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The Best Hot Drinks for Cold Nights

Hot Alcoholic Drinks for Cold Winter Nights

Whether you like to curl up with a Tom and Jerry or feel festive with a glass of mulled wine, hot alcoholic drinks on a cold night are a sweet way to celebrate the season. They can even offer you relief when you’re suffering with the sniffles. Whatever your reason for enjoying a hot toddy, we hope you’ll enjoy sampling some new recipes in addition to your classic favorites.

Mulled Wine and Hot Toddy: The History of Hot Alcoholic Drinks
Photo by Hannah Pemberton / Unsplash

One can go back as far as Roman times to find references to hot alcoholic beverages. There’s even a recipe for mulled wine in a 14th century cookbook. At that time, hot drinks were made in batches, combining red wine with spices, citrus and sugar and enjoyed communally.

The English soon embraced mulled wine and developed a wide variety of drinks with names that poked fun at the Catholic Church. The higher the ranking in the Church, the finer the wine used. As such, bartenders employed fine Burgundy wine to create a Smoking Pope while a Smoking Bishop was made with a common port. These drinks were called ecclesiastics with one of the beverages even making an appearance in Charles Dickens’s holiday classic, A Christmas Carol.  Said Scrooge to his hapless employee, “We will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of Smoking Bishop, Bob.”

Smoking Bishop

6 oranges
1/2 cup Demerara sugar
1 bottle red wine
1 bottle ruby port
30 cloves
5 dried green cardamom pods
Orange peel for garnish


  1. Wash and dry the oranges and insert cloves into them in equal numbers. Roast in an oven that’s been preheated to 325 degrees for an hour, then place in a large glass bowl.
  2. Combine sugar and red wine in the bowl with the oranges and cover. Leave it in a warm spot for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
  3. After your mixture has rested, cut the oranges in half and juice them through a strainer into the wine and sugar. Throw orange rinds after juicing. Strain the mixture again into a heavy saucepan.
  4. Add the port, the cinnamon stick, and the cardamom pods to the wine mixture on low heat. Warm the mixture until it “smokes” or vapors rise out of the pan. Do not boil.
  5. Once heated, remove the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods and serve in warmed glasses with the orange peel garnish.

Around this same time in the U.S., Americans were enjoying hot toddies. The earliest recipe found for the drink dates back to 1801 and consisted of mixing any kind of spirit with boiling water and sugar. Europeans made a hot toddy with rum and the drink was called “grog.”

Marvelous Mulled Wine

With its spices and fruits, mulled wine can be both tart and sweet, juicy and spicy. Because of all the added sugar, it is much sweeter than regular red wine.

Mulled Wine

750 ml bottle of red wine (we recommend Tempranillo)
1 large cinnamon stick
2 star anise
4 cloves
2 lemon peel strips
4 tablespoons caster sugar


  1. Combine wine, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, lemon zest and sugar in a pan and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes.
  3. Reheat without boiling before serving
Heavenly Hot Chocolate Recipes
Photo by Giancarlo Duarte / Unsplash

Spicing up this childhood staple is always a treat, especially after coming in from the cold. Spirits and liqueurs pair perfectly with this creamy chocolatey beverage. Best of all, you can whip up these drinks in a flash.

After Dinner Mint

Hot cocoa
1/2-ounce creme de menthe
3/4-ounce peach liqueur
1/2-ounce vodka


  1. Add creme de menthe, peach liqueur and vodka to an already prepared cup of hot chocolate.
  2. Stir and enjoy.
Kahlua Hot Chocolate

2 cups milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 oz Kahlua


  1. Combine milk, sugar and cocoa powder in a pan and heat on medium, stirring until all ingredients are dissolved and the cocoa is hot.
  2. Add Kahlua, stir and serve.
Coffee Creations
Photo by EADWYNE / Unsplash

There’s just something soothing about a fresh brewed cup of hot coffee complimented by a warming spirit. These recipes are perfect for cozy nights by the fireplace.

Fiesta Coffee

1 cup freshly brewed coffee
1 ounce tequila
1 ounce Kahlua
Whipped cream


  1. Stir tequila and Kahlua into a freshly brewed cup of hot coffee.
  2. Top with whipped cream and serve.
Irish Coffee

2 ounces heavy cream
3/4-ounce simple syrup
4 ounces hot coffee
1-ounce Irish whiskey


  1. Stir cream, simple syrup, and Irish whiskey into a cup of hot coffee.
  2. Stir and serve.
Yummy Rum Recipe
Photo by Edward Howell / Unsplash

Good rum can make you feel warm on the inside. This recipe is a zesty take on a classic hot buttered rum.

Cinnamon Spice Rum

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
2 small cinnamon sticks
6-1/2 ounces spiced rum


  1. Heat butter, sugar and cinnamon sticks in a pan until butter melts and sugar dissolves.
  2. Stir in rum and serve.

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