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Winter warmer cocktails

As the snow and winter comes db suggests a number of winter warmer cocktails to help you keep out the cold.

From a hot toddy to mulled wine, there are some classic warming drinks, but what about the after dinner mint or a hot buttered rum? There’s a great range of drinks to enjoy that will help you keep out the cold.

Although some people like to use these drinks in a medicinal way, there are some warnings that go with that. A motorist in the UK was banned from driving after he was found to be over the drink-drive limit after making a “medicinal” tipple.

Kenneth Kirton created a drink using a fortified wine, mixed with sugar and hot water, but was still over the limit when he drove the following morning. Kirton said: “I didn’t realise it was 17% wine. You drink it with lots of sugar, hot water and fresh lime, and it doesn’t taste alcoholic at all.”

So care needs to be taken, and the American Lung Association is against using alcoholic drinks to fight a common cold, as it can cause dehydration. But these drinks can be used to help you keep warm, so rug up, get the fire on, decide which of these drinks you want to enjoy and forget about the cold weather outside.

Hot toddy


There are many different versions and recipes for the hot toddy.

This drink is a favourite of this scribe, so a fair amount of research has gone into creating this particular version.

Ingredients: A healthy slug of Scotch whisky, a teaspoon of honey, a slice of lemon, 4-6 cloves and hot water. Simply place the cloves into the slice of lemon, then combine all the ingredients into a cup or glass. Sit down, relax and feel yourself warm up.

Do you have a favourite winter warmer drink? Email us at and we’ll publish the best ones.


Mulled wine

As with the hot toddy there are a multitude of recipes available for making a mulled wine. The drink has also become the focus of many celebrity chefs over the festive period and it is from one of those chefs that we take our inspiration: you’ve got to love Delia.

Heat a couple of bottles of wine with six tablespoons of honey, an orange studded with cloves, a few slices of orange and lemon, some ground ginger and a cinnamon stick, and allow to simmer gently for 20 minutes before serving. Delia also recommends two tablespoons of Grand Marnier, and then a couple more for good measure.


This is a version of mulled wine that is sold on continental Europe, usually in Germany.

Pour a bottle of cheap red wine into a saucepan and add around 50g of sugar to taste. Add one teaspoon of cloves and a cinnamon stick plus the juice of one orange and a lemon. Some recipes suggest studding orange quarters with cloves and adding that to the mix.

Heat the mix until warmed, but not boiling, strain and serve.

Be aware that because this has been heated and not boiled it is still an alcoholic drink.


Rusty hot apple toddy


This one comes from the Drambuie brand ambassador, Bruce Hamilton, who has developed several festive cocktail recipes.

For one
50ml Drambuie Original
150ml pressed apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
20ml sugar syrup
25ml lemon juice
2 orange twists
Heat all the ingredients together except the Drambuie. Add the Drambuie to a teacup or handled latte glass, then, strain in the warm apple juice mixture. Garnish with a lemon slice and a fresh cinnamon stick.

Hot spiced cider

As with many winter warmers, the recipe can be altered according to taste, but here’s one version to use as a starting point.

Pour around 1.5 litres of cider into a large saucepan, take the zest from an orange in strips and add that to the cider with four small cinnamon sticks, four cloves a small amount of freshly grated nutmeg and two tablespoons of brown sugar.

Stir and gently heat the mixture, making sure it doesn’t boil, heating for around 20 minutes. Add a shot of rum to serve and garnish with the cinnamon and the orange zest from the pan.

Hot buttered rum

1 tsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp maple syrup
½ tsp ground allspice
50ml/2fl oz golden rum
apple juice, warmed, to top up
cinnamon stick, to garnish
freshly grated nutmeg, to garnish

It’s an unfortunate fact of life (especially when you’ve got to watch your cholesterol) that butter makes everything taste better. And here’s a winter warmer drink with melted butter in it.

To make this just place the butter into a heatproof glass or cup and then add the maple syrup, allspice and rum. Top up the glass with warmed apple juice and mix with a spoon until the butter has melted and emulsified. Gently heat up the cinnamon stick, being careful not to burn it and use it as a stirrer. You can garnish with fresh nutmeg if desired.

Winter warmer cocktail

With ginger, honey and lemon there is a throat-soothing, almost healing feel to this drink, although the American Lung Association recommends avoiding using alcoholic beverages to treat a common cold as they cause dehydration. But they are a great way to help fight off the winter blues. This warmer is slightly different to the others in that it is not a hot drink, but there is little denying that the ingredients mean it will warm you up.

3 slices root ginger
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon runny honey
20ml Belvoir organic ginger cordial
10ml Goldschlager
40ml Krupnik honey vodka
Lightly crush the root ginger and shake and strain with all other ingredients into a martini glass.

Irish coffee

A long-time favourite of the alcoholic hot drink category, the Irish coffee is believed to have originated when Joe Sheridan decided to put Irish whiskey into the coffee of passengers disembarking from a particularly miserable Pan Am flying boat in the 1940s.

To prepare combine two parts Irish whiskey with four parts hot coffee and a teaspoon of brown sugar.

Top off with fresh cream and enjoy.

Derivatives of Irish coffee include Scottish coffee, served with Scotch whisky, Mexican coffee with Tequila and Kahlua and Jamaican coffee, which is served with rum.

After dinner mint

1/2oz white crème de menthe
3/4oz peach liqueur
1/2oz vodka
Hot chocolate
Whipped cream

Many people enjoy an after dinner mint and as we battle through winter there’s no reason why this hot chocolate-based cocktail shouldn’t be enjoyed as well.

Add the alcohol to a coffee mug and then fill the mug with hot chocolate and garnish with whipped cream.


Hot Christmas punch


This was a late entry into the winter warmer list, sent to us by Ballantine’s.

Their suggested method for making the punch is to combine three parts Ballantine’s Christmas Reserve, one part apricot liqueur and two parts spiced berry cordial.

To this you add eight parts hot water, to taste, and then ladle into warm glass or mug, garnish with orange peel, raspberries and raisins.

Hot Scotch nightcap


The final winter warmer is another variation on a Scotch winter warmer. This one uses a “Rusty Nail” cocktail for its base.

Mix Scotch whisky with Drambuie, add a shot of dark crème de cacao and top-up with boiling milk.

Do you have a favourite winter warmer drink? Email us at and we’ll publish the best ones.

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