The Coziest Cocktails

As the temperature drops, you find yourself running from class to class bundled like a sherpa, only to take your seat and spend the whole class trying to get the feeling back in your fingers. Or you are home for break and want to get your drink on, but there is no way in hell you are going out in the snow.

If the stress and the chill start getting to you, or if you just want to curl up with something steamy, nothing takes the edge off quite like a warm, holiday-y cocktail. They are the liquid version of comfort foods; kid’s drinks full of your favorite rich, wintry flavors, spiked with booze for that extra ahhhhhh factor.

The best part? The tastiest ones are also the simplest, so you don’t have to go buy some of those random liquers you’ll use once every ten years (Kirsch? seriously?). Here are a few of my favorite ideas for defrosting from the inside out. Best for apres ski… well, apres anything, really.

Hot Toddy

1 oz (2 tablespoons) bourbon

1 tablespoon mild honey

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup boiling-hot water

Put bourbon, honey, and lemon juice in a 6-ounce mug. Top off with hot water and stir until honey is dissolved.

Mulled Wine

Bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon

1/3 cup orange juice

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp powdered clove

1 Tbsp whole cloves

2 tsp honey

1 Tbsp brown sugar


Combine ingredients in a large saucepan over very low heat. Warm carefully, stirring frequently. Serve warm.


Spiked Cider

6 oz. hot apple cider

Three whole cloves

One stick of cinnamon

1 1/2 oz. bourbon

Pour cider and bourbon into a stemmed mug. Garnish with cloves and cinnamon. Serve immediately

Hot Buttered Rum

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

2 cups light brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Pinch ground cloves

Pinch salt

Bottle dark rum

Boiling water

In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Refrigerate until almost firm. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture into a mug. Pour about 3 ounces of rum in, filling about halfway. Top with boiling water, to fill the remaining half. Stir well, and serve immediately.

Irish Hot Chocolate

I saved the best for last, because this is seriously one of my favorite cold weather traditions of all time, even though it barely counts as a recipe. It goes like this:

Prepare hot chocolate mix of choice. Add Bailey’s to taste.

(Works with coffee too! And if you don’t like Irish Cream, well, you’ve got a problem. But Bailey’s now comes in Caramel flavor too! And Godiva makes a pretty delicious chocolate liquor that is aces also.)

[Main photo from

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