4 Wonderful Winter Cocktail Recipes That Will Help You Brave the Cold

Written by Samantha Suarez | Photography by David Specht

Little known fact: winter is the best season to enjoy a drink. After all, you’re stuck inside most of the time, it’s freezing cold, and there are fewer daylight hours. Who wouldn’t need a little bit more cheer in their life?

But what are the best drinks for the winter setting? Sure, you can sip on some wine, but there’s something special about a cocktail designed specifically for colder months. At the same time, one too many rounds of eggnog and hot toddies will surely set off palate fatigue.

To help step up our winter drinking game, we teamed up with Brent Temple, Beverage Director for Gray Skies Distillery, and he showed us how it’s done. “People are more apt to drink heavier liquors when it’s cold, so winter cocktails are usually more booze-forward. You get a lot more whiskeys, spiced rum, and brandies, whereas in the summer you get fruiter and brighter profiles like gin, vodka, and lighter rum,” he told us. “Winter cocktails are also typically richer in flavor, which you can achieve by incorporating eggs or cream into the drink or by using
seasonal ingredients.”

So if want to enjoy a few glasses of originality when the temperature drops, keep reading and get four Gray Skies Distillery cocktail recipes with a winter-friendly twist.

MOONLIT MORNING

Best enjoyed while cozying up by a fire.

“Think of this as a richer whiskey sour with a whole egg instead of just egg whites,” said Temple. “We call it the

Moonlit Morning because of the egg and the fact that we use a breakfast rye. Plus, there’s maple syrup, nutmeg and walnut bitters in it.”

Ingredients:

2 ounces Rye (a rye whiskey finished in
Bliss maple syrup casks)
1/3 ounces of extra Bliss maple syrup
1/2 ounces of lemon juice
A dash of saline solution
1 whole egg
aromatic bitters
walnut bitters
nutmeg

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together in a shaking tin and give it a dry shake (no ice).

Optional: To add more of a frothing effect, Brent recommends using a cut-up spring from a classic Hawthorne spring strainer and then placing it into the shaking tin before shaking the mixture. The spring acts as a whipping agent. Add light ice into the shaking tin and shake again for 8 – 12 seconds. You want to dilute the cocktail but not too much. Pour into a glass and wait 10 – 15 seconds. “When it’s an egg-based cocktail, if you wait a little bit, the proteins will start to solidify, so when you put your bitters, it will actually sit on top of the drink instead of mixing into it,” said Temple. Add a few drops of the bitters and grate nutmeg on top.

THE MERCHANT

Best enjoyed while roasting chestnuts or toasting marshmallows

If you play a lot of video games, especially RPGs, you’ll know that the merchant is a very exciting character to run into on your adventures. This drink is no different. With aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, smoke, coffee, and honey, this cocktail smells like you just entered a merchant’s den while he was brewing a potion

Ingredients:

11/2 ounces Spiced Rum
3/4 ounces Coffee Liqueur
1 bar spoon of
cinnamon-clove
infused honey syrup
2 dashes of aromatic bitters
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves

Directions:

On a fire-safe surface, light the cloves and cinnamon stick until it starts smoking.

Invert your old-fashioned glass and place on top of the smoking ingredients, covering them. Add the rum, coffee liqueur, honey syrup, and bitters into a mixing tin.

Add ice and stir for 10 seconds. Flip over your glass and add 1 large ice cube into the smoke-filled glass.

Pour contents of mixing tin into the glass. Garnish with lemon peel.

THE ROPE BURN

Best enjoyed while cashing your Christmas bonus. #TreatYoSelf

While a name like “rope burn” might remind you of failing at gym class in middle school, Temple actually named the cocktail after the spiciness and smokiness of its flavors. “The whiskey, the spice, and the smoke remind me of cowboys and sh*t like that,” said Temple. “You’ll smell the habanero and the smoke as soon as you drink it — hence the rope burn!”

Ingredients:

1 and 1/4 ounces  Bourbon
1 and 1/4 ounces Rye
1/4 ounces smoked peach liqueur
2 bar spoons of maple syrup aromatic bitters
lapsang (smoked black tea) infused with a single malt placed in a
perfume aerator
habanero bitters in a perfume aerator
lemon peel

Directions:

Spray the smoked green tea infusion in the glass evenly to distribute the scent. Spray the habanero bitters into the glass. Place all liquid ingredients in a mixing tin and spin for 10 seconds with ice. Garnish with a lemon peel.

THE WAGONEER

Best enjoyed while playing board games with family or friends.

“This cocktail was inspired by the idea of an apple brandy negroni. It’s spun instead of shaken because it’s all booze. You don’t want to overdilute it or bruise it, but just gently chill it,” Temple explained.

Ingredients:

2 ounce  Apple Brandy
1/4 ounce red citrus amaro
1/4 ounce walnut amaro
half ounce of vermouth
half bar spoon of maple syrup
orange peel

Directions:

Combine all liquids in a mixing tin. Stir for about ten seconds with ice. Garnish with an orange peel.

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