When the weather outside is frightful, I like to drink something delightful. Some days call for a warm cocktail that will keep me cozy all night. On nights I’m feeling homesick, I may want a rum-based concoction that reminds me of my tropical upbringing in the Philippines.
This being the (objectively awful) year that it is, I needed all the help and inspiration I could get. Here, fifteen spirits professionals shared their winter drinking strategies—and of course, favorite cocktail recipes. And there’s something for every palate—from a Cognac-based old fashioned to ginger highball and beyond.
Easy-to-Make Cocktail Recipes for the Winter
THE HARPER CAROL
“I love American whiskey—so this cocktail was a no-brainer. The Harper Carol is a cold season variation on a ‘Junglebird.’ Kentucky meets tiki, contrasting this base spirit with Italian red bitter liqueur. Then, a cinnamon-date syrup deepens the beverage with notes of soft spices and dried fruit. Pineapple and fresh lemon juice add a sharp tropical acidity to the drink. This libation is a wonderful aperitif sour, best indulged during the holidays. Please enjoy responsibly.” —Adrian Alvarez, bar captain at Cecconi’s, New York City
MORE FOR YOU
1 oz. I.W. Harper whiskey
0.50 oz. Italian red bitters
0.75 oz. pineapple juice
0.75 oz. lemon juice
0.25 oz. cinnamon-date syrup
Method: Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin, shake, double strain into a coupe. Garnish with dehydrated lemon wheel and grated nutmeg.
10 GENERATIONS OLD FASHIONED
“There’s nothing I enjoy more on a cool fall day than an Old Fashioned, which transports me to the vineyards of Cognac during grape harvest. With its high proof and fully round profile, Ferrand 10 Générations acts as the perfect replacement for bourbon in this cocktail—a welcom twist on the classic cocktail.” —Nico de Soto, beverage consultant and owner of Danico (Paris) and Mace (New York City)
2 oz. Ferrand 10 Générations Cognac
0.25 oz. simple syrup
Orange twist, for garnish
Method: Stir all ingredients with ice in mixing glass. Strain and pour over large clear ice cube in double old-fashioned glass. Express the orange peel and place into glass.
BOURBON ‘N’ BERRIES
“We had a significant amount of bourbon in our liquor room when we reopened. Obviously, we wanted to find creative ways to use our inventory since reopening was so costly after the quarantine closure. I wanted something that was approachable, crushable, refreshing, and pretty. I used a whiskey buck as a template, which is basically whiskey and ginger. I amplified that with fresh raspberries, fresh lemon, cracked pepper, and a bit of spiciness from the ginger beer. And I wanted to name it something that was simple and straightforward that really tells it like it is. We’re not looking for any ambiguity these days. Do you like bourbon? Do you like berries? If the answer is yes, you will definitely like this drink.” —Naren Young, bar director at The Fat Radish Popup at The Orchard Townhouse, New York City
1.5 oz. Woodford Reserve bourbon
0.25 oz. Frangelico
0.50 oz. raspberry purée
0.50 oz. lemon juice
0.50 oz. simple syrup
3 dashes saline solution
Barspoon of raspberry vinegar
10 grinds of black pepper in shaker
Method: Shake ingredients and pour on highball glass. Garnish with lemon wheel and 3 skewered raspberries.
“Tea calms me down. And 2020 has been a year where I had to practice a lot of flexibility and roll with the punches—and drinking tea has helped keep me centered and focused. So yes, as you can imagine, I drank a lot of tea these past six months. I also spent time thinking about tea and how so many different cultures and people use tea to bring balance into their lives. For example, the English and Japanese have a high appreciation for tea—along with the peace and tranquility both can bring. Gin has typically been associated with England but Roku breaks the mold and celebrates Japanese botanicals like sencha tea, yuzu peel, and sakura. The Hai Tea is a nod to the English tradition of high tea, where one unwinds after a long workday with a cup of tea, while highlighting Roku’s Japanese flavor profile. After this long year, I think we all deserve to enjoy to unwind and have a Hai Tea with the hope it can bring peace and tranquility for just a moment in our new normal.” —Amanda Carto, bar manager at Nickel City, Austin, TX
1 part Roku gin
0.50 part Giffard Carribbean Pineapple liqueur
1 barspoon honey
1 dash Scrappy’s Cardamom Bitters
1.50 parts hot ginger green tea (Tazo green ginger tea recommended)
Dried pineapple (optional)
Method: Add all ingredients to a heat-safe teacup. Stir 3 to 4 seconds with a small spoon to incorporate ingredients. Drink is intended to be served warm. Garnish with dried pineapple, if desired.
“My inspiration for this pairing was familiar because of my love for Latin culture and the multiple layers of flavor, sight, and sound. Tanqueray London Dry pairs perfectly with the cocktail’s delicate balance of citrus and herbaceous notes.” —Danny Louie, bartender and founder at Gāmsāān Cocktail Co.
1.50 oz. Tanqueray London Dry Gin
0.75 oz. almond syrup
0.75 oz. lime juice
0.25 oz. passionfruit juice
Method: Build all ingredients in a shaker and shake. Fine strain into a punch glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg.
“I’ve found myself avoiding crowds during this period of uncertainty, while still perpetually seeking the sun. From the beginning of quarantine to the recent fall equinox, I’ve enjoyed most of my moments of imbibition on the steps of my classically Chicago wooden fire escape. I will absolutely be enjoying this seasonal sipper on my fire escape to capture all the cherished, yet rare bursts of vitamin D that the skies will allow.” —Brittany Simons, cocktail consultant and former head bartender at Bad Hunter
1.25 parts Suntory Whisky Toki
0.75 part Basque cider
0.50 part Contratto Bianco Vermouth
0.50 part apricot simple syrup
0.25 part Bragg organic apple cider vinegar
Method: Gently stir all ingredients on a lemon twist, strain, pour into chilled Nick and Nora glass. Garnish with a manicured lemon twist.
“Those who know me best know that my two favorite classic cocktails are the daiquiri and the sidecar. With the Jamaican Gold I wanted to build a bridge between the two. And I knew Plantation Xaymaca, with its traditional Jamaican esters and Cognac influence, would be the perfect composer to lead the symphony. The flavors from the sour apple liqueur always remind me of my first visit to the apple orchards in northern California during harvest. The marriage between the rum and the apple liqueur influence thoughts of homemade apple pie. Lemon juice adds the perfect balance and brightness; while cinnamon syrup provides subtle warming spice. The perfect cocktail for chilly winter nights.” —Benjamin Jeffers, bartender at ABV, San Francisco
1.50 oz. Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry Rum
0.75 oz. Leopold Bros. Sour Apple Liqueur
0.75 oz. Lemon Juice
0.25 oz. Cinnamon Simple Syrup**
**Cinnamon Simple Syrup: Bring 250 ml. water to boil and add 15 grams toasted cinnamon. Steep for 10 minutes, strain out cinnamon, and combine equal parts sugar and hot cinnamon tea until dissolved into a syrup. Cool and store in the refrigerator.
Method: Shake with ice, strain, serve up in coupe.
JOHNNIE WALKER GINGER HIGHBALL
“Scotch and ginger is a delicious and refreshing highball that allows some simple twists to elevate it to new heights. Johnnie Walker Black Label has loads of fall fruit flavors, coming from the selection of Speyside malts in the blend. The ginger ale pairs perfectly with the Scotch and the lime garnish freshens up the finish and aroma.” —Aidan Bowie, mixologist
1.5 oz. Johnnie Walker Black Label
4.5 oz. Fever-Tree ginger ale
Method: Combine ingredients in a highball glass over ice and stir. Garnish with a lime wheel or wedge.
CÎROC CRANBERRY MARTINI
“When creating the Cîroc cranberry martini, the first thing that sparked inspiration was the ripe and crisp notes from the white grape in the vodka. Keeping winter in mind, we felt that the presence of cranberry (more specifically, cranberry bitters) would balance these notes while imbuing a palate ideal for the season. The dryness of the Fino Sherry adds additional luxuriousness to the drink and results in a cocktail that should warm up even the coldest night.” —Matt Landes, founder at Cocktail Academy
1.50 oz. Cîroc White Grape vodka
0.75 oz. Fino Sherry
3 dashes cranberry bitters
Method: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Fill with ice and stir 20 to 25 times. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with 3 cranberries on a cocktail pick.
SINGLETON & SPICE
“This is a perfect cocktail for the season. This hot toddy variation is one of my favorites. The honey, hot water, and lemon combination is a great remedy that’s long been known—and pairs with the Singleton 12, which brings spice and smoky notes to the mix. Garnish is important as well—to finish the recipe for more complexity and layers.” —Eric Ribeiro, mixologist and bar manager
1.50 oz. The Singleton of Glendullan 12 Year whisky
4 oz. hot water
0.50 oz. honey
0.25 oz. lemon juice
**add cinnamon and apple slice for a flavor twist
Method: Add all ingredients in a mug glass and garnish with a lemon wheel spiked with 4 cloves and a cinnamon stick.
“We wish you a merry Christmas and here is some Figgy Pudding. This cocktail is inspired by the flavors of a Christmas pud with fig- and date-infused whiskey and OM Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Liqueur. It’s topped with a coconut-lychee whipped cream too. Have a wonderful Christmas!” —Claire Mallett, bartender at Catch One, Los Angeles
2 oz. fig- and date-infused Jack Daniel’s apple whiskey**
0.75 oz. OM Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Liqueur
0.50 oz. Becherovka
0.50 oz. Frangelico
Coconut-Lychee whipped cream**
**Infused Whiskey: Add 2 figs (sliced) and 6 dates to a mason jar of Jack Daniel’s Apple. Leave for 7 days. Remove the fruit and the whiskey is ready to use.
**Coconut-Lychee Whipped Cream: Add 2 oz. of OM Coconut and Lychee Liqueur to whipping cream and whisk.
Method: Pour ingredients into mixing glass with ice and stir. Pour the mixture into your glass and top with coconut-lychee whipped cream.
TOKI HOT RINGO
“I don’t know about you but I need all the squishy and comforting feelings this winter. This warm cocktail filled with local bright apples and baking spices brings back memories of going to orchards with my family, witnessing the leaves change, and taking a bite of the first apple I picked off a tree. It urges you to relax and sit by a crackling fire to enjoy the subtle vanilla and ginger notes of the Suntory Toki paired with fresh cider and local honey. Get yourself some apple cider donuts and you will be wrapped up in heaven.” —Meredith Barry, beverage development consultant at Niche Food Group
Ingredients (Serves Two):
4 parts Suntory Whisky Toki
1 part local honey
4 parts fresh-pressed apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
Small pinch of salt (optional)
Fresh sliced Fuji apple, candied ginger, and honeysuckle flowers (for garnish)
Method: Rough chop cinnamon stick. Place cinnamon pieces and clove in a saucepan and toast until fragrant on medium–high heat. Add cider and salt. Lower heat to medium. Bring cider up to desired temperature. (Do not boil.) Take mixture off heat, then add honey and Suntory Toki. Stir until honey is dissolved. Remove pieces of spices. Pour into a teacup or mug. Garnish with fresh apple slices and candied ginger.
PUNCHING 2020 (FOR A PAIR OR A POD)
“The drink is a semi-modern reiteration of what probably would have been drunk at a New Year’s Eve celebration in the 1920s with the Fitzgerald. The ideal way to enjoy it would be in the once-omnipresent communal punch bowl with fresh raspberries and orange slices floating around. But since we’re still living through this pandemic and safety is a must, it’s as easy to shake a single serving. The citruses and the raspberry syrup are complementary to the aromatic Pomp & Whimsy flavor profile—with a little kick from the absinthe and a touch of complexity from the cognac-based triple sec.” —Giuseppe Santochirico, libations curator for Halftone Spirits at Finback Brooklyn, New York City
Ingredients (Single Serving):
2 dashes absinthe
0.25 oz. Benedectine
0.50 oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
0.50 oz. lime juice
0.50 oz. lemon juice
0.75 oz. raspberry syrup
2 oz. Pomp and Whimsy Gin Liqueur
4 oz. Champagne (or dry sparkling wine)
Ingredients (6 Servings):
12 dashes absinthe
2 oz. Benedectine
3 oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
3 oz. lime juice
3 oz. lemon juice
4.5 oz. raspberry syrup
12 oz. Pomp and Whimsy Gin Liqueur
1 750 ml. bottle of Champagne (or dry sparkling wine)
Method (Single): Pour all the ingredients in the shaker but the sparkling wine, shake, top with wine in the shaker, serve over ice in a small wine glass or a cocktail glass. Garnish with fresh raspberries and orange slices.
Method (Batched): Pour all the ingredient in a large punch bowl, add ice and stir to adequately mixing the punch. Garnish with fresh raspberries and orange slices.
JILO OLD FASHIONED
“The Jilo Old Fashioned is perfect for any occasion but it especially soothes the soul on a cold day. Let the robust and toasted notes of corn (unlike you have ever had) warm your body—while the light hint of chamomile, honey, and cocoa rounds everything out with a long finish. This gives you a small taste of Mexico in the comfort of your own home!” —Cesar Sandoval, national ambassador at Abasolo
2 oz. Abasolo Ancestral Corn Whisky
0.50 parts Nixta Licor de Elote
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Lemon and orange twists, for garnish
Method: Add Abasolo, Nixta, and bitters to a mixing glass, then add ice and stir until cold and diluted. Zest citrus over rocks glass and add fresh ice. Strain drink into glass, roll zest into attractive curls and lay garnish atop the ice.
“Twenty–twenty was a weary trainwreck of a year, but this tropical tepache tipple is refreshingly balanced.”
1.5 oz. rum
2 oz. Big Easy Pineapple Tepache
0.75 oz. ginger syrup, such as The Ginger People organic ginger syrup
0.5 oz. fresh lemon juice (Natalie’s brand preferred)
2 dashes bitters, such as Angostura
Pineapple leaf, for garnish
Sparkling water, such as Topo Chico, to top
Method: Combine rum, ginger syrup, lemon juice, and bitters in a shaker tin filled with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice cubes into a cocktail glass. Top with tepache and sparkling water and garnish.
“This cocktail really brings out the different flavors of the holidays with the cranberry, pomegranate, and rosemary. The fruity, citrus notes that you get from the fresh juices complements the fresh agave and oak notes from the Patrón Reposado, which makes for a truly refreshing cocktail. It also doesn’t hurt that the cocktail is a beautiful red color making it perfect for any holiday celebration.” —Stephen Halpin, manager of mixology and trade at Patrón Tequila
1.5 oz. Patrón Reposado tequila
0.75 oz.rosemary simple syrup
0.75 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. pomegranate juice
1 oz. cranberry juice
2 oz. club soda
Method: Combine all ingredients except soda water in a shaker with ice. Shake to chill and combine. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice, top with club soda and garnish with a rosemary sprig.