When the temperatures start to dip, you’ll want to perfect a few cocktail recipes for winter that’ll warm you from within.
There’s no arguing the fact that there are parts of Asia that don’t see much cold, even during the winter season (shout-out to Thailand and Singapore for always bringing the tropical heat). However, just because it’s not snowing outside doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a cosy cocktail.
There are plenty of tipples to choose from, whether you want to keep things classic with tried-and-tested recipes, whip up a sweet concoction for your femme du jour, or enjoy a festive tipple (‘tis the season, after all).
Below, you’ll find recipes (and a little history lesson) for each of our favourite winter warmers. The best part? They’re all delicious and easy to make quickly when the need strikes.
Very Merry Bourbon Alexander
Inspired by the dessert-like Brandy Alexander – which was created during Prohibition at New York’s Hotel Rector – this is an appropriately festive cocktail that packs a little more punch than its sweeter counterpart.
1oz crème de cacao
1oz half and half
1 egg white
Dash of simple syrup
Dash of salt
Throw all ingredients in a shaker, add ice and shake like your life depends on it. When you’re done, strain into a coupe and garnish with a little nutmeg, cranberries and a sprig of rosemary.
Winter Spiced Old Fashioned
The classic Old Fashioned cocktail has been around since the 1800s, but this winter version gets an extra kick of spice that’ll warm your cockles when it gets cold outside.
0.5oz winter spiced simple syrup (clove, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg)
2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes aromatic bitters
1 cinnamon stick to garnish
Start by making your own winter spiced simple syrup by simmering simple syrup with clove, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg in a 1:1 ratio. When it’s ready, stir all your ingredients together with ice, and strain into a lowball. Throw in a cinnamon stick for extra flair.
Honey Buttered Rum
This is the kind of drink you want on hand for a Netflix and chill session with your favourite partner in crime. It’s sweet, warming and utterly decadent, and very quick to whip up.
1 tablespoon softened butter
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Dash of ground cinnamon
Dash of ground nutmeg
Dash of ground allspice
Splash of vanilla extract
2oz dark rum
5oz hot water
In a mug, muddle together the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and vanilla extract. When everything is properly combined, just pour in the rum and top the whole thing off with hot – not boiling – water.
When Joe Sheridan created the Irish Coffee in 1943, this robust, warming concoction of coffee and whiskey was probably needed to ward off the cool Irish weather. While you won’t get the same kind of chill during the Asian winter, it’s still a popular pick-me-up. It may sound deceptively simple, but to pull this off well, you’ll want to approach this cocktail with the artistry required of an award-winning latte.
4oz rich, strong coffee
1.5oz Irish whiskey
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1oz lightly whipped heavy cream
Prepare the ultimate comfort drink by first warming your (heat-proof) glass or mug and preparing your stellar coffee. When you’re ready, pour the sugar into the bottom of the mug, pour over the coffee, stir well, then add the whiskey. Finally, float the cream over the top of the drink by pouring it over the back of a warm spoon. If you’re looking to impress, garnish the whole thing with chocolate shavings.
Cranberry and Cinnamon Whiskey Sour
This seasonal twist on a popular cocktail is all about balance. It is – as the name suggests – sour, but a well-chosen whiskey and a judicious dash of simple syrup will even things out. To make things easy, start with the measurements in the recipe then adjust for taste if necessary.
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 cinnamon sticks
¾ cup whiskey (or bourbon)
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup lime juice
Method (makes four cocktails)
Throw the cranberries, water, sugar and cinnamon into a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil over
Cranberry Ginger Mule
There’s some dispute as to who actually was responsible for the invention of the Moscow Mule. What isn’t in doubt, though, is that it was invented in New York in 1941, and that this take on the classic will quickly get you in the festive spirit.
4oz ginger beer
Handful of fresh cranberries
Start by muddling the cranberries in a small bowl – the more juice you extract, the more tang you’ll get in your drink. Combine the vodka and ginger beer in a glass over ice, and top with the muddled cranberries. Don’t forget to serve in the requisite copper mug.
This classic cocktail doesn’t require much effort on your part, and it’s suitable for all types of occasions – and pairs well with a variety of food. You can easily to adapt this to suit your personal preferences by choosing a particular type of whiskey, or drying it out with dry vermouth and a lemon twist, for example, but either way it’ll go down a treat when the temperatures start to drop.
1oz sweet vermouth
2-3 dashes of Angostura Bitters
A cherry to garnish
Pour all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, and stir until well combined. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a cherry, and Bob’s your uncle.
This elegant cocktail began life as a prophylactic – in the mid-1880s, French Foreign Legionnaires were encouraged to drink Dubonnet Rouge (which contains quinine) to guard themselves against malaria. These days, it’s better known as the cocktail of choice of the Queen of England, who’s known to knock a few back with her meals. This classic recipe is perfectly dry and balanced, and makes a great winter warmer.
1.5oz Dubonnet Rouge
1 dash of orange bitters
Lemon twist to garnish.
Combine all the ingredients (except the garnish) in a mixing glass with ice, and stir until combined and cold. Strain with a julep strainer, and serve in a chilled coupe glass with the lemon twist garnish.
Popular as a winter nightcap and as a remedy for colds and flus, this classic cocktail should be in your cocktail arsenal, and not just for winter. Keep this recipe on hand for any time you’re feeling a little under the weather.
1.5oz whiskey (or brandy or rum)
1 tablespoon honey
½ oz fresh lemon juice
8oz hot water
1 tea bag
Heat the water and steep the tea. While that’s happening, warm up your mug, coat the bottom with honey, and add your booze of choice and the lemon juice. When the tea is steeped, pour that into the mug, give it a quick stir, then sit back and enjoy.
No, this isn’t a recipe for a twee guesthouse. This simple, classic cocktail combines two popular remedial liqueurs into one comforting drink that works well as post-dinner tipple or nightcap.
For a classic B&B, pour the Benedictine into a warmed brandy snifter, then stir in the brandy or float it into the glass over the back of a bar spoon. If you prefer a cooler version, don’t warm the snifter, and add a bit of ice before you start drinking.