There are few experiences more satisfying than gripping a steaming hot beverage container in your frozen fingers when the weather outside is frightful. Perhaps only sipping said beverage is better.
Whether you offer canned cocktails or you operate a restaurant or bar, you’ll want to make sure you have options on hand to tempt the drinking crowd as the holidays grow near.
Winter cocktails should be festive and designed to deliver a needed dose of warmth, either through actual heat or via ingredients that warm the body and soul. Here are just a few trends to consider when you're planning your cocktail lineup this winter.
The Ubiquitous Espresso Martini
This winter beverage is popping up everywhere right now, and restaurants will want to get in on the trend. Truth be told, it’s nothing new, but it seems a new generation has discovered the caffeinated appeal of this tantalizing martini.
Made with espresso, coffee liqueur, and vodka (with a few espresso beans for garnish), this simple drink is one even barbacks can master in seconds. It can also be easily modified, say, by adding Bailey’s Irish Cream or Crème de Cacao to the mix. For a holiday treat, you might even consider mixing in a peppermint liqueur.
Keep in mind that this could make for an easy canned cocktail as well. If you have your own recipe, consider installing a crowler station in your restaurant or bar so patrons can take home a few cans of their favorite.
Whiskey has enjoyed an incredible revival over the last few years, and those who love the sweet, smoky, or peaty notes of bourbon, whiskey, and rye will be happy to hear they can get in on the coffee trend without sipping an espresso martini. Venetian coffee offers a delicious alternative for whiskey lovers.
Typically, this drink includes just four ingredients: hot coffee, amaretto, Sambuca, and whipped cream. By adding spicy rye and a pinch of cardamom, you’ll increase the complexity of the flavor profile in profound ways, upping the ante on richness and warmth.
While the Cosmo has long since seen its 15 minutes of fame, cranberries are a classic winter flavor that cannot be discounted when it comes to cocktails.
For a fun, fizzy way to bring cranberries into the modern era, try pairing gin with cranberry syrup, dry champagne, and a splash of lemon, then garnishing with cranberries. This pink punch is festive, fruity, floral, and perfect for holiday soirees, whether you’re catering private parties or serving it in a restaurant or bar setting.
Pumpkin Spice White Russian
With pumpkin spice infiltrating candles, lip balms, and even deodorant, it’s tempting to say this fall trend has finally jumped the shark, but consumers are still eating it up. Luckily, this blend of sweet spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice, is practically tailor-made for adding to beverages.
The best way to go is to add some pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice to a typical White Russian, bringing a ton of warmth and character to the sweet and creamy drink. The end result is a beverage that tastes like coffee and dessert rolled into one.
By its sweet and spicy nature, rum lends itself well not only to hot drinks but holiday beverages. Who doesn’t love a hot buttered rum on a cold, blustery day? You can even add sugar and spice to a hot toddy by swapping in spiced rum for bourbon.
However, you might not naturally think to pair rum with hot chocolate. Adding peppermint liqueur, Crème de Cacao, Kahlua, or amaretto to a steaming mug of cocoa is a no-brainer, but you might be surprised by the kick of a spiced or coconut rum. You could also go for a rum coffee with heavy cream for a slightly different flavor profile.
With a few twists on old classics, as well as some new concoctions up your sleeve, you stand to make a splash with holiday revelers and deliver cocktails that warm patrons from head to toe.