 bottle red wine
Directions: Combine the orange, sugar, water, and spices in a large stainless steel or enameled pot. Slowly bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat, add the wine, and slowly reheat but do not boil. Serve warm in mugs.
From hot buttered rum to hot buttered chai, there are plenty of fun ways to use butter in your winter cocktails. And everyone know butter is the warmest of the fats.
Here are a couple of cocktail ideas that incorporate butter:
6) Emeril Lagasse’s Hot Buttered Rum (Food.com)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Pinch of salt
- 1 bottle dark rum
- Boiling water
Directions: In a bowl, mix the butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Refrigerate until almost firm. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture into 12 small mugs. Pour about 3 ounces of rum into each mug (filling about halfway). Top with boiling water (to fill the remaining half), stir well and serve immediately.
7) Hot Buttered Chai (SeriousEats.com)
- 1 stick room temperature butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- One 2 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into 4 pieces
- 5 chai tea bags
- 8 ounces brandy
- 16 ounces boiling water
Directions: In a small bowl, mix the butter and brown sugar with a wooden spoon until evenly incorporated and divide into four mugs. Place the ginger and teabags in a heat-safe dish. Pour 16 ounces of boiling water over and let them steep for 4 minutes, then strain. Pour 2 ounces of brandy in each mug and then pour 4 ounces of steeped tea on top. Mix with a spoon until the batter is fully melted into the tea. Serve immediately.