Colder weather is the best excuse to stay in and make use of your bar cart. It’s time to transition those flowery cocktails to something warmer and spicier just in time for winter. Here is DECO’s guide to getting your drink cart ready for the season…
Winter Drink Cart Tips
- Flavour your own liquor. Don’t be afraid to infuse your own spirits with winter fruits, spices and herbs. Have a look at BBC’s guide to flavoured spirits and find out what flavors pair best. The best infusions for winter cocktails are warm and flavorful, like cloves, cranberries, and vanilla beans.
- Accessorise accordingly. Curate the look of your drink cart just as carefully as you would a delicious cocktail. Update your storage containers and glasses to deeper gem tones to go with the season. For a dose of color, add a vase of seasonal flowers or a leafy arrangement.
- It’s all in the seasonal details. Any cocktail can easily be made winter-friendly with a few simple adjustments. You might just need to add a creative garnish, a splash of in-season fruit juice, or to serve it heated.
Garnishes To Try
Dressing up a cocktail doesn’t need to be overly complicated. While garnishes like cherry and cucumber are great for summer drinks, try some of these unexpected garnishes to enhance wintertime flavors.
- Chocolate: Nothing warms you up and satiates your sweet tooth quite like chocolate. Instant hot chocolate works great on the rim of a martini glass. Tip – store it in a labeled mason jar along with your other garnishes.
- Winter Citrus: Citrus isn’t exclusive to fruity summertime cocktails. Stock up on the winter variety—like blood oranges, white grapefruits, and meyer lemons—to brighten up any glass or to infuse your own winter sangria with.
- Crystallised Ginger: Add a little spice to your drink by either sticking crystalized ginger on a toothpick or tossing a few in the bottom of a glass. Add a sprig of thyme for a note of freshness.
- Cinnamon Sticks: The perfect low maintenance garnish for any hot drink. Store them in a transparent airtight container for a sweet detail.
- Frozen Cranberries: They are a much-needed pop of color with the flavor to match. If cranberries too tart for your taste, try making sugared cranberries.
Of course your drink cart should reflect your taste, but if you don’t know where to begin or are looking for new spirits to have on hand, here are a tasty few to consider.
- Pear Brandy: You might find this decadent liquor sold as ‘Poire William’ because it is distilled from pears called Williams’ Bon Chétien—and many come with a pear inside the bottle, adding some character to your cart. If you don’t enjoy sipping brandy on its own, mix with champagne and a splash of cranberry juice.
- Whiskey: Irish coffee, old fashioned, manhattan—whiskey is your go-to base for so many winter cocktails. Tip for beginners: If you plan on drinking it neat, invest in a quality bottle. If it’s for cocktails, you can get away with a middle grade whiskey.
- Dark Rum: Rich with notes of caramel, opt for a darker rum this winter season. You can never go wrong with spiced rum cider—a warm blend of cloves, allspice berries, cinnamon, apple cider and dark rum.
- Mini Champagne Bottles: They’re both adorable and functional—sometimes a cocktail just needs a splash of champagne, and these individual servings are just the thing.
- Vodka: Try an unusual winter flavor like fig or maple syrup vodka this season. It can enhance even the simplest vodka cocktails, giving it the seasonal flavouring you’re looking for.
- Copper Mugs: Typically designated for Moscow mules, these heavy-duty mugs make any cocktail feel more festive.
- Muddler: Muddle together the right blend of ingredients and you’ll have a cocktail that is just as pretty as it is delicious. Try an unexpected combination like berries, mint, and brown sugar for an unconventional winter flavour.
- Citrus Juicer: For all that winter citrus.
- Decorative Coasters: Great for serving hot drinks.
Winter Cocktails Reimagined
White Winter Sangria
This winter-inspired take on a summer favorite is equal parts sweet and tart. Try out the refreshing sangria recipe from According To Laura Jean.
1 bottle of Redtree Pinot Grigio
1/2 cup of white grape juice
1/2 bottle of tonic water
3 chopped apples of your choice
1/4 cup of cranberries
1/2 cup of sugar
A few rosemary sprigs
1.Combine the wine, grape juice, chopped apples, cranberries and two rosemary springs.
2. Slowly mix in the sugar and stir until completely dissolved.
3. Allow time for the drink to chill.
4. While chilling, dip the additional cranberries and rosemary sprigs in water and then roll around in sugar.
5. When you are ready to serve the sangria, add in the tonic water.
6. You can use the additional cranberries and rosemary sprigs for garnish.
Chamomile Hot Toddy
A simple twist on an old classic, this chamomile honey syrup seen on Honestly Yum is as good as it gets.
1 1/2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz chamomile honey syrup
4 oz hot water
lemon wedge and chamomile flowers for garnish
Chamomile Honey Syrup:
1/4 cup honey
1/8 cup hot water
1 tablespoon dried chamomile
To make the chamomile honey syrup:
Combine hot water with honey and stir until evenly mixed. Add chamomile, stirring to combine. Let cool, approximately 30 minutes, then pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove chamomile.
To make the cocktail:
Add the bourbon, lemon juice, and chamomile honey syrup to a heat-resistent glass or mug.
Cinnamon White Russian
The perfect way to end a chilly evening. Pinch of Yum’s spicy take on the traditional White Russian.
large ice cubes
4 parts vodka
3 parts coffee liquor
3 parts cinnamon simple syrup
2 parts cream (okay, fine, a little extra won’t hurt)
Cinnamon Simple Syrup:
3 cups water
3 cups granulated sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1. Make the Cinnamon Simple Syrup: Heat the water, sugar, and cinnamon sticks over medium high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Simmer longer for more cinnamon taste.
2. Make the Cinnamon White Russian: Place an ice cube in each glass. Add ingredients in order listed. Swirl before and after adding the cream to get everything mixed together real nice. You can also mix the drink in a shaker with ice cubes to chill it faster.
Try one of these winter cocktail recipes and let us know how it turns out! Have a winter drinks recipe of your own? We’d love to find out more! Share it with us by tweeting us at ELLE_Deco or tagging us on Instagram using the hashtag #DECOWinterDrinks
The Winter Issue is all about de-cluttering, de-teching and slowing everything down. Packed with inspiration and ideas for making your home a sanctuary, we share the ultimate comfort food recipes, master the art of nesting and take you on a tour of the dreamiest hideaways. Pick up your copy today and tell us what you think on Twitter @Elle_Deco using #WinterIssue.