hot cocktails

6 Hot Cocktails To Keep You Warm & Festive This Winter

With the colder weather comes warmer drinks. Fall and winter signal more indoor activities, cozy nights under blankets, and hopefully some quality time with family and friends. To give a warm twist to our drink menus this season, I thought it would be nice to share some recipes for hot alcoholic drinks and hot cocktails so that you can still have your drink and be warm and festive!

Mulled Wine

I make mulled wine every year. It’s one of my favorite hot cocktails in existence. This recipe is from the Food Network. I played around with how much apple cider we used, and from what I remember even just using two cups still worked.


  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 4 oranges, peeled, for garnish

Instructions: Pour the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves, and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve while hot.

Traditional Hot Toddy

Whether or not you’re a whiskey person, whiskey-based hot cocktails are a standard in the hot cocktail space. They’re especially fun around the holidays or when it’s colder out, bringing you that warm fuzzy feeling on the inside.

This hot toddy recipe by Cookie and Kate is simple and for individual servings. You can expand by simply multiplying by the number of people you want to make it for!


  • ¾ cup of water
  • 1 ½ ounces whiskey
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons honey, to taste
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 lemon round
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional, for garnish)

Instructions: In a teapot or saucepan, bring the water to a simmer. Pour the hot water into a mug. Add the whiskey, 2 teaspoons honey, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Stir until the honey has disappeared into the hot water. Taste, and add 1 teaspoon honey for more sweetness, and/or 1 teaspoon more lemon juice for more zing. Garnish with a lemon round and cinnamon stick (if using). Enjoy!

Alternative: Hot Gin Toddy

Another version of this is a hot gin toddy, for all my gin lovers out there (I’m in the same boat). This recipe from Kitchen Stories is great because it has a spice to it, while still refreshingly hot and delicious.


Servings: 2

  • 1tbsp fennel seed
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup of water (1/2 for sugar syrup; 1/2 boil separately)
  • 50mL Gin (about 1.5 shots)
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 lemon

First make the spiced sugar syrup: Add fennel seeds, black pepper, and cardamom to a saucepan over medium heat. Toast for approx. 30 sec. to release the aroma. Add sugar and 1/2 cup water to the saucepan. Increase heat and bring to a boil, then lower heat and let cook for 5 min.

Next, build your toddy! Divide gin and other 1/2 cup of hot water into two cups, add a tablespoon of spiced sugar syrup to each and a generous amount of lemon juice, to taste. Serve with a lemon twist. Enjoy!

Spiced Apple Cider

Nothing says Christmas or the holidays like hot apple cider. A twist on your family’s favorite is a spiked version of this! This recipe is from Vindulge.


  • 4 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 8 ounces Bourbon, recommend Bulleit or Basil Hayden’s
  • 4 slices navel orange, for garnish
  • Optional sugar, to rim the glass

Instructions: Place the apple cider, cinnamon stick, orange juice, cloves, and star anise in a small pot and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain into a pitcher. If you’d like, you can rim the glass with sugar. In the glass, add 2 oz bourbon and 1 cup of the cider mix.

Garnish with an orange slice and stick of cinnamon and serve warm.

Alternative: Hot Buttered Rum

Another version of this is called the Hot Buttered Rum. I’m personally not a rum drinker, but for anyone who prefers it, check it out:


  • 2 oz dark rum
  • 1 Lemon slice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 clove
  • apple cider, warmed

Instructions: Pour rum over lemon and spices, then top up with warm apple cider. Can garnish with nutmeg

Spiked Tea

Tea is not something you’d expect to end up on a list of hot cocktails, but let me tell you, it’s possible. One Christmas my mom had a bit of sore throat and my Uncle made her some spiked tea. Worked like a charm.


  • I cup of boiling water
  • Black tea bags (can try earl gray tea, or English breakfast to start)
  • Brandy

To make the tea, place tea bag of choice into a mug and pour boiling water over it. Let steep for a few minutes. If you’d like, you can add a spoon of sugar as well for taste. Remove the tea bag and add a splash of brandy.

Serve and drink warm.

Irish Coffee


For your next brunch drink this winter, consider an Irish coffee! This recipe is from a hot cocktails recipe book that I own.

  • 1 oz. Baileys Irish cream
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • Hot black coffee
  • 1 oz fresh whipped cream

Instructions: In your Irish coffee glass, stir sugar into baileys first then top with hot coffee. Add whipped cream as desired.

Boozy Hot Chocolate

You can’t talk about hot winter drinks and hot cocktail recipes without mentioning hot chocolate. This one I’ve used is from Damn Delicious…and it’s pretty delicious.


  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 ounce Kahlúa coffee liqueur
  • Mini marshmellows, for serving
  • Salted caramel for serving
  • Chocolate syrup for serving

Instructions: In a saucepan, combine milk, sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg over medium heat until heated through, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Kahlúa.

Serve immediately, garnished with mini marshmallows, salted caramel, and chocolate syrup, if desired.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, these easy hot cocktails keep you warm and fuzzy this holiday and winter season. For me, there’s a lot of fun and stress relief associated with making and drinking these. It’s also a great thing to do by yourself, with friends, or as a fun date idea where you can figure out which ones are your favorites!

Happy drinking (and experimenting)!

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