Choosing a winter wedding date comes with advantages you won’t find during any other season. Finding the perfect venue may be easier, and travel may even be cheaper. Not to mention, wintertime weddings offer the most magical photo ops, stunning wedding attire, and freshly fallen snow. Another major bonus? You’ll be able to stretch your creativity even further with the addition of hot cocktails on your bar menu.
During the warmer months, cool, refreshing cocktails certainly shine. But winter weddings offer the option to choose between cold and hot cocktails, or you can even serve up a menu that features both.
“Most aged spirits lend themselves well to being mixed in hot cocktails," says mixologist Jordan Hughes. “Different kinds of whiskey and bourbon are safe choices, as well as brandy and cognac. Certain forms of aged rum would also be nice, and even some aged tequilas.”
You can also choose a variety of flavor additions or garnishes to make each cocktail shine. “When it comes to using fresh citrus in [hot] cocktails, lemon is your best bet,” adds Hughes. “Adding spices is especially fun, and there are seldom any wrong answers there. Allspice, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg all play well together.” Orange zest as a garnish, along with the addition of herbs such as rosemary and sage, can take a hot winter cocktail to the next level as well.
Meet the Expert
Jordan Hughes is the award-winning mixologist and industry photographer behind the popular blog and Instagram account High-Proof Preacher.
While there are plenty of benefits when it comes to flavor options for hot cocktails, there’s also a great logistical advantage for your bartender. Many hot cocktails can be easier and quicker to mix up for a larger group. “Compared to most cocktails that require being shaken or stirred with ice, hot drinks tend to require fewer bar tools and bartending know-how, and can more easily be made in large batches for easy serving,” says Hughes. “You can even place batched hot cocktails in large carafes for guests to serve themselves.”
Think serving a warm drink for your winter wedding is the best bet? Below, find 10 delicious hot cocktail recipe ideas to get your planning started.
Mulled White Wine
Mulled wine is one of the most popular alcoholic winter drinks, but this version really elevates the classic. Using white wine instead of red makes for such a stunning color; with white wine as the base, paired with orange and lemon slices and spices, this is a beautifully citrus-forward sip. Plus, if preferred, it's easy to make even stronger with the addition of Grand Marnier or brandy.
Pimm's Winter Cup
A traditional Pimm's Cup is made with gin and served cold as a refreshing summer drink. This version uses apple juice, caramel, and oranges to create a clever, flavorful spin to enjoy during the cooler months. Serve it warm garnished with an orange slice and cinnamon stick as the ideal winter cocktail.
Apple Cider Hot Toddy
A hot toddy is a perfect winter warmer, typically made with a mixture of whiskey, honey, and lemon juice. This version spruces the classic up for the season to make it all the more comforting. Apple cider, maple syrup, and bourbon are the stars of this hot toddy with a twist.
Spiced Hot Buttered Rum
Hot buttered rum is a classic winter cocktail that dates back centuries. It's made with a batter of butter and brown sugar as the base, with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove mixed in. Hot water and rum are then added to finish it off, creating a cozy warm cocktail to sip from a beautiful mug.
Your winter cocktail menu is a great excuse to serve up drinks in personalized mugs that guests can take home as a wedding favor!
Spiced Cranberry & Gin Hot Toddy
Cranberries always have a seat at the holiday table. Why not invite them to your wedding, too? This warm cocktail is inspired by a hot toddy, made with gin, honey, cranberry juice, and sweet vermouth that yiels a great flavor and a stunning color.
Looking for the perfect pick-me-up for your guests? Ask your bartender to impress the crowd with Spanish coffee. This hot drink is made with rum, triple sec, coffee liqueur, and brewed coffee—and it's sure to be a welcome addition to any late-night reception.
Honeycrisp Apple Hot Buttered Rum
Take a classic cup of hot buttered rum and spice it up. This cocktail recipe features a Honeycrisp apple syrup used to infuse even more flavor into the buttered rum batter. Serve this hot cocktail in a pretty mug and add apple slices and cinnamon sticks for a beautiful garnish.
Red Wine Hot Chocolate
Hoping for a warm drink without the addition of liquor? Combine red wine and chocolate! This decadent drink is stunning when served up in mini mugs, whether you want a sip to pair with dessert or a late-night treat.
Mulled wine is absolutely timeless. Made with red wine as the base, brandy or bourbon, plus citrus and sweeteners, it's a stunning drink that will warm your guests even on the coldest of winter days.
Tequila Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate
Want a hot cocktail that's entirely approachable? Use hot chocolate as your base! Switch up this timeless childhood treat with the addition of cinnamon and cayenne for a spicy kick, and add tequila to take this winter drink to the next level.