What exactly is it about winter cocktails that makes them “winter” cocktails?
Is it simply their chilly names, such as the Jack Frost cocktail or the drunken snowman cocktail?
Maybe it’s the way they look – white and snowy or covered in reds, greens, and light pinks.
In truth, it’s both of those things and more. Winter cocktails look wintery, have wintery names, and are full of wintery ingredients.
They’re often garnished with candy canes, snow-white sugar, cranberries, and cinnamon.
They just have this overall sense of winter and the holiday spirit.
And these are 25 of the very best of them.
1. Mulled Wine
Although it doesn’t have a cute, winter-themed name, mulled wine is one of the most well-known of all the winter cocktails, primarily thanks to its delightful aroma of wine, maple syrup, cinnamon, star anise, and cloves.
While it’s warming, this drink will make your whole house smell fantastic.
If you haven’t yet gotten into the “holiday spirit,” it can certainly help get you there.
If you’re a fan of chocolate and candy canes, you’ll go nuts for the candy cane cocktail.
Using regular vodka, vanilla vodka, and candy canes, you’ll make homemade candy cane vodka.
Then you’ll mix that with Crème de Cacao, Angostura bitters, and more candy canes.
The result is a light, refreshing drink that’s a bit chocolatey, a bit minty, and 100% yummy. It smells terrific, too.
Also, be sure you start working on this one a few days ahead of time if you want to make it. Making the candy cane-infused vodka takes a few days.
If you like your drinks warm, creamy, and full of flavor, you’ll love the winter snowflake cocktail.
To make this drink, you’ll start with a base of Baileys Irish Cream and milk.
Then, you’ll add white chocolate chips, caramel sauce, and vanilla extract. You’ll melt and mix it all together.
Once it’s hot and creamy, add your additional ingredients – whipped cream, cinnamon, more caramel sauce, etc.
This is one hot, sweet, decadent drink that you won’t want to miss.
This drink is like an eggnog martini, only you’ll “salt” the rim margarita-style with some rich, delicious caramel sauce.
Between the eggnog, Amaretto, vodka, nutmeg, and cinnamon, it’s hard to decide what to love most about this rich, smooth drink.
(The strong vodka certainly doesn’t hurt, though.)
If you’re looking for a cocktail that looks as good as it tastes, you can’t overlook the Jack Frost cocktail.
It’s a gorgeous shade of frosty teal that looks like a window freezing over in December.
The shredded coconut flakes around the rim of the glass complete the snowy, wintry look. The drink tastes phenomenal, as well.
You’ll make it with blue curacao, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and your choice of vodka or light rum.
(I like rum; it pairs well with the tropical flavors of coconut and pineapple.)
It’s sweet, light, and more potent than you’d think.
6. Hot Toddy
Want a drink that’ll really warm you up this winter? Break out this recipe for the original hot toddy.
With whiskey, honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon, you can get a little tipsy and ease any sore throats that you might have gotten from the winter weather.
The great thing about a frozen mudslide is that it’s the ideal drink for either summer or winter.
In the summer, it’s cold, icy, and will help you cool down after a hot day.
In the winter, it still works because of its delightful winter/holiday appearance and its festive chocolate, vanilla, and whipped cream decadence.
Plus, it’s equally delicious no matter when you drink it.
This enchanting, bubbly drink is both sweet and tart, light and refreshing.
It’s a five-ingredient, 5-minute drink that you can make with practically nothing but a shaker and a champagne flute.
It’s also deceptively strong, thanks to the champagne and tequila.
When you start breaking out the hot chocolate ingredients for winter, make sure to grab the rum, as well.
You’ll be surprised how much faster you warm up after a cold day when there’s a bit of rum in your evening cup of hot chocolate.
10. Irish Coffee
While coffee is pretty much a year-round staple, its warm, caffeinated yumminess is particularly wonderful on cold winter days.
Add some Irish whiskey, maple syrup, and whipped cream for an especially tasty treat.
Let’s not mince words here: This drink is total decadence.
One look at the ingredients list can tell you that: melted white chocolate, milk chocolate shavings, vanilla ice cream, hot chocolate, Baileys Irish Cream, and whipped cream.
If it weren’t for the Baileys, it would look more like something you’d order at Dairy Queen than a cocktail.
Still, despite the cold ingredients, this super sweet, terrifically tasty drink will warm your belly up in no time.
These perfectly pink peppermint mimosas are the ideal drink for wintertime brunches or lunches. They’re lovely, minty, and not overly sweet.
13. Yule Mule
If you’re looking for a beautiful, holiday-themed drink that’ll brighten up any winter table, you have to try the yule mule.
It’s a lovely red and green cocktail garnished with rosemary and cranberries.
It’s a tangy, slightly bitter drink, but in a good, robust way that’s hard not to enjoy.
14. Cranberry Mimosa
There’s no better time for cranberries than fall and winter, which is why the cranberry mimosa is so well-suited for the holiday season.
Plus, this delightfully festive drink is so easy to make.
All you’ll need is cranberry juice and champagne! That’s it!
However, if you want this delightful, deep-red cocktail to really look like a drink that’s ideal for winter, you’ll also want to add fresh cranberries to the glass and sparkling sugar around the rim.
It just gives it a more cold, wintry look.
15. White Russian
If you like your drinks strong and creamy, the White Russian is one of your best bets.
All you’ll need is vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream. This drink will give you your buzz and your daily caffeine boost all at the same time.
This White Russian takes the original drink to a whole new level, mainly by adding a whole lot of caramel to it.
The addition of caramel-flavored vodka, caramel sauce, and coarse sea salt gives it a whole new flavor – a much sweeter, much richer flavor that you won’t be able to resist.
You’ll have to first infuse your whiskey with toasted pecans for this drink, which takes a few days.
Once that’s done, though, it’s just a matter of mixing the whiskey, sugar cubes, Angostura bitters, and one large, round ice cube.
It’s a fantastic, nutty drink, and if your dad was anything like mine, it’ll have you reminiscing about sitting at his feet, a large, warm fire in the hearth.
I’ve never actually drunk a glass of snow, but I imagine it would look a bit like this if I did.
As for the flavor, it’s somewhat mild, with hints of vanilla and peppermint to it.
Just don’t drink it around the kiddos. It looks like a giant milkshake, complete with a cherry on top. They might be tempted to take a sip.
The snowshoe grog cocktail might have an odd name, but if you’re looking for something traditional, strong, with just a bit of mintiness, this drink is the one for you.
You’ll only need two ingredients and about 3 minutes to whip it up.
This smoky-sweet drink is another simple, straightforward option that the men in your life will love. There’s nothing fruity, “girly,” or pink about it.
However, thanks to the honey and orange juice (from the wedges), there’s a slight sweetness that helps cut down on the bourbon’s kick.
The sage adds another level of complexity.
If you’re looking for a gorgeous, sparkling yellow cocktail that’s perfect for New Year’s Eve, check out this recipe for sparkling winter punch.
It has a base of vodka, orange juice, and champagne with a simple syrup of filtered water, rosemary, and honey.
You’ll add a few rosemary sprigs and orange slices for garnishes.
The ice will keep it nice and chilled.
This pretty pink punch requires only three ingredients – whipped vodka, champagne, and Cherry 7-Up – and it takes less than 5 minutes to mix them.
It’s light and refreshing, and once you toss in a few cranberries as a garnish, it looks incredibly festive and will liven up your holiday table.
This tart and tangy drink will have you singing Christmas carols before you know it.
Full of cranberry juice cocktail, peach schnapps, and vodka, there’s quite a bit of alcohol in this drink.
It’s more fruity than alcohol-like in taste, so you can quickly drink enough to make you drunk without knowing it. Proceed with caution.
There’s something overtly winter-like about apple cider, so it makes sense that this winter-spiced apple cocktail is popular in the colder months of the year.
It’s a relatively simple drink to make. All you’ll need is apple juice, an apple, dark rum, lemon peels, cloves, and a cinnamon stick.
The flavor, too, is simple, but it’s very tasty, especially if you’re an apple cinnamon fan.
Wassail is another option for those of us who love apples. The two share several ingredients – lemons, a cinnamon stick, and apple cider (or apple juice).
For a traditional wassail, though, you’ll use bourbon instead of rum, and you’ll also add some ginger, star anise, and half a vanilla bean.
It tastes phenomenal, but some would insist that it smells even better.
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