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  • The Chopping Blog

Sipping through the Winter

Posted by Fonze on Dec 15, 2023

Ah, as the winter winds start their chilly dance, there's something truly magical about snuggling up with a crafted cocktail. The history of winter cocktails is as rich and diverse as the flavors they hold, and exploring their roots is like taking a flavorful journey through time.

Cranberry Rum and Coke

Cranberry Rum and Coke


The Origins of Winter Delights: A Toast to Tradition 

Winter cocktails have their roots in ancient times when folks crafted warming drinks to beat the cold. Picture it as a historic version of "hygge," where communities gathered around hearths, sipping on spiced infusions. From medieval England's hot mulled cider to Scandinavian glogg—a mix of wine, spices, and spirits—these early winter drinks weren't just for warmth; they were about celebrating togetherness. 

Fast forward to the Prohibition era in the United States, where clever mixologists and home brewers found clever ways to hide the taste of poorly made spirits. The result? The birth of iconic cocktails that have become synonymous with the holiday season. 

Mushroom CocktailMushroom Cocktail


Navigating the Winter Wonderland of Classic Cocktails 

When the festive season arrives, the cocktail menu gets a festive makeover. Classics like the Old Fashioned and the Hot Toddy take center stage, each with its unique story to tell. 

The Old Fashioned, a true hero in the cocktail world, traces its roots to the early 19th century. Originally a simple mix of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters, this timeless drink has seen countless variations. The winter twist often involves the addition of warming spices like cinnamon and cloves, creating a comforting harmony of flavors. 

Smoked Old FashionedSmoked Old Fashioned

On the flip side, the Hot Toddy emerges as the ultimate winter warmer. With its roots in Scotland, this comforting brew typically blends whiskey, honey, hot water, and a squeeze of lemon. It's the kind of drink that wraps you in a blanket of warmth, perfect for those frosty evenings by the fireplace. 

And let's not forget the decadent Eggnog, a creamy concoction that has become a holiday staple. With its origins shrouded in mystery, this velvety blend of eggs, milk, sugar, and spirits has evolved into a festive treat enjoyed worldwide. The mere mention of Eggnog conjures images of roaring fires and twinkling lights, making it a quintessential part of the holiday season. 

Just One More Sip, It’s Irresistible

What sets winter cocktails apart from their warm-weather counterparts? It's not just the choice of spirits or mixers; it's a symphony of flavors that dance across the palate while making us feel warm and cozy on the inside. 

Spices play a pivotal role in transforming ordinary cocktails into winter wonders. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and star anise infuse warmth and complexity, creating a sensory experience that goes beyond the mere act of sipping. These aromatic spices not only add depth to the flavor profile but also evoke memories of festive kitchens and holiday feasts. 

Corn Cream Rum CocktailCorn Cream Rum Cocktail

The choice of spirits also contributes to the allure of winter cocktails. Dark, aged spirits like bourbon and brandy take center stage, their rich and robust flavors providing a solid foundation for the intricate dance of ingredients. They lend a certain weight to the drink, elevating it from a mere beverage to a soul-soothing experience. 

Furthermore, the element of warmth, both literal and metaphorical, is a key factor. Whether it's the steaming mug of mulled wine cradled in your hands or the comforting embrace of a well-spiced cocktail, the sensation of warmth is integral to the winter drinking experience. It's as if each sip carries with it the essence of a crackling fireplace or the gentle glow of holiday lights. 

Parmesan Espresso MartiniParmesan Espresso Martini


Savoring the Spirit of the Season 

In the world of winter cocktails, tradition and innovation blend to create a tapestry of flavors that resonate with the festive spirit. From the historic roots of ancient delights to the modern-day twists on classic favorites, each sip is a journey through time and taste. 

So, as you embark on your winter cocktail adventure, remember—it's not just about the ingredients; it's about the stories they tell and the memories they create. Raise your glass to the magic of the season, and savor every moment, one delightful sip at a time. 

Below you’ll find a lovely holiday cocktail that I developed over the years that utilizes a lot of readily available items in most people's homes. Hopefully, it warms you up as much as it has me. 

Holiday Bourbon SmashHoliday Bourbon Smash

Holiday Bourbon Smash

Recipe Yield:               5 fl. oz                        

Portion Size:               1         

Glassware:                  10 fl. oz Rocks Glass             


2 fl. oz(s) Jack Daniel's® Old No. 7

0.5 fl. oz(s) Maple Syrup

0.5 fl. oz(s) Orange Juice (fresh)

0.5 fl. oz(s) Lemon Juice (fresh)

1 wheel(s) Orange (fresh)

  1. Fill a shaker with ice.
  2. Add to shaker, whiskey, maple syrup, orange juice and lemon juice.
  3. Shake contents for 15 seconds.
  4. Pour contents into a 10oz rocks glass.
  5. Top the drink off with Coke® Zero.
  6. Garnish with an orange wheel on top of the drink. Serve. 

If you’d like to learn more about cocktails, check out our Hands-on Holiday Cocktails on Friday, December 22nd at 6pm. But hurry, there are just two spots left! 

Register now


Topics: cocktails, cocktail, winter

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