The Best Winter Cocktails with Easy Recipes

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Bring out the flavors and smells of the holiday season in these delicious cocktails. Read on for some of my favorite winter cocktails.

This winter, while the kids are sipping hot cocoa and the family is watching the game or playing board games around the table—yes, my family still loves to play board games—how about whipping up some adult beverages? I love the flavors and smells of the holiday season, and when you can add a little of that to a delicious cocktail, it’s even better. Here are a few of my favorite picks for the best winter cocktails. Enjoy!

Recipe Tip: Check out our 12 Days of Christmas Cocktails series for even more fun winter cocktails.

The Best Winter Cocktails with Tequila

While tequila is a drink that many consider to be for summer and warmer weather, I love using tequila to craft a winter cocktail. With the right ingredients—and a good tequila—you’ll discover the smoky notes that most people don’t realize are in tequila.

Toasted Ghost Cocoa

The toasted ghost cocoa recipe comes to us courtesy of Ghost Tequila. This is a unique concept. They use 100% Blue Agave to craft tequila in the Casa Maestri distillery in Tequila, Mexico. Then, after distillation, they add a blend of bhut jolokia pepper extract to give the tequila a kick.

Toasted Ghost Cocoa. Photo courtesy Ghost Tequila


2 oz Ghost Tequila
3 TBLS Cocoa Powder
8 oz Milk (your choice)
1 oz Agave Syrup
¼ tsp Cinnamon (optional)


Add milk, cocoa powder, and cinnamon in a saucepan and heat over medium-low, continuously stirring until the mixture barely boils.
Remove from heat and let it cool just a few minutes.
Whisk in the Ghost Tequila and agave syrup.
Rim a glass with crushed peppermint candies, then pour the liquid into the rimmed glass.
Top with whipped cream.

Spicy Cranberry Margarita

This Spicy Cranberry Margarita is also made with Ghost Tequila. It is guaranteed to kick your holiday party up a notch. Can you imagine a better way to spice up the new year? This one is made with high-quailty tequila and fresh ingredients, offering a fun twist on a classic margarita.

Spicy Cranberry Margarita. Photo courtesy Ghost Tequila


2 oz. Ghost Tequila
4 oz Cranberry Juice
¾ oz Agave Syrup
¾ oz Triple Sec
¾ oz Lime Juice
Fresh Rosemary Sprig
Fresh Cranberries
Citrus Sugar


Add Ghost Tequila, cranberry juice, agave syrup, Triple Sec, and lime juice to a shaker.
Shake vigorously.
Pour into a glass rimmed with citrus sugar.
Garnish with a fresh rosemary sprig, lime, and fresh cranberries

Twang Cranberry Margarita

Every good margarita needs a good rimming salt. Twang brings great salt to every great margarita. In 1986, Twang’s founder, Roger Treviño, Sr., was inspired by the Latino tradition of adding citrus and salt to beer, and began producing beer salt. The family continues the tradition with offering several lines of salts, including the Twang-A-Rita, featuring naturally flavored salt blends created to add extra flavor to your cocktails.

Twang Cranberry Margarita. Photo courtesy Twang

Ingredients for the Cranberry Margarita

1½ oz Tequila
½ oz Cranberry Infused Cointreau *see recipe below or use a regular Cointreau
½ oz Agave Syrup
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Cranberry Juice
Twang-A-Rita Unwind Lime
Lime Wheel

Preparation for the Cranberry Margarita

Add tequila, lime juice, agave, cranberry juice, and cranberry Cointreau to a shaker.
Shake for 10 to 15 seconds.
Rim your serving glass with Twang-A-Rita Unwind Lime.
Roll the cocktail into your serving glass.
Garnish with a lime wheel and cranberries.

Ingredients for the Cranberry-Infused Cointreau

375 ml Cointreau
1/3 cup Cranberries

Preparation of the Cranberry Infused Cointreau

Muddle the cranberries.
Add the muddled cranberries and Cointreau to a bottle or jar.
Store in a cool, dark place for two to three days.
Strain out the cranberries.

Teremana Hot Chocolate

This is a delicious hot cocktail featuring Teremana Tequila. Teremana is an ultra-premium, small-batch tequila founded by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jenna Fagnan, Ken Austin, and Dany Garcia. It is crafted at Destilería Teremana de Agave in the Jalisco mountains. It is made with fully mature, naturally sweet agave, slow-roasted in small traditional brick ovens, and distilled in handmade copper pot stills. The brand worked with James Beard Award-nominated Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Pacific Standard in Portland, Oregon, to craft this memorable winter cocktail. Stop by Pacific Standard and order this adult hot chocolate if you’re in Portland.

Teremana Hot Chocolate. Photo courtesy Teremana Tequila


1½ oz Teremana Tequila Blanco
½ oz Agave Nectar
4 oz Brewed Hot Chocolate (unsweetened)
Whipped Cream and Grated Chocolate for garnish


Build in glass mug and gently stir.
Garnish with whipped cream and grated chocolate.

Holiday Jam

This recipe also comes courtesy of Teremana Tequila and uses the Añejo tequila. Teremana teamed up with Erick Castro-Diaz of Raised by Wolves in San Diego to create this tasty winter cocktail. If you’re in San Diego, stop by Raised by Wolves to sample more of Castro-Diaz’s concoctions.

Holiday Jam. Photo courtesy Teremana Tequila


1¼ oz Teremana Tequila Añejo
¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
¾ oz Lime Juice
¾ oz Orange Curaçao
1 Heaping Bar Spoon Fig Preserves


Shake all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker.
Strain into a double old-fashioned glass over fresh ice.
Garnish with an orange twist.

El Pueblo

This tequila recipe offers a twist on the classic Old-Fashioned. It comes to us from Cantera Negra Tequila. This new award-winning ultra-premium brand is additive-free and hand-crafted in small batch quantities from 40 years of family tradition in Mexico. Cantera Negra Tequila has an entire portfolio of additive-free tequilas and café liqueur, ideal for winter cocktails. This one uses the Reposado tequila.

El Pueblo. Photo courtesy Cantera Negra Tequila


2 parts Cantera Negra Reposado Tequila
¼ part Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
½ part Brown Sugar Simple Syrup
2 dashes of Chocolate Bitters
Orange Peel for garnish


Combine ingredients into a mixing glass. Stir for 20 seconds.
Pour over a large ice cube in a rocks glass.
Garnish with a flamed orange peel.

Noche Negra

This winter cocktail also features Cantera Negra Tequila—the Silver this time—and blends it with the brand’s delicious Cantera Negra Café coffee liqueur for an unforgettable winter cocktail that is both bold and satisfying.

Noche Negra. Photo courtesy Cantera Negra Tequila


1 part Cantera Negra Silver Tequila
1 part Espresso (or cold brew concentrate)
¾ part Cantera Negra Café Coffee Liqueur
¼ part Simple Syrup


Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
Shake vigorously.
Double strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass.

The Best Winter Cocktails with Bourbon and Whiskey

Bourbon and whiskey seem ideal for winter cocktails. That smoky flavor of a good bourbon is ideal for relaxing in front of a roaring fire and watching the snow out the window—or hanging out on the patio in warmer weather climes, tucked into a blanket, watching the sunset.

Steam Engine

This recipe is courtesy of Bib & Tucker Small Batch Bourbon. The name, bottle, and small batch approach were inspired by the turn of the century in America, a time of unprecedented progress and adventure when all bourbon was small batch. Aged in the rolling hills of Tennessee, Bib & Tucker doesn’t cut corners and uses no additives, artificial flavors, or artificial colors. In a time when other brands are taking their age statements away, Bib & Tucker proudly puts the age statement on the front of every bottle. The company recently released a new expression, Double Char Bourbon, inspired by the turn of the century and cooking on the open flame.

Steam Engine. Photo courtesy Bib & Tucker Small Batch Bourbon


2 parts Bib & Tucker Double Char Bourbon
½ part Bénédictine Liqueur
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Expressed Orange Peel for garnish


Stir all ingredients together in a mixing glass filled with ice.
Strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.
Garnish with an expressed orange peel.

Winning Hand

Another recipe courtesy Bib & Tucker Small Batch Bourbon, using the 6-year-old Small Batch Bourbon, awarded 93 points from Whisky Advocate, ranking #14 out of the Top 20 Whiskies in 2021.

Winning Hand. Photo courtesy Bib & Tucker Small Batch Bourbon


1½ parts Bib & Tucker 6-Year-Old Small Batch Bourbon
½ part Campari
½ part Dry Vermouth
1 barspoon Walnut Liqueur
Expressed Orange Peel for garnish


Stir all ingredients together in a mixing glass filled with ice.
Strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.
Garnish with an expressed orange peel.

Manhattan Skyscraper

Also brought to us by Bib & Tucker Small Batch Bourbon, this one is a unique spin on a classic Manhattan.

Manhattan Skyscraper. Photo courtesy Bib & Tucker Small Batch Bourbon


1½ parts Bib & Tucker 6-Year-Old Small Batch Bourbon
1 part Sweet Vermouth
½ part Amaro Montenegro
2 dashes of Chocolate Bitters
Expressed Orange Peel and Chocolate Square for garnish


Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously with NO ICE.
Add ice and shake again.
Fine strain into a chilled coupe glass.
Express and garnish with orange peel and a chocolate square placed on the rim.

Redemption Rye Holiday Cheer

Redemption Whiskey is celebrating the rye whiskey revival with its Redemption Rye. Before Prohibition, rye whiskey was the favorite American whiskey. It fell out of favor but Americans are rediscovering rye whiskey. Redemption Rye has toasted oak, allspice, and anise notes on the nose and a slight mint finish. All of that flavor makes it ideal for this festive winter cocktail with lemon, ginger, and clove.

Redemption Rye Holiday Cheer. Photo courtesy Redemption Whiskey


2 oz Redemption Rye
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
½ oz Honey
1/8 tsp Minced Fresh Ginger


Mix all ingredients into a shaker and shake over ice.
Pour over ice in a rocks glass.
Garnish with a lemon twist.

The Best Winter Cocktails with Gin

I used to be that person who swore off gin. If a cocktail contained gin, I wanted nothing to do with it. However, I’ve discovered that gin comes in many different varieties and when you find a gin you love, it is a great spirit. Here are a few gin-based winter cocktails.

Big Sur Sunset

This recipe comes courtesy of Gray Whale Gin. The company was founded on the principle that a consciously crafted spirit can bring us together for good times while doing some good in the world. Every bottle of Gray Whale Gin gives back through 1% for the Planet and partnership with Oceana, the largest organization in the world devoted to ocean conservation. In less than five years, Gray Whale Gin has already helped make legislative change, permanently protecting the oceans off the West Coast. Gray Whale Gin is perfected with sustainably sourced and wild-harvested botanicals foraged along the migratory path of the California Gray Whale.

Big Sur Sunset. Photo courtesy Gray Whale Gin


2 parts Gray Whale Gin
1 part Lemon Juice
¾ part Raspberry Syrup
½ part Orgeat Syrup
1 Egg White
Raspberries and Mint Leaves for garnish


Reverse dry shake (shake the ingredients with ice, then strain and shake again without ice).
Strain into a coupe glass.
Garnish with raspberries and mint leaves.

The Best Winter Cocktails with Wine and Bubbles

As anyone who reads my articles and follows me on social media knows, I love bubbles! I’m always willing to try cocktails that feature wine and bubbles. Here are a few of my favorites.

Holiday Sonata

Another winter cocktail using Teremana Tequila, the Holiday Sonata was created by J’Nai Angelle of Pretty Magic Cocktails in New Orleans, and it also features sparkling wine. My two favorite things—bubbles and tequila. This is a must for your holiday parties.

Holiday Sonata. Photo courtesy Teremana Tequila


1 oz Teremana Tequila Blanco
½ oz Apple Juice
½ oz Cranberry Juice
½ oz Allspice-Infused Demerara Rich Syrup (2:1) *recipe below
¼ oz Orange Liqueur (I prefer Cointreau)
2 to 3 oz Champagne or other sparkling wine


Shake all ingredients except champagne with ice in a cocktail shaker.
Strain into a glass rimmed with Demerara sugar.
Top with 2 to 3 oz of sparkling wine or champagne.
Garnish with a twist of orange zest.

Allspice-Infused Demerara Syrup Preparation

Add ½ tsp ground allspice to a saucepan for every 3 cups of Demerara Simple Syrup. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, and rest for 5 minutes. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth to remove excess.

Josh Cellars Tipsy Spritz

California’s Josh Cellars began in 2008 when Joseph Carr began selling Josh Cellars wines—named for his father, Josh—out of the back of his truck. The brand quickly gained recognition and, in 2012, partnered with Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. In 2019, Joe Carr partnered with the Pozzi family to create Josh Cellars Prosecco. This recipe from Josh Cellars uses its Prosecco in this festive winter cocktail. This one also contains another of my favorites, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur. This delightful French liqueur is crafted from fresh elderflowers, giving it the exquisite floral taste that works well in many cocktails, especially those with bubbles.

Josh Cellars Tipsy Spritz. Photo courtesy Josh Cellars


3 oz Josh Cellars Prosecco
1 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Lemon Twist for garnish


Pour prosecco into a champagne flute or coupe glass.
Top with St. Germain.
Garnish with a lemon twist.

Lillet Winter Tonic

Many Americans are unfamiliar with Lillet (pronounced lee-LAY), but it is quite popular in Europe. The French aperitif wine is fortified Bordeaux wine with macerated liqueurs added before aging in French oak. It comes in Blanc, Rosé, and Rouge. While it is typically considered a summer aperitif, ideal as a spritzer on a hot day, it can be perfect for the holidays with the proper garnishes.

Lillet Winter Tonic. Photo courtesy Lillet


5 cl (1¾ oz) Lillet Blanc
10 cl (3½ oz) Tonic Water
Red Currants and a Cinnamon Stick for garnish


Shake Lillet Blanc, tonic water, red currants, and a cinnamon stick with ice.
Strain into a white wine glass filled with ice.
Garnish with red currants and cinnamon stick.

Peary & Bright Holiday Punch

This is another fun bubbly winter cocktail that blends Prosecco with Dirty Devil Vodka. Dirty Devil is the first vodka blended with hyper-oxygenated water. The vodka is crafted with non-GMO corn and is certified gluten-free. Each bottle of Dirty Devil Vodka is distilled five times and filtered three times for premium vodka, ideal for blending with bubbles to create this lovely holiday punch for every gathering.

Peary & Bright Holiday Punch. Photo courtesy Dirty Devil Vodka


2 cups Dirty Devil Vodka
2 (750 ml each) bottles of Sparkling Wine or Prosecco
32 oz Pear Juice
2 oz Cinnamon Simple Syrup
Cinnamon Sugar Rim and Pear Fan for garnish


In a large punch bowl, add Prosecco or sparkling wine, vodka, pear juice, and cinnamon simple syrup, mixing gently with a wooden spoon to combine liquids.
Optionally, add sliced pears and cinnamon sticks to the punch bowl.
When serving, rim a stemless wine glass with cinnamon sugar.
Garnish the cocktail with pear slices.

Persephone’s New Year Wish

You can amp up your New Year’s toast with this sweet and tangy champagne and vodka cocktail also presented by Dirty Devil Vodka. In traditional Greek fashion, smash this pomegranate cocktail for good luck and abundance in the new year.

Persephone’s New Year Wish. Photo courtesy Dirty Devil Vodka


1 oz Pomegranate Liqueur
1 oz Dirty Devil Vodka
Prosecco or Champagne
Lemon Twist, Pomegranate Arils, and Gold Glitter Sugar Rim for garnish


Garnish the rim of a champagne flute with gold glitter sugar.
Add the pomegranate liqueur and vodka to the flute.
Top off with Prosecco or Champagne.
Add pomegranate arils and a lemon twist for garnish.

The Best Winter Cocktails with Rum

Sure, you can get some great summer cocktails with rum, but I always love a hot rum drink in the winter. When we lived in Colorado, having a hot rum drink on special occasions was a tradition. We would sip our drinks and watch the snow out the windows. While I don’t miss living in the snow, there are moments when I crave those winter afternoons. Here are a couple of delicious rum winter cocktails to help you create your own winter memories.

Hot Buttered Rum

Hot buttered rum is an old American favorite. According to What Steve Eats, hot buttered rum dates to the American Colonial era when the Americas were known for great rum. These drinks blended rum, butter, sugar, and spices. This recipe comes to us from Sama Street, an Asian restaurant in Brooklyn that features good food and good drinks.

Hot Buttered Rum. Photo courtesy Sama Street

Ingredients for Hot Buttered Rum

1 oz Spiced Rum (preferably Sama Street House Spiced Rum)
½ oz Black Rum (preferably Cruzan Black)
1½ oz Miso Maple Batter *Recipe below
2½ oz Hot Water (195°F)

Ingredients for Vanilla Syrup

4 cups White Sugar
2 cups Water
2 Vanilla Beans, scraped

Preparation for Vanilla Syrup

Bring the water to a boil.
Add sugar.
Whisk until sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove from heat, add vanilla beans, stir, and let cool.

Ingredients for Cinnamon Syrup

800 g (4 cups) White Sugar
400 g (1½ cups + 3 TBLS) Water
3 pieces of 6-inch Vietnamese Cinnamon Sticks

Preparation for Cinnamon Syrup

Boil water, sugar, and cinnamon.
Whisk until sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove from heat and let cinnamon steep for 24 hours.
Strain and store.

Ingredients for Miso Maple Batter

16 oz Grade A Maple Syrup
16 oz Unsalted Butter
1 oz Vanilla Syrup *Recipe below
2 oz Cinnamon Syrup *Recipe below
1 oz Allspice Dram
1 TBLS White Miso Paste
3½ cups Sweetened Condensed Milk

Preparation for Miso Maple Batter and the Hot Buttered Rum Cocktail

Melt butter.
Add melted butter to a blender and add in the maple syrup, vanilla syrup, cinnamon syrup, allspice dram, and miso paste. Blend until combined.
Add sweetened condensed milk and blend again until fully combined.
Pour all ingredients into a warmed tea cup, stir, and garnish with grated cinnamon.


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