Winter Warming Cocktails You Should Try
Food and Drink

Winter Warming Cocktails You Should Try

With crisp and cool temperatures outside, nothing heats you up better than a warm boozy cocktail. Winter libations often feature fresh seasonal produce and festive add-ins. Are you planning to host a tailgate or football watching party? You’ll need to warm your guests during the cold temps.

How do Grilled Orange Cobbler, Penicillin Toddy, or Marshmallow mule cocktails sound? And what the heck is a Shetland Sweater cocktail?  You can never go wrong with hot boozy coffee on the menu! Test run a few of these winter cocktails as you prepare to entertain your friends and family at your next gathering!

Grilled Orange Cobbler

Excerpted from Camp Cocktails: Easy, Fun, and Delicious Drinks for the Great Outdoors by Emily Vikre. Photo credit © 2021 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. Used with permission.

"In the late 1800s, cobbler was the most popular cocktail in the United States. A proper cobbler is built with crushed ice—the name cobbler is a reference to the ice, which was thought to look like cobblestones."

Emily Vikre

2 round slices of orange

1½ teaspoons sugar

6 ounces wine

Fruit for garnish, optional


Note: Use a dry or off-dry style of red, pink, or white wine, and adjust the sugar to suit.

While your grill is hot, place the orange slices on the grill. Allow them to cook undisturbed for about 3 minutes, until grill marks appear, then flip and grill about another 3 minutes until the second side also shows grill marks. Take the slices off the grill and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Put the orange slices in a cup, add the sugar, and gently press the sugar and fruit together to start dissolving the sugar in the juices. Add the wine and a generous scoop of crushed ice or small ice cubes. Use a spoon to churn the ingredients and the ice up and down in the glass for about 20 seconds. To make this a true cobbler, you should decorate the heck out of the top of your cup with pieces of fruit before serving.

Marshmallow Mule

Excerpted from Camp Cocktails: Easy, Fun, and Delicious Drinks for the Great Outdoors by Emily Vikre. Photo credit © 2021 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. Used with permission.

"Making the marshmallow and ginger syrup does take a little doing, but it doesn’t require any fancy equipment or ingredients. The toasted marshmallows melted into the syrup give it a dark richness while loads of fresh ginger give it a kick."

Serves 1


For marshmallow and ginger syrup:

10 marshmallows

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

½ cup grated fresh ginger


For each cocktail:

1½ ounces vodka (or whiskey or rum)

1½ ounces marshmallow and ginger syrup

soda water

lime wedges

1 marshmallow, for garnish

To make the syrup: toast the marshmallows over dying embers until they are dark brown and melted inside. Put them into a heavy-bottomed pot and add the sugar and water. Slowly bring to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar and the marshmallows. Once you reach a gentle boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and continue cooking and stirring until the marshmallows have dissolved.

Remove the syrup from the heat, stir in the ginger, and transfer to a heatproof container. Cover and allow to cool overnight. The next day, strain the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. The syrup will keep in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.

To make the cocktail: in a tall glass filled with ice, add the vodka and syrup. Top with soda water and gently stir. Squeeze in lime wedges to taste. Stick your garnish marshmallow onto a long toothpick. Light it on fire, blow it out, then stick the toothpick into the cocktail, marshmallow side out of the drink, to garnish.

Hot Buttered Rum

"Winter can be an endless, freezing drag. Nothing helps melt through seasonal malaise like a classic Hot Buttered Rum cocktail. It’s both sweet and warm, which is just the kind of comfort you want on the coldest days of the year."

Serves 4


3/4 cup rum

2 cups boiling water

1/4 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Pinch of salt

4 sticks cinnamon, for garnishing and serving

In a medium bowl, add honey, cinnamon, brown sugar, butter, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Mix with an electric mixer. Add the rum and boiling water. Stir until the butter-and-spice mixture dissolves. Serve warm, garnished with cinnamon sticks.

Penicillin Toddy Cocktail

Excerpted from Camp Cocktails: Easy, Fun, and Delicious Drinks for the Great Outdoors by Emily Vikre. Photo credit © 2021 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. Used with permission.

"The original Penicillin is shaken and served over ice, but the combination of ginger, honey, and lemon juice fairly screams hot toddy. The grain, spice, and smoke notes from the two types of Scotch settle in comfortably alongside the other flavors, like a cat curling snugly into the edge of a well-loved couch. "

Emily Vikre
Serves 4

2 1-inch rounds of ginger, about ¼-inch thick

¾ ounce honey

¾ ounce lemon juice

4 ounces boiling hot water

2 ounces blended Scotch (Famous Grouse, for example)

1 teaspoon Laphroaig 10-year Scotch

In a mug, combine the ginger slices, honey, and lemon juice, and muddle the ginger to press out some of the juice. When you muddle, firmly press down on the ginger to express the juices or aromatic oils from it, but you don’t want it to turn into a crime scene. Pour the boiling hot water into the mug. Allow it to steep for 5 minutes, then stir in the blended Scotch and the Laphroaig.

If desired, you can fish out the pieces of ginger. I take them out, because otherwise I know I’ll hit myself in the face with a piece of ginger and spill hot toddy all down my front.

RumChata Hot Cocoa

Image: Deposit Photos, duskbabe
Adapted from

"This is decadent warmth covered in a white mound of whipped cream, like a drift of snow concealing a hidden delight. RumChata cream liqueur enhances the chocolate with its blend of Caribbean rum, Mexican spice, and Wisconsin dairy cream."

Serves: 2


2 ½ cups whole milk

¼ cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6 ounces chocolate chips (or chopped bittersweet chocolate)

½ cup RumChata (Horchata Con Ron or Peppermint Bark)

1/3 cup warm caramel

whipped cream, for serving

cinnamon sugar, for garnish

cinnamon stick, for garnish

This is traditional cocoa like grandma used to make, but better. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a slow simmer (not boiling!) over medium heat. Whisk in the sugar and cocoa powder until smooth as Bing Crosby’s voice, then stir in the chips and vanilla until all is melted and creamy. You’ll want to stop here and gulp it down, but don’t. It gets better. Remove from the heat and stir in the RumChata of your choice. Pour into mugs, and top with snowy whipped cream, drizzles of caramel, and sprinkles of cinnamon sugar, or just skip all the toppings and luxuriate in sips of the RumChata-laced chocolate

Shetland Sweater Cocktail

Excerpted from Camp Cocktails: Easy, Fun, and Delicious Drinks for the Great Outdoors by Emily Vikre. Photo credit © 2021 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. Used with permission.

"Cocktail for cooler weather while enjoying the great outdoors, especially since it's a perfect fit for your 8-ounce flask!"

For an 8-ounce flask


3 ounces blended Scotch

1 ½ ounces Laird’s bonded applejack

1 ½ ounces Averna amaro

1 ½ ounces Amaro Nonino

1 ½ teaspoon maple syrup

1 dash orange bitters

1 ½ ounces water

Combine all ingredients, stir gently to combine, and pour or funnel all, or all that fits, into your carrying vessel.

Hot Boozy Coffee

Image: Deposit Photos,
Adapted from

"Fluffy mounds of whipped cream, a lot of warming liquors, steaming hot coffee, and getting to apply live fire to an orange peel. What more can you ask of a winter libation?"

Serves: 1


½ ounce brandy

½ ounce Grand Marnier

½ ounce Kahlua

5 ounces freshly brewed coffee

1 orange peel

½ cup whipping cream

½ teaspoon sugar

If you want to slide past the whole rigamarole of whipping your own cream, just get premade whipped cream. If you want to go old school, pour the whipping cream into a bowl and beat the bejeezus out of it with your mixer till it’s frothy, then add the sugar.

Pour all four liquids into a mug. Use your lighter to warm up the orange peel and let the heat release the oils which turns the peel into a yummy stir stick. The aroma alone will warm your cockles. Plop on a nice drift of sweetened whipped cream and bliss out.

Salted Hazelnut Hot Chocolate

Excerpted from Camp Cocktails: Easy, Fun, and Delicious Drinks for the Great Outdoors by Emily Vikre. Photo credit © 2021 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. Used with permission.

"You can stir hazelnut chocolate spread into hot milk to make the most voluptuous hot chocolate you’ve ever encountered—an overstuffed cashmere pillow for your mouth, if you will. One of these by the campfire as a nightcap, and you’ll float away on a cloud of the sweetest dreams."

Emily Vikre
Serves 1


8 ounces milk

3 tablespoons hazelnut chocolate spread

1 generous pinch of salt

1½ ounces bourbon

marshmallows or whipped cream, for topping (optional)

In a small pot, heat the milk until it’s steaming, but not boiling. Add the hazelnut chocolate spread and salt to an empty mug. Add ½ to 1 ounce of your milk and whisk it with the hazelnut chocolate spread to thin the spread into a syrup. Stir in the rest of the hot milk. Add the bourbon. Top with marshmallows or whipped cream if you want to get crazy. Which you totally do.

To take your boozy hot chocolate to the next level, try adding a splash of amaro instead of bourbon. The chocolate-mint notes of Amaro Nardini in hot chocolate are downright magical. The candied orange flavor of Amaro Nonino is also a great fit.