4 Festive Wintery Cocktails

Fresh-Fruit Cocktail
Photo: Levi Brown

4 Festive Wintery Cocktails

01 of 05

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Mexican Hot Chocolate - Winter Drinks - Winter Drinks Recipes
Dyad Photography

As the sun sets and the cold weather rolls in, holiday entertaining can finally begin. Treat your guests to something different this season...it's never too late to start a new holiday tradition!

Instead of end-of-the-evening coffee, serve up rich Mexican hot chocolate. Made with cinnamon, chile powder, and spiked with chocolate liqueur, it's just a little bit spicy-perfect for heating things up.

*2 cups reduced-fat evaporated milk
*½ cup whole milk
*½ cup chocolate liqueur
*1 tsp vanilla extract
*¼ cup sugar
*1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
*1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
*¼ tsp ancho chile powder (plus a few pinches for garnish)
*2 cinnamon sticks
*1 dried red chile
*2 ½ oz. bittersweet chocolate, in pieces (plus shavings for garnish)
*¼ cup heavy whipping cream
*Whipped cream, for garnish

Whisk both milks, liqueur, vanilla, sugar, cocoa, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and chile powder in a heavy saucepan. Add 2 cinnamon sticks and chile, and heat until warm. Add chocolate, whisking until melted. Gently bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until liquid thickens and reduces slightly, whisking often, 10 minutes. Combine cream with remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon; beat until peaks form. Ladle cocoa into cups (avoiding the cinnamon sticks and whole chile!). Top with whipped cream; garnish with chile powder and shavings.

Serves 8

02 of 05

Hot Spotted Rum Cow

Hot Spotted Rum Cow - Winter Drinks - Drink Recipes
Dyad Photography

Traditional eggnog requires significant prep time. Instead, try this alternative spiked with vanilla beans and rum by Marleigh Riggins Miller of the bartending blog Sloshed.Hyperkinetic.org.

amp#149;5 cups milk
amp#149;4 vanilla beans, halved
amp#149;8 oz. aged rum (like Bacardi 8 or Old New Orleans 10)
amp#149;12 teaspoons sugar
amp#149;1 teaspoon Urban Moonshine
amp#149;Maple bitters (available at

amp#149;Star anise pods and cinnamon sticks, for garnish

Put milk in a saucepan; add vanilla seeds and pods. When milk is hot but not boiling, remove from heat and add rum, sugar and bitters. Stir to dissolve sugar, remove vanilla pods, and pour into warmed mugs. Garnish with star anise and cinnamon sticks.

Serves 8

03 of 05

Basil Gimlets

Basil Gimlets - Winter Drinks - Drink Recipes
Dyad Photography

Go green during the winter months with this cocktail dreamed up by Napa Valley chef Michael Chiarello, author of Michael Chiarello's Bottega. This is his fragrant take on the fresh-herb cocktail craze.

*Basil leaves
*8 oz. fresh lime juice
*4 oz. sugar
*4 oz. water
*12 oz. vodka
*4 oz. St-Germain elderflower liqueur

In a pitcher, muddle one large bunch of basil leaves with 8 oz. fresh lime juice and 4 oz. simple syrup (4 oz. sugar dissolved in 4 oz. boiling water, then cooled). When the basil's aroma becomes pronounced, pour in 12 oz. vodka and 4 oz. St-Germain elderflower liqueur. Strain and pour into chilled martini glasses. Garnish with a basil leaf.

Serves 8.

04 of 05

Hibiscus Tea with Vodka & Citrus

Hibiscus Tea with Vodka & Citrus - Winter Drinks - Drink Recipes
John Kernick

Tea isn't only for summer. Fake the heat with this hibiscus tea and citrus blend. Whether spiked with vodka or alcohol-free, it's a great twist to the traditional hot chocolates and coffees of the cold wintry evenings. But by all means, serve it warm if you're in the mood for hot tea.

*6 cups water
*3 cups dried hibiscus flowers ($12/lb;

*2 ½ cups sugar
*3 tablespoon lemon juice
*2 tablespoon lime juice
*1 ½ cups vodka, chilled
*2 cups ice
*Fresh slices of lemon for garnish

In a medium saucepan, combine water, hibiscus flowers, and sugar over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Allow mixture to cool for 25 minutes. Add lemon juice, lime juice and vodka. Pace ice in a tall pitcher. Strain tea into pitcher and discard flowers. Refrigerate until ready to use. Serve with a thin slice of lemon.

Serves 6

05 of 05

Fresh-Fruit Cocktail

Fresh-Fruit Cocktail
Levi Brown

This tropical, mellow blend of rum, fresh grape juice, and herbs will take you to a Zen place, promises Daniel Shoemaker of Teardrop Lounge in Portland, Oregon.

Serves 8
2 cups white rum (try Ron Matusalem Platino)
1¼ cups fresh-pressed grape juice (try Santa Cruz Organic Concord)
½ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup Yellow Chartreuse
1½ tbsp. amaro (try Averna)
½ cup tonic water (try aromatic, not-too-bitterFever Tree)
Seedless red grapes and/or lime wedges for garnish

Note: If serving in a punch bowl, make ice in large plastic food-storage containers. The bigger blocks will keep the drink from getting overly diluted.

Combine ingredients, except tonic water and garnishes, into a large pitcher and stir gently. Pour into collins glasses filled with ice and top with a splash of tonic. Garnish with the grapes or lime wedges (or both!).

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