Warm Winter Cocktails

Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Winter is a time of togetherness and reuniting with loved ones despite the chill in the air. What better way to unite friends and family and keep cozy at the same time than to indulge in these warm wintery cocktails? From the chocoholic, to the coffee craver, the sweet tooth sufferer and the chronic brunch-goer, there’s an easy-to-make drink for all. And if staying sober is on the agenda, there’s no need to worry, as each drink has a convenient non-alcoholic variation.

These four beverages, whether boozy or not, are sure to warm both the tastebuds and the heart.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Peppermint bark is the quintessential Christmas-time treat, and this drink is just that in liquid form.

Ingredients:

¾ c whole milk
¼ c half and half
2 oz chopped semi-sweet
chocolate
1 dash peppermint extract
1 Tbsp peppermint schnapps
½ ounce Bailey’s Irish cream
whipped cream
chopped candy canes

Bring the whole milk and half and half to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly begin to stir in the chopped chocolate morsels and peppermint extract until the mixture is uniform. Remove the mixture from heat and pour in the peppermint schnapps and Bailey’s Irish cream. This step can be omitted for the non-alcoholic type. For the finishing touch, swirl whipped cream on top and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.

Nutty Irish Coffee

Nutty Irish Coffee Warm Winter CocktailsCoffee may be the perfect morning pick-me-up, but who says it can’t get you a little tipsy too? With a splash of whiskey, this drink is the ideal blend of caffeine and alcohol.

Ingredients:

1 c coffee
1 oz Irish whiskey
1 Tbsp hazelnut liqueur
1 Tbsp Nutella
whipped cream
chocolate shavings

Combine hot coffee and Nutella with an Irish whiskey and hazelnut liqueur of your choice and mix well. Top it off with whipped cream and chocolate shavings to offset the bitterness of the coffee and whiskey. For a non-alcoholic version, substitute the hazelnut liqueur with a liquid hazelnut sweetener, such as stevia, and ditch the Irish whiskey for your favorite type of milk.

Boiled Bloody Mary

Boiled Bloody MaryWarm Winter CocktailsBloody Marys, the spicy cocktails synonymous with Sunday brunch, are usually served chilled or over ice, but this warm version will really set some taste buds on fire.

Ingredients:

¾ c tomato juice
2 oz vodka
1 tsp Worcestershire
sauce
1 tsp freshly grated
horseradish
3-6 dashes hot sauce
1 dash black pepper
1 squeeze lemon juice

Combine all the listed ingredients and heat on a stovetop with a medium flame until the mixture reaches a desired temperature. For garnishes, make use of leftover vegetables and finger foods from what’s being served at the party. Between the pre-dinner snacks and the meal itself, there’s likely enough pickles, carrots, celery and cocktail shrimp to make garnishes that will impress guests. For the non-alcoholic variation, simply leave out the vodka and enjoy.

Spiced Sweet Vanilla Apple Cider

Spiced Sweet Vanilla Apple Cider Warm Winter CocktailsIf a Bloody Mary is too savory for your taste palate, opt for this sweet treat. With hints of spices and fruity undertones, this drink is sure to be the main attraction of any gathering.

Ingredients:

1 c apple cider
1 oz pear liqueur
1 vanilla bean pod
1 Tbsp bourbon
1 cinnamon stick
dash of nutmeg

Add the cider and nutmeg in a medium saucepan over a low flame. Slice the vanilla bean pod
in half and add to the mixture. Let the liquid simmer for five to 10 minutes to allow the nutmeg and vanilla to infuse in the apple cider. Pour the warmed beverage into a cup and add the cinnamon stick, which can also serve as a convenient stirrer. For the alcohol-free version use fresh pear juice instead of pear liqueur.

All listed recipes make roughly one serving, but can easily be multiplied to satisfy entire party. Now, it’s easy to dazzle guests within minutes, but be careful. After a few sips of some of these drinks, they may never leave.

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Nicole Lockwood
Nicole Lockwood is the former editor of the Syosset Jericho Tribune and New Hyde Park Illustrated News.

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