There’s nothing better than a cozy drink to warm you up in the cold! Here are the best winter drinks, from cocktails to hot chocolate.
If you’re not a cold weather person, here’s our winter survival tip: winter drinks! Yes, it’s possible for hot drinks to make up for some of the warmth the sun’s rays. Snuggle up with a fuzzy blanket and one of these drinks, and you’ll be channeling inner cozy in no time!
Here Alex and I put together all our best winter drink recipes for when the days are gray and the evenings are chilly. There’s everything from winter cocktails like our jewel-toned apple cider sangria, to hot drinks like our spiced mulled cider and homemade hot chocolate. We’ve even got that old favorite the hot toddy, perfect for sipping on a cold winter’s night.
And now, our best winter drinks!
First up in our winter drinks: the coziest of them all, mulled cider! This apple cider is simmered with whole spices until it's full of warm spiced flavor. Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and star anise make the best wafting aroma possible. Everyone will want a mug of this one! Add a splash of rum if you'd like. You can make it in a slow cooker, Instant Pot, or on the stove.
Next up: what's a more classic winter drink than a hot toddy? There’s no simmering with mulling spices or ladling out of a punch bowl here. The hot toddy is humble and made for quick and easy preparation at home for drinking around the fire! This version stars bourbon and maple syrup: add hot water and a squeeze of lemon and you're good to go! Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
This homemade gingerbread hot chocolate is so much better than a store bought mix, and just as easy! It’s cozy for Christmas-time or any frosty evening. This one features cozy gingerbread spices: cinnamon, ginger and allspice. With just a handful of ingredients, you can whip up this winter drink in a flash: no packet needed.
Here's spiked cider: the perfect hot winter drink! This one is simmered with cinnamon, cloves, and star anise, then stirred together with a healthy swig of rum. The rum adds a warm roundness to this winter cocktail that's like a warm and cozy hug.
Ever tried mulled wine? It's another classic winter drink that tastes like roaring fires, fuzzy blankets and wool sweaters, all in one! Here you'll combine red wine with honey and orange zest, then simmer with, cloves, cinnamon and allspice. It makes for a savory sweet flavor that everyone will enjoy.
Next up in our winter drinks: who says hot chocolate needs dairy? This homemade vegan hot chocolate is seriously good and creamy, and dairy-free at the same time. Even better: you don't need those store-bought packages to make a tasty cup of cocoa. This one is' seriously chocolate-y using cocoa powder and maple syrup. Keep some stocked in your pantry and fridge so you can whip some up on a moment's notice!
Last up in our winter drink recipes: another cocktail! This apple cider sangria recipe is so beautiful and full of flavor, it's absolutely perfect for wintertime entertaining. It pairs sparkling apple cider with red wine, orange and cinnamon. For serving, keep the layers separate so you get a jewel-tone effect. In a word: wow.
The epitome of cozy winter drinks, mulled hot apple cider is seriously easy to make at home! It’s infused with spices like cinnamon, allspice, and cloves.
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 10 allspice berries
- 10 cloves
- 2 star anise
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 gallon apple cider*
- 1/4 cup rum, optional
- 1 small orange, for garnish
- Whole cranberries, for garnish
- Add the nutmeg, allspice, cloves, star anise and cinnamon to the bottom of a pot. Toast over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. (If you have a slow cooker or Instant Pot, go to Slow Cooker Apple Cider for the next step.)
- Turn the heat to low. Pour in the apple cider and bring to below a simmer, just barely bubbling. Warm for 1 hour on low heat (don’t let it simmer). Skim off any particulate if desired, or stir to re-incorporate it.
- If using, stir in the rum. Garnish with orange slices and cranberries, then serve.
- Category: Drinks
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Winter Drinks, Winter Drink Recipes, Mulled Apple Cider, Apple Cider with Mulling Spices
More drink recipes
Of course, we’ve got more where those came from! Here are a few wintery drink recipes you might enjoy:
- Favorite Whiskey Sour Recipe This sweet tart family favorite recipe is naturally sweetened and always a hit.
- 10 Fantastic Fall Drinks This lineup includes a few more non-alcoholic options that would be great for winter, too.
- Best Moscow Mule Recipe Moscow mules can work in the cold, too, right? Here’s that classic recipe.
- Wild card: The Ski Lift sounds like an intriguing winter cocktail.
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.