The Best Hot Cocktails to Battle the Cold Winter Weather

hot cocktails
After a day spent outside in frigid temperatures, nothing is more satisfying than a hot cocktail. It’s one thing to feel the heat from the mug radiate through your hands into the rest of your body, but then when you consider the shot or two of booze you’ve mixed in? That, friends, is called a win-win.

The only thing left to do, then, is figure out what kind of hot cocktail to make. Below, we’ve collected some riffs on classics so that every taste profile is satisfied. Whether you’re looking for a classy (and classic) hot toddy, or you want the smoky flavors of mezcal to shine through your hot cocoa, we’ve got you covered. (Also, don’t forget about glühwein, you’re new favorite kind of mulled wine!)

Salty Maple Buttered Cider

Salty Maple Buttered Cider

Method: 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.

Hot Orchard Boulevardier

Hot Orchard Boulevardier
  • 4 oz rye whiskey
  • 2 oz Campari
  • 2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 8 oz apple cider
  • Orange twist to garnish

Method: Pour your apple cider into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. When it starts bubblin’, add rye whiskey, Campari, and vermouth. 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.

Earl Grey Hot Toddy

Earl Grey Hot Toddy
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 4 oz hot water
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 bag Earl Grey tea

Method: Add bourbon, lemon, and honey to a heatproof mug. Make Earl Grey tea as usual, then add to mug. Stir to mix, garnish with a lemon wedge, and enjoy.

Aztec Hot Chocolate

Aztec Hot Chocolate
  • 5 oz mezcal
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • .25 cups cocoa powder
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 whole dried ancho chile, split
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • Kosher salt
  • Chile powder, cocoa nib, and/or dark chocolate shavings for garnish
  • Marshmallows to garnish (optional)

Method: In medium saucepan, stir cocoa with sugar and salt. Next, stir in milk, 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, cocoa nib (or chocolate shavings), a cinnamon stick, and marshmallows. Serve immediately.

Hendrick’s Hot Gin Punch

Hendricks Hot Gin Punch
  • 24 oz Hendrick’s Gin
  • 24 oz Madeira wine
  • 6 lemon twists
  • 1  orange slice
  • 3 large pineapple chunks pineapple
  • 3 oz honey
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg

Method: 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.

Article originally published on December 24, 2015. Last update January 4, 2017 by Sam Slaughter.

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