When it comes to winter weddings, it’s a perfect season for all things warm, comfy, and cozy. And, naturally, that extends to what you serve—from the cake to the salad and, perhaps most importantly, the cocktails!
According to Kate Bolton, owner of Mint & Mirth, winter is all about citrus cocktails. "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 a Meyer lemon, clementines, and kumquats to set drinks like mimosas and hot toddies apart.
And just as we break out certain flavors for winter baking, spices can also play a role in winter cocktail recipes as well. According to Ross Steidel, owner of 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.
In addition to adding citrus accents and savory spices, Steidel says he also sees a change in the type of alcohol used in drinks this time of year. “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 note, Stiedel calls out a trend towards 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 ole' old fashioned.
Keep reading for 23 winter wedding cocktails that will surely impress everyone on your (guest) list. Cheers!
Holiday Bourbon Cocktail
This super simple bourbon cocktail combines bourbon, ginger ale or ginger beer, and cranberry juice for a gorgeous winter sipper. Garnish with rosemary and cranberries for a fresh, seasonal look. For the full recipe by The Beauty Blotter, see below.
- Ginger ale or ginger beer
- Cranberry juice
- Cranberries and rosemary (for garnish)
Directions: Mix bourbon, cranberry juice, and ginger ale together in equal parts. Pour into glasses, over crushed ice, and decorate with a few cranberries and a sprig of rosemary.
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 bevvy. For the full recipe by Lark & Linen, see below.
- 2 teaspoon salted caramel sauce
- Maldon sea salt
- 3 ounce Irish cream
- 3 ounce Amaretto
- 3 ounce whole milk
Directions: Using a teaspoon, drizzle the salted caramel on the inside of the glass, turning it as you drizzle to get a nice swirl effect. Fill the glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, add a few ice cubes and all of your ingredients. Shake well (for longer than you think!) until the cocktail shaker is freezing to the touch. Pour into prepared glasses, top with a rosemary or thyme sprig, and enjoy!
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 in a bit of coffee flavor with a summer-inspired cocktail. Your guests will love the twist on classic s’ mores flavor using a deeper, rich liqueur for winter.
Pot ‘O Gold Cocktail
There’s nothing better than combining dark, flavorful liquors with a bit of ginger and honey for winter….unless you add gold glitter 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 pairing to incorporate the bright flavors of citrus during winter. Garnish this bevvy with orange peel, cranberries, and a sprig of fresh thyme for a picture-perfect look. For the full recipe by Crowded Kitchen, see below.
- 1 ounce unsweetened cranberry juice
- 3 ounce orange juice
- 2 ounce whiskey
- ½ ounce Cointreau
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ ounce simple syrup
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 ounce ginger beer
Directions: Add all ingredients except ginger beer to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds and strain into chilled glass. Top off with ginger beer and garnish with orange peel and fresh thyme.
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 quintessential summer drink using a gin-based fruit liqueur and decked out with plenty of fruit garnishes. Make a twist on this sunny classic by mixing up the flavors of fresh orange and cinnamon and serving it hot.
Bourbon & 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 Bailey’s, 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. For the full recipe by Lark & Linen, see below.
- 1 marshmallow
- 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
- 1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs
- 1 ounce vodka
- 2 ounce Baileys
- 2 ounce 2% milk
Directions: Place your marshmallow in a small pan, over medium heat, and toast until browned (1-2 minutes). Meanwhile, rim a lowball glass with chocolate sauce, and dip immediately in graham cracker crumbs. Fill your cocktail shaker with ice, toss in the vodka and Bailey’s and shake vigorously. Place 2-3 ice cubes in your glass, pour liquor mixture over top, fill the rest of the glass with milk, top with toasted marshmallow and enjoy!
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.
Cinnamon Rosemary Old Fashioned
Take 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.
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 dance party.
Cold Brew Coffee Painkiller
Wake up the wedding party with this mixture of coffee, paired with fresh pineapple juice and coconut cream. This cocktail is such a fun way to pair unique flavors with the deep, rich notes of coffee. For the full recipe by Perfect Pour Cocktail Co., see below.
- 2 ounce Pusser’s Rum
- ½ ounce cold brew coffee
- ½ ounce passionfruit syrup
- ½ ounce fresh pineapple juice
- ¾ ounce Coco Lopez coconut cream
Directions: Shake ingredients with crushed ice. Fill glass and top with crushed ice and grated nutmeg.
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. For the full recipe by Honey and Birch, see below.
- 1 cup milk
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons baking cocoa
- 1 ounce crème de menthe
Directions: In a small pot, heat the milk over low heat. When the milk begins to boil, remove the pot from the heat. Add the salt and baking cocoa. Whisk well, until all cocoa clumps have dissolved. Add the crème de menthe to a mug and pour the hot chocolate over the liqueur. Stir, then garnish as desired.
Dirty Chai Martini
The rich, black tea flavors and dark spices from chai tea are the perfect base for a winter cocktail. Bring espresso 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.
Ice and Stars Cocktail
Combine the winter citrus flavors of Meyer lemon with gin and a bit of sparkling wine for this effervescent cocktail. Garnish with rock candy for a true pop of winter sparkle. For the full recipe by Mint and Mirth, see below.
- 1½ ounce gin (such as Freeland gin)
- ¾ ounce rosé syrup
- ¾ ounce Meyer lemon juice
- 2 ounce dry sparkling wine (such as cava)
Directions: Shake all ingredients, save the sparkling wine, and strain. Top with sparkling wine. Rosé Syrup: In a medium saucepan bring one 750ml bottle of dry rosé to a low boil and continue boiling until reduced by half. While the liquid is still hot add 1.5 cups of sugar and stir to dissolve. Store in a glass container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Moscow Reindeer Cocktail
Obsessed with Moscow mules during the summer months? There’s no reason you can’t incorporate your faves during winter! Offer a spin on the summer classic by simply adding candy cane garnish.
Cranberry Orange Cocktail
Winter is all about incorporating bright citrus to lift your spirits during those winter months. Highlight this bold winter fruit by combining the flavors of orange, cinnamon, and cranberry all in one gorgeous cocktail.