Instead of sleigh bells or jingle bells, we're more excited to hear clinks, stirs, and pours of drinks! If we've learned anything in adulthood, the best and perhaps even the only way to get through the holiday season is with a drink in your hand and avoiding looking at your bank account. Really, that's maturity at it's finest!
But the season calls for something a little different than all those summer cocktails we've been enjoying. So put down the margarita, swap out the tequila, and let's get ready to celebrate the jolliest season with the best drinks! We all know about the classic winter cocktails, like hot toddies, eggnog, and Irish coffee, but what if you could get a little wine in your cocktail? Here are a few wintery cocktail recipes that will set this holiday season apart from the years before!
This fragrant and festive drink is made for the wintertime! Mulled wine is created by combining mulled spices with wine. Guess the name said it all, really! Red wine is more common in mulled wine, but heck! These days, recipes call for red, rose, or white wines!
Mulled wine gets its delicious flavor mainly from the mulled spices. When mulled wine is made, the heat creates rich, mouthwatering aromas from the spices. That's why this winter drink is best served hot!
To create mulled wine, you need the following ingredients: wine and mulling spices. That's it! But some mulled wine experts sometimes grab extra liqueur, sweetener, and extra fruit flavorings.
Here's a little bit more detail on the different ingredients you should reach for:
Wine: Per its name, it goes without saying that mulled wine needs wine. But when selecting your wine, pick a basic bottle of dry red or white wine. Why? Because you don't need a nice wine to create this drink. In fact, when the wine is heated, some of the flavor compounds are destroyed. Do you really want that fine wine you've been saving for years to be slightly destroyed? Yeah, we didn't think so! Plus, the other thing to consider is that mulling spices are powerful and often drown out the wine's subtle flavors.
Cinnamon: Make your drink super festive, so why not throw in some cinnamon sticks! You can use any ground cinnamon you have on hand, but you should note that some mulled wine drinkers complain that powdered spices can create a grainy and gritty wine. If this is a concern for you, stick to whole herbs or spice in their raw because you can always strain the grainy texture before serving for a smoother drinking experience. And if you use cinnamon sticks, they make a cute garnish for serving as well.
Mulling spice: While these vary from country to country while simultaneously depending on individual taste preference, a few common spices are used in traditional mulled wines. These include orange and star anise.
Sweetener: Some prefer their mulled wine extra sweet, and if you are a part of this some, feel free to grab a sweetener! It doesn't have to be pure sugar; you can always grab some simple syrup, maple syrup, or honey!
Extra Liquor: Take your cocktail up a notch and add some extra liquor. While the typically spicing alcohol is apple brandy, bourbon, or cognac, pretty much any alcohol will work!
If we've piqued your interest in this traditional winter drink, here's a recipe we're planning on making this holiday season! A recipe from Jamie Oliver that he states, "Come the festive season, there's nothing better than a spiced, warming glass of this mulled wine," it is filled with Cloves, clementines, and of course, wine and merely sounds delicious!
Winter White Sangria
Traditionally, Sangria is a mixed alcoholic beverage that comes from Spain and Portugal. If you speak Spanish, you know that the word Sangria is Spanish for blood. Therefore, the traditional Sangria is made with red wine instead of white wine. But all is fair game in Sangria. When making Sangria the only staunch rules are to create a drink that speaks to your flavor preferences.
And because Sangria's goal is to make a drink with your favorite flavors, whether it's summer or winter, it can always be sangria time! So, why not bring the traditional summer drink into winter. In fact, with a few twists and added ingredients, Sangria could rival Mulled Wine as a traditional holiday drink!
If you're not convinced, don't take our word for it; take National Sangria Day's word for it, which actually falls on December 20th. Plus, Sangria is a great option because it is a drink that you can make ahead and serve all night long, no cocktail shaker needed! Consider adding a touch of lemon juice or lime juice to give it a refreshing zing, and you'll have the perfect, refreshing drink for your next holiday party.
We're going to go ahead and assume that we've successfully convinced you to give this winter drink a try. We can't wait to try Cake n Wine's Winter Wine Sangria because it looks incredibly merry and bright! You infuse it with rosemary, cranberries, and apple, so we're pretty sure this Sangria is the perfect Christmas drink for virtually any drink! Garnish with a sprig of rosemary for a classy touch. Check out the recipe here.
Wine Spiked Hot Chocolate
Glorious. Boozy. Rich. Smooth. Talk about a drink that combines two of our absolute favorite things: wine and chocolate. Wine is good. Chocolate is good. So together, they must be good. But, we weren't born yesterday, so we know there are probably quite a few people who are disgusted by the idea of mixing wine and hot chocolate. But here's the thing: wine spiked hot chocolate is delicious and if you don't want to take our word for it, take Martha Stewart's! On her Facebook page, she called it 'spectacular.' If you're disgusted by the idea, we have to believe you think pretty highly of yourself to believe you have better taste in food than the queen herself.
To make a delicious, spiked hot chocolate, the key is to start with an excellent hot chocolate recipe. That might be obvious because it feels like such a slap in the face when someone hands you a mug of mediocre hot chocolate. But we digress; the best spiked hot chocolate is made with real chocolate and milk instead of cocoa powder and hot water, and you can even add seasonal flavors like cardamom or hazelnut to really give it a winter twist. To take it up a notch, warm it with milk and add some condensed milk for extra silkiness. Don't forget to top with marshmallows or a swirl of whipped cream for the perfect cozy beverage.
Another pro tip when it comes to making this drink is to add some sugar. Just a touch of sugar will help make your drink perfectly sweet. Experts also suggest that wine and chocolate should not be heated together. As we discussed above in mulled wine, when heated, wine does lose some of its qualities when heated. Keep all of the goodness you can by heating the two separately.
Of course, you're going to have to try this delicious cold weather drink for yourself. Give Wholefully's Red Wine Spiked Hot Chocolate a try. Gloriously boozy and rich but somehow, still perfectly balanced, this spiked old-fashioned hot cocoa is packed with delicious chocolate flavors. Even those who claim they aren't big red wine fans will want to use a beer funnel to get more of the delicious flavor in their bellies!
A Champagne Cocktail to Ring in The New Year
If you're always looking for an excuse to pour the champagne and celebrate something, we think you should use the entire holiday season to make your beloved drinks. And good news, there are a ton of different champagne cocktails to keep you happy and satisfied. Naturally, the classic champagne cocktails are drinks made with champagne (duh), sugar, bitters, brandy, and completed with a maraschino cherry. Talk about easy, festive, and all sorts of bubbly! But let's discuss all of the popular champagne cocktails because the more drinks you know, the more you'll be able to pour!
Mimosa: Literally, the most obvious champagne cocktail, right? Technically, a mimosa doesn't necessarily imply orange juice and champagne like you have at brunch. Instead, it is actually a fruit juice of your choice mixed with champagne. Common fruit juices are grape, cranberry, blood orange, raspberry, and lemonade. A great choice for the cold season is apple cider, or you could use a fresh fruit puree if you want to seem a little fancier. And we won't judge if you choose to sub out the champagne for prosecco.
Poinsettia: An elegant cranberry-flavored champagne cocktail that is truly meant for holiday parties. As always, this cocktail has numerous different recipes that share how this splendid holiday drink should be made. But at the end of the day, the poinsettia typically requires three common ingredients: premium orange liqueur, cranberry juice, and a bottle of champagne for some fizz.
Classic: Apparently, the most classic champagne cocktail (yeah, we're with you guys, the most classic champagne cocktail is a mimosa, but this cocktail is super immature and needs validations) consists of one sugar cube, angostura bitters, and sparkling wine. When we dug a little deeper to learn more about this drink, we confirmed our theory that it is, in fact, an old-school drink. Think Casablanca old school.
There is a reason punch is served at large events: it's easy to make, serves many, and most of the time, it's a delicious pick me up. In many ways, wine punch is similar to Sangria because to make a punch, you decide the flavors you love the most and make a drink that speaks to them.
If you're hoping to make a wine punch that fits into the season, start thinking about the different traditional winter fruits. These consist of grapefruits, pears, pomegranates, oranges, bananas, cranberries, pineapple, and persimmons.
Give wine punch a try this holiday season by trying Miss in the Kitchen's Winter Moscato Punch. Perfect for holidays, this punch is easy to make ahead and doesn't call for too many ingredients. Check out the recipe here!