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14 Unique Holiday Cocktails for the Cold Winter Months

Some of our favorite resorts and destinations generously shared these recipes to help make this season a little more scintillating.

December 15, 2020
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Christmas cocktails
When you can’t be on your favorite beach or pampered in the most relaxing resort spas this winter, you can at least try one of these cocktails to keep your travel desires alive. Shutterstock

As much as it pains me to admit, margaritas and piña coladas aren’t exactly fireside cocktails that’ll help warm your cold extremities and/or cockles, nor do they pair well with toasted marshmallows and grandma’s peppermint bark. Instead, as we watch the snow fall and listen to the soothing holiday ballads of Andy Williams and Michael Bublé, or get in the present-wrapping mood while watching Love Actually or Die Hard for the sixth trillionth time, we need a cocktail that captures the essence of the colder months while also, maybe, making us shout, “Hot damn!”

Fortunately, while we also spend these evenings longing for holiday travel and the spoils of our favorite resorts, some of our favorite hotels and destinations were kind enough to share their favorite winter seasonal cocktails. Sipping these delicious concoctions with loved ones is the next best thing to being on the beach.

Bourbon Pumpkin Smash

Bourbon pumpkin smash
Take a page from this Space Coast resort’s Makua Lanai Adult Relaxation Zone and enjoy one of the most popular fall flavors with your favorite bourbon. Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort

The Place: Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort, Cocoa Beach, FL

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Cocktail Ingredients:

  • 1 oz pumpkin spice syrup
  • 2 oz Buffalo Trace bourbon
  • 0.25 oz lemon juice
  • 4 oz soda water
  • Lemon wedges

Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup Ingredients:

  • 8 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup water (more as needed)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 0.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice

How to Make It:

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To make the simple syrup, add pumpkin puree, water, sugar and pumpkin pie spice to a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Once the syrup is boiling and smooth, remove from heat and cover.

Let sit for 15 minutes.

Strain the pumpkin mixture in an airtight container. Let cool completely before making the cocktail. Syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add pumpkin spice syrup, bourbon and lemon juice for the cocktail. Shake well. Fill rimmed rocks glass with ice. Strain the cocktail into the glass. Top with soda water. Give the cocktail one final stir and serve.

Demon Seal

Demon Seal
Trust the “Library of Cocktails” for a lively rum cocktail that will heat up the most frigid evenings. Bar 1903

The Place: Bar 1903, Tallahassee, FL

Ingredients:

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  • 1.5 oz Bacoo 12-year rum
  • 0.75 oz maple chai spiced syrup
  • 0.5 oz allspice dram
  • 3 drops citric acid
  • 1 cinnamon stick

How to Make It:

Stir rum, maple chai spiced syrup, allspice dram and citric acid together, then pour onto a hand-cut king ice cube. Next, smoke the cinnamon stick and add to the drink—quickly covering the glass to capture inside. When presenting the cocktail, remove the covering and cinnamon stick.

Devil’s Addition

Devil's addition
High West Double Rye isn’t your grandfather’s whiskey, and the distillery located in one of the most beloved mountain destinations also creates some amazing cocktails. High West

The Place: High West Distillery, Park City, UT

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz High West Double Rye!
  • 0.5 oz Tanqueray 10
  • 0.25 oz Cocchi Americano
  • 1 oz matcha simple syrup
  • 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 0.75 oz fresh pineapple juice
  • 2 drops of hops tincture
  • Fever Tree Soda Water

How to Make It:

Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker except the soda water and shake until chilled. Strain into a Collins glass with ice and top off with soda water.

Edge Bourbon S’more

bourbon s'more
What happens in this Vegas resort’s amazing steakhouse will stay on your mind for the rest of your life. Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino

The Place: Edge Steakhouse, Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Bookers High Proof Bourbon
  • 0.75 oz Baileys
  • 0.5 oz butterscotch liqueur
  • 0.25 oz salted caramel
  • Vanilla bourbon popcorn, marshmallow and chocolate syrup for garnish

How to Make It:

In a cocktail shaker, combine bourbon, Bailey’s, butterscotch liqueur and salted caramel. Shake then pour over ice. Garnish with a skewer of vanilla bourbon popcorn and a marshmallow, then drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Ember Old Fashioned

Old fashioned
Direct from this classy hotel’s champagne bar and cocktail lounge, this twist on the iconic cocktail tastes as good as it looks. Hotel Crescent Court

The Place: Beau Nash, Hotel Crescent Court, Dallas, TX

Orange Spiced Syrup Ingredients:

  • 4 oz of grade A pure maple syrup
  • 0.25 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 3 sliced orange wheels
  • 1 dash cloves
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Cocktail Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon
  • 1/3 oz orange spiced syrup, cooled
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 bruleed orange wheel, garnish
  • 1 cinnamon stick, garnish
  • 1 star anise, garnish

How to Make It:

To make the orange spiced syrup, add all ingredients into a pot and cook for 10 minutes until syrup begins to boil. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Once the syrup is ready, then fill shaker glass with ice and blend bourbon, cooled orange spiced syrup and orange bitters, stir thoroughly. Fill old fashioned glass with a single large ice block pour bourbon and spiced syrup blend over and garnish with cinnamon, orange wheel and star anise.

Harvest Martini

martini
Cocktails or dessert? Have both in one martini glass. Pelican Grand Beach Resort

The Place: Pelican Grand Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Sobieski Vanilla Vodka
  • 2 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 2 oz of Monin pumpkin spice syrup
  • Dash cinnamon

How to Make It:

Combine vodka, Irish cream and pumpkin spice syrup in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Top with dash of cinnamon for garnish.

Merry Merry Bloody Mary

Bloody Merry
This legendary bar has served the likes of John F. Kennedy, Frank Sinatra and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and now its holiday twist on the hair of the dog enters your home. Ta-boo

The Place: The Palm Beaches

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1.5 fluid oz jigger of vodka
  • 0.75 cup spicy tomato-vegetable juice cocktail
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 stalk celery

How to Make It:

Salt the rim of a tall glass. To do so, pour salt onto a small place, then moisten the rim of a glass on a damp towel and begin to press into the salt. Fill the glass with cubes of ice.

In a cocktail mixer filled with ice, combine vodka, Worcestershire sauce, vegetable juice, hot pepper sauce, and salt and pepper. Shake vigorously and strain into glass. Garnish with choice of accoutrement, such as purple baby carrots, celery stalks, etc.

The Old Voice

Old voice
Celebrity Chef Dean Fearing’s Rattlesnake Bar certainly packs a mean bite with this Old Fashioned alternative named for Bob Dylan. Ritz-Carlton

The Place: Rattlesnake Bar, The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Heaven’s Door Custom Blended Whiskey
  • 0.75 oz Alessio Vermouth Chinato
  • 0.25 oz maple syrup
  • 3 dashes angostura bitters
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

How to Make It:

Stir all ingredients with ice and then strain with a Hawthorne strainer into an old fashioned glass with one large whiskey cube.

Pumpkin Spice Martini

pumpkin spice martini
When dining at Zocca Cuisine D’Italia, save a little room for this rich, festive cocktail. The Westin Riverwalk

The Place: Zocca Cuisine D’Italia, The Westin Riverwalk, San Antonio, TX

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz Stoli Vanilla
  • 1 oz Chocolate Godiva Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1 oz pumpkin spice syrup

How to Make It:

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a martini glass.

Red Hot Cinnamon

cinnamon tea
If you’re going to trust anyone for a magnificent tea-based cocktail, it should be the only tea sommelier in the Sunshine State. The White Heron Tea & Gifts

The Place: The White Heron Tea & Gifts, New Port Richey, FL

Ingredients:

  • 2 cinnamon black tea bags (Driftwood Tea Company’s Cinnamon Black recommended) *If loose tea is preferred, use 1 tbsp tea for 12 oz of water
  • 9 oz of water, heated to 212 degrees
  • 1 oz Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey

How to Make It:

Heat water to 212 degrees F. Pour hot water into a large mug or other tea steeping vessel, add tea bags, and cover cup (to keep the tea as hot as possible).

If using loose tea, put tea into mesh steeper, steeper basket, French press or other vessel of preference. Steep tea for 5 minutes (be sure to set a timer).

Add Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey into a drinking glass. After 5 minutes, remove tea bags from water and dispose of tea bags. Add tea to glass with Fireball, mix well and enjoy.

Rum-Pum-Pum Punch

rum punch
A little twist here and a little dash there make Belize’s national cocktail a fine holiday treat. Belize Tourism Board

The Place: Belize, courtesy of the Belize Tourism Board

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white rum
  • 1 cup coconut rum
  • 2.5 cups fresh orange juice and pineapple juice
  • 0.5 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp grenadine (or enough to make the punch into a pretty pink color) *Variation: skip the grenadine and opt for freshly grated nutmeg or cinnamon for a touch of seasonal flair

How to Make It:

Stir all the ingredients together in a pitcher or punch bowl, and chill before serving. Use short rocks glasses full of ice and garnish your Rum Punch with slices of orange and pineapple. This recipe yields 8-10 servings.

Tequila Milk Punch

Tequila milk
You may balk at the name, but this resort’s mixologist Britt Flores has taken a Southern cocktail to a new, delicious level. Montage Palmetto Bluff

The Place: Montage Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, SC

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz cinnamon infused blanco tequila (Cazadores is recommended)
  • 0.75 oz coconut milk
  • 0.75 oz heavy cream
  • 0.5 oz vanilla syrup
  • 0.5 oz Liquor 43
  • 0.25 oz St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
  • Top with shaved nutmeg

How to Make It:

Mix all ingredients together in a mixing tin and serve over ice. Top off with shaved Nutmeg.

*For DIY cinnamon infused tequila, place two whole cinnamon sticks in a liter of tequila for one week. Remove cinnamon and serve.

*For DIY vanilla syrup, make a classic 2:1 simple syrup. Place one fresh vanilla bean (cut in half-long ways) in syrup for 1 week. Strain vanilla out of syrup and refrigerate.

Warm Winter Wine

winter wine
If you can’t be at the Florida Keys’ first and only all-inclusive resort, you can at least appreciate this signature island cocktail at home. Bungalows Key Largo

The Place: Bungalows Key Largo

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz red wine
  • 1 oz brandy
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick

How to Make It:

Combine all ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring the ingredients to light boil, then drain in a rocks glass, add one slice of orange and pour the cocktail mixture over the top. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Wonderland

wonderland
When the hotel is unlike almost any other you’ll find in or around Orlando, you can expect the cocktails to be equally transcendent. Bohemian Hotel Celebration

The Place: Bohemian Hotel Celebration, Celebration, FL

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz vanilla vodka
  • 0.5 oz Frangelico
  • 0.5 oz simple syrup
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • 1 oz heavy cream
  • 0.5 oz egg whites
  • 0.5 tsp (pinch) nutmeg

How to Make It:

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill the shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds, until whites are foamed and creamy. Strain into coupe and garnish with light dusting of nutmeg.

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