Warm cocktails to combat winter blues

Media Credit: Photo Illustration by Grace Hromin | Senior Photo Editor

To make it through a cold and occasionally snowy winter, try out one of these warm drinks to keep you toasty through the season.

Whip up a batch of warm cocktails and cozy up with friends to beat the frigid winter weather.

It’s the time of year to part with your ice-cold cocktails and embrace the chilly days with one of these balmy brews. From a sweet and indulgent peppermint hot chocolate to a playful spin on a classic hot toddy, these drinks will have you counting down to cocktail hour.

“Original Irish Coffee” by Food Network
Yields one serving

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons Irish whiskey
To top: heavy cream, slightly whipped

Rinse a mug with hot tap water to warm it up. Add hot coffee into the pre-heated mug, and then mix in brown sugar until dissolved. Stir in the whiskey, and top with a lining of heavy cream by pouring the cream over the back of a spoon. Be sure to serve warm.

“Peppermint Hot Chocolate” by delish
Yields one serving

½ tablespoon Peppermint Schnapps
1 tablespoon Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
1 cup hot chocolate
Optional garnish: crushed peppermint candy, whipped cream

Warm your peppermint schnapps, chocolate liqueur and hot chocolate in a saucepan on low heat to the temperature of your liking. Serve with a whipped cream topping and optional peppermint candy garnish.

“Honey-Bourbon Toddy” by Bon Appétit
Yields two servings

For apple bourbon:
1 750-ml bottle of bourbon
4 fuji apples, sliced
4 cinnamon sticks

For drink:

6 tablespoons apple bourbon
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup hot water
2 (3x ½ inch) strips lemon peel
2 cinnamon sticks

To add a fruity twist to your drink, make apple bourbon in batches by combining a 750-ml bottle of bourbon with four sliced fuji apples and four cinnamon sticks in a pitcher. Leave covered in the fridge to chill for at least three days before straining. Opt for store-bought bourbon if you’re in a time crunch. Stir honey into hot water in a measuring cup until it dissolves. Divide your bourbon of choice and hot water into two mugs. Garnish with a twist of lemon twist and cinnamon sticks.

“Vanilla Chai Tea White Russian” by Half Baked Harvest
Yields one serving and enough syrup to make six

4 chai tea bags
⅓ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup vodka
3 tablespoons Kahlua
2-4 tablespoon chai syrup
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream
Optional garnish: cinnamon sticks and star anise

To make the chai syrup, boil one cup of water then remove from heat. Steep chai tea bags for 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags, then add honey. Put back on the heat, and bring to a boil before adding vanilla. Once the mixture is cooled and you are ready to assemble your drink, fill up a glass with ice. Add the Kahlua, vodka and chai syrup to taste then lightly stir. Add heavy cream or dairy-free substitute, and finish by topping the drink with star anise and cinnamon.

“Classic Mulled Wine” by Cookie and Kate
Yields five servings

2 small or 1 large orange
1 bottle of Merlot, Zinfandel or Garnacha wine
¼ cup brandy
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey, to taste
2 whole cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
4 whole cloves
Optional garnishes: fresh whole cranberries (about ¼ cup), cinnamon sticks, additional orange rounds or half moons

To start, cut half of the orange into rounds and juice the remaining fruit. Add orange rounds, and juice into a medium, heavy-bottomed pot. Pour the wine and brandy into the pot, and add the cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves. Add one tablespoon of sweetener now, and save the remaining. Stir together, and heat on medium heat until slightly steaming. Immediately reduce to low heat. Taste and add remaining sweetener if needed. Optionally garnish and serve warm.

“Hot Buttered Rum” by The Spruce Eats
Yields one serving

2 teaspoons brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 splash pure vanilla extract
1 dash ground cinnamon
1 dash ground nutmeg
1 dash ground allspice
¼ cup dark rum
½ cup hot water
Optional garnish: cinnamon stick

Muddle together sugar, butter, vanilla extract and spices in the bottom of a mug. Pour in rum and hot water. Mix until the muddled mixture is dissolved. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and enjoy.

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