The Best Hot Cocktails for Cold Winter Weather
Even if you’re not a fan of winter, chilly temperatures are the perfect excuse to stay inside and knock back a cup of hot booze. But don’t settle for some bottom-shelf peppermint schnapps poured haphazardly into a cup of microwaved hot cocoa. Step your game up this year and make something people will remember.
Here’s a few of our favorite hot cocktail recipes, including some new and different takes on classic concoctions, as well as a few that you’ve probably never heard of. Enjoy!
Salty Maple Buttered Cider
Mother of god. Just the name of this drink makes you drool — and it tastes even better than it sounds.
- Maldon salt (or Jacobsen Salt, if you can find it)
- Half of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon softened butter
- 2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1/2 vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped out
- 4 ounces dark rum
- 8 ounces apple cider
Scatter Maldon salt on a small plate. Rub the rim of two heatproof glasses or mugs with the lemon half, then dip in salt. Combine the butter, maple syrup, and vanilla bean seeds in small bowl. Set aside. Combine rum and cider in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Pour into prepared glasses, then top each with half of the butter. Serve immediately.
The original boulevardier is an amazing drink. It’s basically like a negroni that’s made with whiskey instead of gin. In this variation, the combination is served warm, stirred into a steaming saucepan of hot apple cider.
- 8 ounces apple cider
- 4 ounces rye whiskey
- 2 ounces Campari
- 2 ounces sweet vermouth
- Garnish: 2 orange twists
The process is ridiculously easy. Just pour your apple cider into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. When it starts bubblin’, add rye whiskey, Campari, and vermouth, and stir until it returns to a simmer. Next, divide the mixture between two heatproof mugs or glass serving glasses, garnish with orange twist and serve immediately.
Aztec Hot Chocolate
You’ve probably had boozy hot cocoa before, but not like this. Instead of the usual additions like peppermint schnapps or bourbon, this recipe incorporates mezcal and ancho chilies. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever tried before, and it’s f*&@ing delicious.
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- pinch kosher salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 6 cinnamon sticks
- 1 whole dried ancho chile pod, split
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
- 5 ounces mezcal
- Chile powder, cocoa nib, and/or dark chocolate shavings for garnish
In medium saucepan, stir cocoa with sugar and salt. Next, Stir in milk, 2 cinnamon sticks, ancho chile, and bittersweet chocolate. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and mixture is hot. Gently whisk to completely homogenize mixture. Simmer over low heat, whisking occasionally, until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Carefully drain and discard chile and cinnamon sticks. After that’s done, return to the pot and add mezcal. Heat through. Using a hand blender, a milk frother, or a whisk, beat the chocolate until foamy, then divide into four glasses. Garnish with chile powder, cocoa nib (or chocolate shavings), and a cinnamon stick. Serve immediately.
Hendricks Hot Gin Punch
It’s not often that gin makes an appearance in a hot drink, but this recipe is a delicious exception. Be warned though: this recipe makes a LOT of punch, so cut the measurements in half if you’re entertaining a smaller group.
- 24 oz Hendrick’s Gin
- 24 oz Madeira wine
- 6 Lemon twists
- 1 Orange slice
- 3 large chunks Pineapple
- 3 oz Honey
- 1 oz Fresh lemon juice
- 3 Cloves
- 1 pinch Ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Brown sugar
Add all the ingredients to a large saucepan (or crock pot) and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. To serve, pour the hot mixture into a punch bowl or teapot (or just leave it in the crock pot) and garnish with orange slices studded with cloves. Pairs really well with gingerbread if you’re hungry.
Glühwein is the bomb. If you’re not familiar, it’s basically just a type of mulled wine that’s popular in Germany and other parts of Europe. They make it in huge batches and serve it by the flagon at German christmas markets, and I’m baffled as to why it’s not more popular in the States. If you’ve never tried it or made it yourself before, you’re missing out. The thing is, there’s not really a hard-set recipe for how to make it. It’s one of those open-ended things that everyone has their own unique take on. Therefore, we’ve designed an open-ended recipe that helps you get the foundation right, and allows you to build on it however you like. Jump over to our full article to see it.
Moloko’s Hot Toddy
Arguably one of the best hot toddies in the observable universe, Moloko’s take on this classic cocktail is as delicious as it is unique. Hit up our full article to get an in-depth video tutorial.
- 2 oz Woodford Reserve bourbon
- 1/2 oz honey syrup
- 1/2 oz orange juice
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 orange slice w/ whole clove
- 4 oz hot water
First, pour hot water into your glass to temper it and ensure that it doesn’t cool your drink. It’s a hot toddy, not a lukewarm toddy, so this is an important and commonly-overlooked step. Next, squeeze your lemon and orange juice using your method of choice, cut off an orange slice, and slip pieces of clove into the orange. Pour out the hot water you used for tempering the glass, then add your bourbon. Splash in your lemon juice, orange juice, and honey simple syrup. Next, you’re going to add your cinnamon stick and be-cloved orange slice (and straw, if you like). Pour in about 4oz of hot water, stir, and enjoy!