Best Winter Cocktails: Top 7 Holiday Drinks, According To Mixologists

Winter may seem like a season where cocktail recipes take second place to the lush, vibrant produce of spring or the juicy fruits of summer. Yet, hidden within the frost-kissed landscapes are underrated ingredients that can transform your cocktail experience and serve as the perfect catalyst to infuse your gatherings with the festive holiday spirit. To ring in the chilly season, we have compiled a list of the best winter cocktails to try out at your next party.

While other seasons yield more popular produce, the winter season offers its own unique treasures that spur mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts to explore its delights. And the frigid temperatures make you want to curl up by the fire with a drink that’ll warm you up even more. 

Winter cocktails blend the cozy embrace of warming spices with indulgent richness. These flavors, mingling in each sip, encapsulate the essence of the season, evoking both warmth and the festive spirit. Considering the average person is going to at least 10 different holiday gatherings this year, you won’t want to show up empty handed. These signature cocktails make for the perfect addition to any party you host or are a guest at.

Whether it’s the comforting spices, the rich textures, or the nod to seasonal flavors, a winter cocktail is an invitation to indulge in the magic of the season. In this article, we’ll uncover seven of the best winter cocktail recipes that can elevate your libation game to new heights. Did we miss your favorite mixed drink? Let us know in the comments!

The List: Best Winter Cocktails, According to Experts

1. Sugar Cookie Martini

The sugar cookie martini is a delightful cocktail that captures “all of the flavors of a sweet, buttery sugar cookie,” says The Pioneer Woman. This drink blends vanilla vodka with a splash of amaretto, creating a base that mirrors the sweet, buttery goodness of sugar cookies. The addition of cream or milk adds a velvety texture, while a rim dusted with sugar completes the experience, reminiscent of the cookie’s irresistible crunch.

Sugar cookie martini
Sugar cookie martini (Photo by Brent Hofacker on Shutterstock)

“Sweet, delicious, and far quicker to make than actual cookies, the sugar cookie martini will surely become your new favorite,” says The Spruce Eats

“For a lighter cocktail, substitute whole milk,” suggests The Pioneer Woman. “On the flip side, heavy cream in place of half-and-half makes the cocktail thicker and frothier. For a sweeter, creamier drink, use melted vanilla ice cream. This cocktail can be as light or as indulgent as you want!”

2. Wassail

Next up is wassail, which is not just a drink but a celebration in a cup. This spiced cider or ale-based concoction warms you up with the flavors of the season and infuses the air with a festive aroma as it mulls. Its warmth is enhanced with the addition of spices, creating a soul-soothing elixir that invites you to join in a centuries-old toast to winter’s bounty and joy.

Homemade wassail
Homemade wassail (Photo by Brent Hofacker on Shutterstock)

“If you’re hosting a traditional caroling party or an old-fashioned Christmas party—or simply want to taste a winter drink with a lot of history behind it—give this traditional wassail recipe a try,” says Country Living.  

You’ll find this beverage to be “particularly for pleasing a winter holiday gathering,” according to

“There’s just nothing better than a Dutch oven simmering with apple cider, fresh oranges, and cinnamon sticks to make your home smell holiday-ready,” says the Pioneer Woman.

3. Irish Coffee

Next on our list is Irish coffee, a classic libation enjoyed year-round that becomes a warming indulgence during the chilly winter months and the festive holiday season. This heartwarming blend serves as a comforting elixir against the biting cold. 

Irish coffee
Irish coffee (Photo by Seva_blsv on Shutterstock)

“Combining coffee with Irish whiskey, brown sugar, and lightly whipped cream, the Irish Coffee is a hot, creamy classic that can wake you up on cold mornings or keep you going after a long night,” says

The Spruce Eats suggests adding “butterscotch schnapps before topping it with whipped cream and caramel.”

You can’t go wrong with this classic. “It’s cozy, delicious, and incredibly easy to make,” adds Delish.

4. Winter Margarita

Next up is the winter margarita, which reimagines a summer classic by infusing it with the essence of winter. Swapping out summer fruits for seasonal delights like warm spices, pomegranate, or cranberry, this twist on the traditional margarita brings a festive flair to the cocktail. 

A white winter margarita
A white winter margarita (Photo by 5PH on Shutterstock)

“Give the classic margarita a festive, ‘snowy’ twist that’ll have you ringing in the season all winter long,” says Delish. “Complete with a sugar rim and cranberry garnish, these margs are the perfect excuse to enjoy a white Christmas in the comfort of your own home, no winter coat required.”

“Using sweet blood oranges and warming spices like vanilla and cinnamon,” Bon Appetit’s version gives “the classic margarita a holiday party upgrade.”

The Spruce Eats offers another variation by adding “cinnamon sugar syrup and some cranberry juice, giving it a festive red tint and hint of warm spice.”

5. Eggnog

The fifth spot goes to eggnog, a beloved holiday staple and the epitome of winter indulgence. This creamy concoction, crafted from a blend of milk, cream, eggs, and sugar, exudes richness and comfort in every sip. Infused with nutmeg, cinnamon, and if you dare, a splash of bourbon or rum, eggnog exudes a cozy warmth that embodies the joy of seasonal festivities. 

A glass of egg nog
A glass of egg nog (Photo by Svetlana_Belozerova on Shutterstock)

“While there’s certainly nothing wrong with purchasing that carton and spiking it yourself at home.” Why? Food & Wine is “here to tell you that if you’ve never had the pleasure of homemade eggnog, you are definitely missing out.”

“​​This homemade eggnog recipe produces a wonderfully festive drink that tastes like spiced melted ice cream and is easier to drink than a cup of dairy and booze has any right to be,” says Bon Appetit

6. Hot Buttered Rum

Butter rum captures the essence of coziness in a drink. This comforting concoction blends velvety butter, brown sugar, and a generous pour of rum, creating a soothing elixir that warms both body and spirit. Infused with hints of vanilla and spices and served warm, it’s a delightful treat that encapsulates the season’s comfort and joy.

Hot buttered rum
Hot buttered rum (Photo by Brent Hofacker on Shutterstock)

“This luxurious, velvety drink is just the thing to sip on a cool night — and using a slow cooker makes it especially easy to pull together,” says Food & Wine. “The end result is a richly flavored batch of drinks perfect for entertaining.”

“Warm up in winter with a glass of fabulously decadent cinnamon butter rum,” says BBC Good Food. “It’s the perfect tipple to enjoy at a festive gathering over the Christmas season.”

It depends on your personal preference, but Marie Claire and Glamour both recommend using bourbon instead of rum for a more robust flavor.

7. Mulled Wine

Think of it like this: “If sangria was made for the summer, then mulled wine is the drink of the winter, ” says Delish.

Mulled wine in a pot
Mulled wine in a pot (Photo by Evgeny Karandaev on Shutterstock)

This aromatic elixir blends robust red wines with an array of warming spices that create a symphony of flavors. Simmered gently with citrus slices and a touch of sweetener, this concoction radiates a fragrant warmth that beckons cozy gatherings and festive cheer. If you are not a fan of the cider or ale base of wassail, mulled wine is the drink for you this winter season

“Serve chilled or over ice, with a twist of orange zest and a star anise,” says BBC Good Food. “If you’d like to serve a traditional warm mulled wine, there’s no need to chill – simply warm through without boiling and serve in heatproof glasses.”

“No other drink can conjure the sound of a crackling fireplace and howling winter winds quite like mulled wine,” says Food & Wine

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.


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