Three Simple Winter Cocktails to Make at Home
We made it to November and the holidays are in full swing. After getting through the subdued 2020 holiday season, it’s time to kick things up a notch this year. That includes good food, aromas of cinnamon and pine, and of course, festive beverages.
While it may seem intimidating, making a tasty winter-themed cocktail at home is totally doable. If you’re hosting a holiday party or simply relaxing with friends and family, these winter cocktail recipes are a must-try!
If you’re a fan of sangria, you’ll love mulled wine. It’s conceptually similar but with a few different spices. It’s also served warm which makes it a great alternative to hot apple cider. Mulled wine takes less than 10 minute to make and will leave your kitchen smelling fabulous.
To start, gather the following ingredients:
- Dry Red Wine: Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, or a dry red blend are good options.
- Spices: Get some whole cloves, star anise, and cinnamon sticks. You don’t need to go overboard with these. A little goes a long way!
- Citrus: Orange works well (rind and the juice).
- Sweetener: You can add sugar, maple syrup, or honey.
- Liquor: it’s quite common to find versions that have a bit of brandy, cognac, bourbon, rum, or even port to the mix (a small amount, like 1/4 – 1/2 cup). It’s not necessary but can be a fun addition.
To create your spiced wine, combine the wine, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, honey, juice, and zest of one orange in a saucepan. Simmer the mixture on low for 10 minutes then pour. It’s as simple as that. Garnish your drink with an orange slice or cinnamon stick for an added touch.
If you’re prepping mulled wine for a holiday party or bigger group, use a slow cooker or crock pot to make larger batches. This will also keep the house warm and smelling like the holidays.
There are many ways to spice up (no pun intended) this holiday classic. Most eggnog recipes contain eggs mixed with sugar, milk or cream, and liquor. You can add various liquors (or none), and there are even some options without egg. You can also buy it pre-made from the store and mix it with whichever alcohol you prefer.
We’re going to focus on a sweet eggnog cocktail recipe that tastes like a milkshake. Mix everything together in a shaker then pour.
- 1 ounce Amaretto
- 1 ounce vodka
- 2 ounces eggnog
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- 1 pinch of cinnamon
If you are feeling culinary, you can add flare to your spiked eggnog by integrating different garnishes to the rim or on top. In addition to staples like cinnamon and nutmeg, you could add whipped cream, cherries, and/or chocolate or caramel syrup.
If you’re into darker alcohol, a hot toddy is the perfect fit. This whiskey-based drink is a natural fit for the holiday season and also a well-known drink to reduce cold symptoms. Plus, they’re super easy to make!
Hot toddies are excellent for more mellow evenings. It’s a drink you’ll want to sip slowly and enjoy. Simple to create, a hot toddy is made up of warm water, whiskey, honey, and lemon. Play around with the amount of lemon and honey you add to your mixture to reach the best fit for your tastebuds.
You can also test swapping out whiskey for brandy or dark rum. Some folks also add a tea bag to their hot water for added flavor. Garnish with a lemon round and/or an optional cinnamon stick for added sweetness.
These are just a few of the classic holiday cocktails that are easy for even the most novice mixologist to put together. No matter your taste preference, there’s something that’s a fit for everyone. Cheers!