When chilly nights roll in, there’s nothing more soothing than an Irish coffee or mulled wine. These seven expert-recommended hot cocktail recipes are designed to beat back the cold, and include everything from single-serving beverages to crowd-pleasing batched cocktails.
Hot Cocktail Recipes for Winter That’ll Warm You From the Inside Out
1. Mulled Wine
The first records of mulled wine date back to 2nd century Rome and today every country with a wine culture has its own take, from the German gluhwein, to Swedish glogg, and Turkish sicak sarap. Despite the local names, the recipes for these mulled wines have much in common with only variations in what fruits, sugars, and spices are added—sometimes liquor as well.
“Cultures will adapt recipes to regional tastes,” says Maria del Mar Sacasa, author of Winter Cocktails. Adding, “Modern-day versions are more subject to interpretation, given how global our palates have become.”
Crafting a mulled wine recipe, says del Mar Sacasa, tends to follows a Goldilocks approach of not too sweet and not too tart. If you’re creating your own concoction, she advises, “balance it with toasted spices for depth, fresh herbs for brightness, and citrus juice to curb sweetness.”
For anyone who just wants a bulletproof recipe to follow, we have a contemporary and very Californian take on the warm winter beverage. This version, dubbed “The Getaway Driver,” comes from Shead Guinn, bartender at the award-winning farm-to-table Lucy Restaurant and Bar in Yountville, California.
Guinn’s mulled wine was created as the winter counterpart for his summer sangria. “I wanted to use a lot of spices—cloves, cinnamon, allspice and star anise,” says Guinn. “Because all of these really scream winter.”
Guinn then followed the age-old trend of including his local ingredients—in this case, Napa wine and California oranges.
The Getaway Driver Mulled Wine
Makes 20-22 6-oz servings
- 1 bottle Napa Valley red wine
- 1 bottle orange Combier triple sec
- 1 cup Four Roses Bourbon
- 3¼ cups cranberry juice
- 1 cup orange juice
- 16 oz spiced syrup (star anise, cinnamon sticks, all spice, cloves) packaged in a cheese cloth
- Sliced fruit (1 Granny Smith or Fuji apple, 1 orange, 1 cup fresh cranberries)
- Add all ingredients to a large pot and gently simmer at least 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to infuse.
- Remove the spice package and serve in a warm mug or handled glass.
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