5 Holiday Cockails To Warm You Up This Winter

I’ll be the first to admit that winter holds very few charms for me. Every day of the week I would rather be warm instead of cold, enjoying daylight at 5:30 in the afternoon, and living in jeans and a t-shirt.

One area, however, where winter totally owns summer is in the realm of the mixed drink. Whether it’s a simmering bowl of spiked cider or a single serving of rum and cranberry, there is something magical about warming yourself with the perfect beverage that, in my opinion, just doesn’t parallel the rest of the year.

To that end, I’ve gathered some of my favorite alcoholic drink recipes for this time of year. I’ve tried to keep the ingredients simple and the prep time short. Give these a try with a loved one or for your next party and enjoy the one upside to long cold nights: a drink that warms you to your toes.

1) Cinnamon Apple Manhattan
No self respecting list of winter drinks would be complete without at least one recipe that featured both cinnamon and apple. Since I love a good Manhattan, I had to go with this drink from the mixologists at 121 Fulton Street in the actual boro of Manhattan.

A little Apple Pucker and a dash of cinnamon turns a traditional Manhattan into a wonderful seasonal treat.

2 oz Bulleit Bourbon (or other rye bourbon)
3/4 oz Apple Pucker
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 dash bitters (Angostura is my preference)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake thoroughly to mix and chill, strain into glass and garnish with a thin slice of apple and cinnamon stick.

2) The Rosemary Gimlet
This delicious twist on an old favorite is like drinking a snow covered Christmas tree (minus the needles stuck in your throat).

Easily acquired ingredients and super simple prep make this one of my absolute favorites, and a wonderful addition to your winter drink repertoire.

2 oz gin
3/4 oz fresh lime juice (very important this is fresh squeezed)
3/4 oz rosemary syrup

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds (a thin film of ice particles are a nice touch) then pour into a chilled martini glass and garnish with sprig of rosemary.

To make the rosemary syrup, simply chop 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary into coarse chunks and add the rosemary to 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar over low heat. Slowly stir until the sugar is completely dissolved then remove from heat. Once cool, filter syrup into an airtight container. If refrigerated, the mixture will keep for up to two weeks, but I would be very surprised if it wasn’t used up long before that.

Recipe courtesy of David Lebovitz

3) The Merry Jerry
My personal rule is that spiced rum is only to be consumed after the winter equinox but once its time has come, I add it to everything.

There are plenty of options when it comes to spiced rum but my favorite is Sailor Jerry and a terrific drink to make with it is the Merry Jerry. The drink itself is delightful and the cranberry syrup will have your house smelling like a winter wonderland.

1.5 oz Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
3 oz ginger beer (I prefer Fevertree)
3/4 oz cranberry syrup

Mix rum and cranberry syrup together until thoroughly blended. Pour over ice then slowly add ginger beer.

The best cranberry syrup recipe I’ve had can be found here. The ingredients are easily obtained, the process is simple and your house will smell amazing. Give it a try!

4) Burn Down the Orchard
This drink is an original creation from my friend Daniel Warshaw. The grade B maple syrup is an important component so make sure you get the good stuff! Grade B maple syrup can most often be found in the organic section of your grocery store and it’s definitely worth the extra effort.

2 oz rye bourbon
1 oz fresh cider
3/4 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 oz grade B maple syrup
1 dash apple bitters, or Angostura if no apple available

Combine in your tins with ice, shake vigorously, and double strain into a coupe glass to remove ice chips.

Garnish with a thin sliced apple ring to float on top.

5) Long Faced Dove
To me, tequila always seems more fitting in a summertime setting but for the Long Faced Dove, I will always make an exception. Grapefruit and Campari combine to create a drink that is sweet, savory, tart and delicious. This recipe makes enough for six drinks so bring this out at your next gathering and give your guests something special.

9 oz silver tequila
3 oz Campari
4 1/2 oz fresh pink grapefruit juice (~4 grapefruits)
4 1/2 oz lime juice (~9 limes)
2 oz simple syrup (or more to taste, depending on the sweetness of your grapefruit)
3 oz ginger beer (Fevertree, if possible)
Garnish: 6 lime wheels

Combine tequila, Campari, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and simple syrup in a serving pitcher. Add 2 cups ice and stir for 15 seconds. Add ginger beer and stir gently.

Divide cocktail between 6 glasses and garnish with lime wheel.

Recipe courtesy of Serious Eats (a great site for recipes, techniques and inspiration)

Bonus – Champagne Cocktail Bar
Like its spicy cousin, the Bloody Mary Bar, the Champagne Bar is a great way to experiment and provide a fun, creative experience for your party guests.

Mixing instructions are as easy as, aim for a ratio of 1 parts juice to 2 parts bubbly and then adjust to taste.

Take the following list of suggestions as a place to start and make it your own!

• Don’t use expensive champagne or sparkling wines. Prosecco, Cremant and Riesling work just fine. Don’t use rosé, too many additional flavors.

• Provide a nice assortment of fresh juices. Orange, cranberry, pineapple, and peach all work nicely.

• For an extra kick of citrus, a bottle of Limoncello is a great option.

• Set out a bowl of sugar cubes and bottles of aromatic and orange bitters. The sugar cube can be added to the glass, splashed with bitters then topped off with the bubbly (this is a recipe for a classic champagne cocktail).

Arm yourself with these 5 (and a bonus) great, easy recipes and winter’s long cold nights become a blessing, not a curse. Whether you’re whipping up a Cinnamon Apple Manhattan for a cozy evening with a loved one or setting up an award-winning Champagne Cocktail Bar for your next party, you may find yourself (like me) actually looking forward to the winter months.


Lead designer Daniel Brown was a mixologist in a previous life, and has the fancy mustache to prove it.

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