The notion of “winter drinks” tends to conjure two types of cocktails: long and hot or short and boozy. But the category has more to offer than just hot toddies and Manhattans. Drawing on winter’s spicy, citrusy and warming flavors, a new crop of tall, cold-weather coolers expands the modern canon.
Many simply riff on existing blueprints, elaborating on the tried and tested with subtle tweaks to the expected profile. Take the Red Queen, for example, a mulled wine lookalike, served over ice, with extra fortification courtesy of both bourbon and herbaceous Amaro Braulio. Similarly, the High Altitude Highball, a spin on a classic whisky highball, is made après-ski-ready with a touch génépy.
Though more commonly associated with the summer months, the spritz proves its pan-seasonal adaptability in drinks like the Sanguinello Spritz; built on a base of spicy-yet-bitter Barolo Chinato and blood orange juice, it gets an extra dose of richness from vanilla syrup. Likewise, the Mexican Tricycle, a distant cousin of another classic Italian aperitivo, the Bicicletta, riffs on a bitter three-ingredient formula with smoky mezcal, hard cider and a kick of Cynar for an easy aperitif designed for cooler weather.
Equally simple is the King Neptune’s Tonic, which marries dark rum and coffee liqueur with a savory base of oloroso sherry. Topped with tonic and garnished with a grapefruit twist, it’s proof that a winter drink can be both refreshing and complex—without being high octane.
For more winter recipes, see Winter Drinks, a collection of 70 cocktail recipes built to fortify against the cold, featuring essential classics; updated riffs on traditional toddies, punches, nogs and spiked coffees; and thoroughly modern drinks built to channel the season.