11 Hot Cocktails to Warm Up Winter

The arctic chill has already set in, and we have the cure for the next polar vortex: a hot cocktail. It’s never frowned upon to pour a little booze into your cup of coffee late in the evening, but there are a lot more delicious and complex combinations just waiting for you to try. Here’s a list of 11 hot cocktails you should make as soon as possible to combat winter blues and stay warm from the inside out.
Header image and recipe of Fernet Apple Hot Toddy from CHOW

1. Hot Buttered Rum

This hot buttered rum recipe has it all—butter, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg—and is easy to make in a big batch, which you can freeze for individual servings. Use an ice cube tray and then you’ll be able to whip up one at a time with just boiling water and your liquor of choice.
Photo and recipe from Creative Culinary

2. Irish Coffee

Irish whiskey, like Jameson, is the perfect choice here and melds beautifully with the coffee and dark brown sugar. Homemade whipped cream is the secret that really makes this post-dinner drink so magical. Serve it with some biscotti for an easy dessert.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

3. Mulled Wine

If you’ve got a leftover bottle of wine around (or several half-bottles), a big pot of mulled wine is a genius way to use it up. With cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and mulling spices, if you have them, mulled wine is warm and comforting. If you’re looking for an additional kick you can add some brandy to the recipe.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

4. Wassail

Wassailing is a verb you don’t get to use very often, and it’s appropriate to take part in this Anglo-Saxon tradition while reveling with a mug of hot wassail. Our recipe has apple juice, cranberry juice, cloves, allspice, chopped fruit, and Calvados, the French apple brandy. Wassail is traditionally made around Christmas, but feel free to drink it anytime after Thanksgiving.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

5. Hot Gin Punch

Any batch cocktail you can serve warm from a teapot is a winner in my book. Hot gin punch is based on a recipe popularized in the mid-1800s. This version has brown sugar, pineapple, orange, lemon, honey, and Madeira. Take a sip—it’s an elegant way to warm up.
Photo and recipe from Robb Report

6. Glögg

Glögg is a Scandinavian wine punch that is served piping hot. It’s popular in Sweden and easy to adapt to any taste. Martha’s recipe features blanched almonds, raisins, numerous spices, port, Cognac, and red wine. This combination is very strong, so be sure to sip slowly.
Photo and recipe from Martha Stewart

7. Boozy Hot Chocolate

This bourbon-spiked hot chocolate is extremely rich and is a fantastic drink to serve as dessert. You can use hot water or milk, and add a little cream or half-and-half if you really want to make it luxurious. With a handful of mini marshmallows, boozy hot chocolate is always a good choice.
Photo and recipe from Sugar Dish Me

8. Peppermint Patty

This peppermint hot chocolate recipe is so easy you can have it ready to go in a minute or less. Make your favorite hot chocolate (using a mix is OK, we won’t tell anyone) and then pour in an ounce of peppermint schnapps. Mint and chocolate are an unbeatable combination, and with some whipped cream, this is perfection.
Photo and recipe from Daily Noff

9. Bourbon Hot Cider

Honeycrisp and bourbon spiced cider with fresh ginger will cure what ails you. Almost as good as eating an apple a day to keep the doctor away, this cider should be steeped for at least an hour to let the flavors meld. It reheats well and is easy to scale up to serve a large group.
Recipe and photo from Spoon Fork Bacon

10. Hot Toddy

The hot toddy is the quintessential hot cocktail. Boiling water, lemon, tea of your choice, honey, and whiskey are the foundation of this classic winter cocktail. You can use herbal tea or any kind of black tea, and trade the honey for agave, brown sugar, or even maple syrup.
Apple Brandy Hot Toddy photo and recipe from CHOW

11. Port Toddy

If you liked the hot toddy, try the port toddy. Ruby port is sweet and nuanced, and is delicious with the lemon, orange, and cinnamon in this drink. A little less alcoholic than its sister, the port toddy should definitely be added to your winter lineup.
Photo and recipe from New York Times

Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy is a New York City–based food writer and editor at Penguin who has worked on and recipe-tested several cookbooks. She is currently in search of NYC's best ramen, and is one of the few people who admit to disliking brunch.

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