When it comes to winter weddings, they're perfect for all things warm, comfy, and cozy. And, naturally, that extends to what you serve—from the salad to the cake and, perhaps most importantly, the cocktails! Incorporating classic seasonal flavors into your wedding's signature cocktail will create a delicious and unforgettable experience your guests will love.
According to Kate Bolton, owner of cocktail catering company Mint & Mirth, winter is all about citrus. "A lot of people have the preconception that citrus is only for summer, but really, it’s a winter fruit," she says. "Incorporating citrus will add a little brightness to dreary months.” Take Bolton's advice at your winter wedding by using Meyer lemon, clementines, and kumquats to set drinks like mimosas and hot toddies apart.
Meet the Expert
- Kate Bolton is the owner of Mint & Mirth, an Oregon-based specialty cocktail catering company. She has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry.
- Ross Steidel is the owner of The Perfect Pour Cocktail Co., a Seattle-based, all-inclusive mobile craft cocktail bar.
Just as we break out certain flavors for winter baking, spices can also play a role in cocktail recipes. According to Ross Steidel, owner of The Perfect Pour Cocktail Co., cocktails start to feature more dark spices, such as star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg, this time of year. He says all can be easily incorporated into recipes that go well with the colder weather.
Steidel says he also sees a change in the type of alcohol used in drinks. “Gin season is coming to a close, and so you start to see more brandy and cognac in the winter months,” he explains. “Brown spirits, like aged rum or bourbon, are also big.” As a final tip, Stiedel notes the trend toward more simple cocktail recipes this time of year, meaning it might be the time to skip all the extracts and add-ons in favor of, say, a good ol' old-fashioned.
Keep reading for 23 winter wedding cocktails that are sure to impress everyone on your guest list. Cheers!
Holiday Bourbon Cocktail
This super-simple bourbon cocktail by The Beauty Blotter combines bourbon, ginger ale or ginger beer, and cranberry juice for a gorgeous winter drink. Garnish with rosemary and cranberries for a fresh, seasonal look.
Cranberry Champagne Cocktail
Add a little bit of bubbly to your big day with this Champagne cocktail. Mixing Champagne with the tart flavor of cranberry is the perfect way to celebrate the season.
Salted Caramel White Russian
Nothing says cozy like the sweet notes of caramel. Combine the flavors of salted caramel, Irish cream, and amaretto for a stunning winter bevy.
Incorporate deep, red notes from your favorite cabernet with orange, cinnamon, clove, and star anise for a comforting cocktail. This is such a simple drink to make ahead of time and serve hot to warm up your guests.
S’mores Kahlua Cocktail
Bring a bit of coffee flavor to a rich, summer-inspired cocktail. Your guests will love the twist on the classic s’mores flavor, using a deep, rich liqueur for winter.
Pot o' Gold Cocktail
There’s nothing better than combining a flavorful whiskey with a bit of ginger and honey—unless you add edible gold, too! This cocktail is such an elegant way to serve up the flavors of winter.
Cranberry-Orange Whiskey Cocktail
Mixing darker liquors like whiskey with a touch of Cointreau is the perfect way to incorporate the bright flavors of citrus during. Garnish this bevy with orange peel, cranberries, and a sprig of fresh thyme for a picture-perfect look.
Warm everyone up with this fun and festive cocktail, which mixes the flavors of seasonal cranberries with dark spices like cinnamon and clove for a great hot cocktail option. This can be prepped ahead of time and served on the spot for wedding guests.
Pimm’s Winter Cup
The Pimm’s cup is typically a summer drink that uses a gin-based liqueur and is almost always decked out with plenty of fruit garnishes. Put a twist on this sunny classic by mixing up the flavors of fresh orange and cinnamon and serving it hot, as Culinary Ginger suggests.
Bourbon and Spiced Pear Cocktail
Bring a bit of bourbon to the party. Darker liquors work so well during the winter season, especially when paired with the flavors of pear, orange peel, allspice, and cinnamon.
Who says campfires are only for summer? Notes of Baileys, graham cracker, and chocolate can also make for a solid drink, so ask your bartender to serve this option hot or cold depending on your preference.
Tequila-Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate
Tequila can often be considered the perfect shooter for warmer months, but try pairing it with hot chocolate to elevate your winter bar options. The flavors of cinnamon and cayenne add the perfect punch of flavor for winter.
Put a spin on an old classic with this great winter option. A seasonal cinnamon rosemary simple syrup is mixed with bourbon and bitters to make this wonderful winter drink by Salted Plains.
Pink Peppermint Cocktail
There’s no shame in adding a splash of pink and a little candy to your big day! This drink brings the nostalgic flavors of winter into the mix with candy cane vodka and crème de cacao for a fun addition to the party.
Apple Hot Buttered Rum
Carry the flavors of fall into winter with bold cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Hot buttered rum is a classic winter drink and a delicious way to offer a warm cocktail in a mug for your big day.
Rosemary Vodka Gimlet
Gimlets are often an easy summer sipper with gin and lime juice. Make a winterized version incorporating the earthy flavors of rosemary and vodka for a unique seasonal spin.
Boozy Mint Hot Chocolate
Bring your bar selections back to winter basics with hot chocolate—but add a twist! This boozy hot chocolate uses crème de menthe.
Dirty Chai Martini
The rich flavors and dark spices of chai tea are the perfect base for a winter cocktail. Bring espresso and maple syrup into the mix, and you have the perfect seasonal martini.
Tom and Jerry Cocktail
Sipping this cocktail is a tradition for many families. Make it the same at your wedding by serving the classic with rum, brandy, and the deep, bold flavor of nutmeg.
Moscow Reindeer Cocktail
Obsessed with Moscow mules during the summer months? There’s no reason you can’t incorporate your faves into winter! Offer a spin on the summer classic by simply adding candy cane garnish.
Winter is all about incorporating bright citrus to lift your spirits during those darker months. Highlight this bold winter fruit by combining the flavors of orange, cinnamon, and cranberry all in one gorgeous cocktail.
Grapefruit-Cardamom Gin Fizz
Gin is known for being a summer month spirit, but that doesn't mean it can't be incorporated into a winter wedding drink. This recipe adds a winter twist by using cardamom-infused gin. The spice combined with the tart grapefruit makes for a unique blend of flavors your guests will love.
Get the recipe.
Classic Hot Toddy
A hot toddy is a perfect drink on a chilly evening. The best part is that the recipe works with a variety of different spirits, so you can pick your favorite for your signature cocktail. Then, top it off with star anise and a cinnamon stick.