Nothing warms you up faster (and with more fun!) than a delicious winter cocktail after a long hard day at work or at home with the kids. And when you do so with those closest to you, those freezing temperatures suddenly become a walk in the park. So grab your cocktail mixer and add a dash of rum, tequila, whiskey, brandy, or vodka to fresh juices, with sweet spices, and become the ultimate mixologist this season.
For cocktail expert, Jim Meehan, it’s all about balance when mixing a cocktail. “If it’s a margarita, can you taste the tequila? The lime? The triple sec or orange liqueur? Is it too strong or too sweet or too sour or too bitter or is everything in harmony? And just like a chain is as strong as its weakest link, for a great cocktail you need every ingredient to have quality and integrity.” Meehan, the author of The PDT Cocktail Book, also told Food and Wine magazine that the places people often skimp in are the freshness of the juice and price point of the liqueur. So go for the best ingredients and impress your friends and family with these 10 winter cocktail recipes that will keep their insides warm and the party going strong.
1. The Red Carpet Just in time for the Academy Awards, offer this to your guests at your viewing party and watch as your friends lay on their acceptance speeches on thick. This vodka-based drink calls for pear jam, egg white, and ginger and should be dusted with edible gold glitter for ultimate drama.
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2. Citrus Temptation You don’t want to die of scurvy this frigid winter, so be sure to drink your vitamin C in a martin glass. This tempting orange-flavored vodka cocktail, with fresh limes and limoncello will keep the doctor away.
3. Eggnog Martini The holiday season may be officially over, but egg nog with brandy drinking has only just begun. This time our favorite winter cocktail is being served James Bond style, shaken, not stirred, and in a martini glass.
4. Mulled Wine Don’t spend too much time mulling over the name of this cocktail, just drink it. To mull is to heat, sweeten, and flavor a wine or cider with spices. So combine cider and wine, add honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise, and heat it up. Serve in teacups and enjoy what we believe is one of the most amazing winter cocktail recipes out there.
5. Winter Cranberry Martini Adding antioxidants to your martini tonight will help you keep the festive spirit alive until spring. Just add a splash of seasonal cranberry syrup (made at home by you and it’s easy to do!) to your classic gin martini and salud!
6. Sake Martini For those who appreciate all things Japan, this soul-warming martini that substitutes gin for sake, is not only unique, but it’s totally zen. Add some fresh ginger to your olives for a totally gourmet touch.
7. Bourbon Sangria Nothing is so perfectly suited to calm you after a stressful commute home than this full-bodied, boozy sangria. All you will need is a bottle of Marker’ Mark, a bottle of Malbec, pears, apple, cinnamon, and orange slices.
8. Emerald Like the original Manhattan, the winter cocktail known as Emerald requires a dash of orange bitters for the perfect dose of vitamin C. You will also be the coolest person at the table when you order it, because few will have ever heard of it.
9. Hot Cider Rum Punch Give the ultimate pow! to your run-down and stressed system by cooking up some warm apple cider, adding rum and having some well-deserved winter fun. Best party drink ever. Serve in a pretty bowl with a ladle.
10. Mexicocoa This sinful hot drink is made with almond milk, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chili powder, agave nectar, and cayenne pepper. Just bring to a slow simmer, pour in the tequila and stir with a cinnamon stick and serve. Stop smiling so much.
Photos 2 & 4 courtesy of Food Network.com