With the semester over and a longer-than-average winter break underway, students and families alike are in search of some winter cheer. Whether you’re surrounded by snow or sand this break, here are some winter cocktail suggestions (and family-friendly options) to celebrate the season!
Classic Hot Chocolate
A time-honored winter classic, hot chocolate is endlessly adaptable to different tastes. Make your favorite hot chocolate and stir in a sweet liqueur for a finishing touch or a splash of whiskey for a heartier drink. Add Kahlúa for a coffee-inspired finish, crème de menthe for a minty one, Irish cream for sweet creaminess, or caramel or chocolate liqueur for a more classic flavor. Top with marshmallows or whipped cream for a delicious winter drink!
To make a rich hot chocolate from scratch, follow this recipe adapted from The New York Times:
- Boil 2 tbsp water in a small pot or saucepan with high sides.
- Whisk in 2 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened) to make a paste.
- Turn the heat to medium and add 1 cup milk (or your favorite non-dairy option), whisking to combine.
- Bring to a simmer and add 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped, and 2 tsp sugar.
- Turn heat to low and whisk until chocolate is melted
- Turn off heat and add 1.5 oz liqueur — selected according to your preference — or 1 oz whiskey. Whisk to combine, pour into a mug, and add your favorite topping.
Make it family-friendly: Instead of adding the whiskey or sweet liqueur at the end, stir in ½ tsp vanilla extract.
Though eggnog is generally associated with Christmas, it’s a creamy winter drink for all occasions. Buy or make eggnog, pour a small glass, and add 1.5 oz rum or whiskey. Stir to combine and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg for a simple and delicious cocktail!
Make it family-friendly: Leave out the rum or whiskey but keep the spice topping for a sweet, kid-friendly drink.
Mulled Apple Cider
This fall drink can easily last through the coldest months of the year. If you are in a warm climate, cool after mulling and serve over ice. Make a single serving by heating cider in the microwave with cinnamon and nutmeg sprinkled on top, then mix in a splash of rum or whiskey.
To serve a crowd, pour enough cider for each person to have a mug into a small pot. Add cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom pods, whole allspice, orange slices, and apple slices. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into mugs, then add 1.5 oz whiskey in each mug.
Make it family-friendly: Leave out the whiskey and enjoy a warm winter drink!
Another classic option, tea is endlessly adaptable. Brew your favorite tea to your desired strength and add a liquor that goes well with the flavor. Brandy goes well in many teas, but the exact combination is up to you! Cinnamon tea, brewed strong with a splash of brandy or scotch, is an excellent winter option.
Make it family-friendly: Just drink the tea!
Harvest Spice Cocktail
The most classic cocktail on this list is adapted from a Moscow Mule. Ginger beer with rum or bourbon and lime is a classic drink; add maple syrup or fruit juices to change up the flavor. Variations of this cocktail can reflect nearly any season. For a classic winter mix, try apple and maple.
To make a Harvest Spice, rim a glass in maple syrup and cinnamon sugar and add ice cubes. If you have a cocktail mixer, add 1.5 oz bourbon, 1 oz apple cider, ¼ oz lime juice, and a splash of maple syrup to the mixer and shake with ice. Pour over the ice in your glass and top with 1 oz ginger beer. If you don’t have a mixer, put all the ingredients straight in your glass and stir.
Make it family-friendly: Double the cider, lime, and maple syrup for a sweet and spicy mocktail.
Enjoy these winter drinks with family or on a Zoom cocktail night with friends!