The New Breed of Fall Winter Cocktails

by Amanda Schuster

Lately, thanks to our ever-changing climate, on most days and nights there doesn’t seem to be much winter to our winter. On others, Jack Frost’s stark, howling bite has a way of sneaking up on us. We huddle against it, craving beverages that warm our palates, perhaps served in a vessel that will defrost our icy fingers, tenderly wrapped around it as we sip.  While it can be fun to imbibe on so-called  “international” drinks that consist of a single, usually sweet liqueur added to coffee or something Toddy-fied, bartenders around the country have been bringing cold weather beverages into the modern age with more complex layers and finer ingredients. Below are some recipes from around the country, a variety for those who like it hot, or not:

The Inside Job

What happens when Irish Coffee goes on a bender in New Orleans.

Courtesy Allan Katz and Danielle Crouch of Caña Rum Bar in Los Angeles, California.

  • ¾ oz straight rye
  • ¾ oz Peychaud’s or Creole bitters
  • ¾ oz Falernum
  • bar spoon Maraschino liqueur
  • boiling water
  • heavy cream – shaken till frothy

Combine the first four ingredients in a heated mug. Add boiling water just shy of the rim. Top off with cream.

The Avondale Cocktail

Named for the street in Pittsburgh on which it was conceived. A citrusy, shaken concoction that still conveys a sense of warmth, and will probably fend off that pesky winter bug you’re fighting.  

Courtesy Maggie Meskey of Salt of the Earth in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

  • 1 ¾ oz Bourbon (Meskey uses Four Roses)
  • ½ oz Green Chartreuse
  • ½ oz fresh Meyer lemon juice (regular will also do nicely)
  • ¼ oz Cassis
  • Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal (or other boldly flavored mezcal)
  • Lemon twist

Shake first four ingredients with ice until well chilled. Strain into coupe or cocktail glass. Float a few drops of the mezcal over the top. Rub rim of glass with the oil from a lemon twist and discard before serving.

The Kentucky Red Eye

Tim Miner, of the JakeWalk in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn infuses Weller Bourbon with coffee for a special kick. No need to be that fancy, un-infused Bourbon works just fine. What better way to wake up and face the cold?

  • 2oz Bourbon (Miner uses W.L. Weller 7 YR Special Reserve)
  • ½ oz cold brewed coffee
  • ½ oz maple syrup
  • ¼ oz fresh lemon juice
  • Bar spoon Mathilde Framboise Liqueur
  • Hot water
  • Orange twist

Combine first five ingredients in a coffee mug , top with hot water and give it a stir.  Rub rim with the twist and add to the drink before serving.

Spiced Ruby

Takes a little extra effort to make the mulled Port, but it’s worth it. The Port will last for weeks in the fridge and it’s great on its own or added to tea or used for a simple Toddy. Great for crowds.

Adapted from a recipe by Sal Huerta of Matt’s in the Market in Seattle, Washington. 

Add first three ingredients to a mug, preferably a glass one if it’s handy. Top with hot water. Add lemon before serving.

*For Mulled Port:

  • Bottle Ruby Port
  • 2 cinnamon Sticks
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 whole star anise
  • couple inches of orange peel

Combine the Port and spices in a saucepan and heat over low heat for about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain.

Daiquiri Para un Invierno Cálido (Daiquiri For a Warm Winter)

This variation I came up with uses deeper rum than typically associated with classic Daiquiris, along with seasonal winter ingredients.


  • 2 oz golden rum (such as Rhum Clement V.S.O.P.)
  • ¾ oz fresh tangerine, clementine or naval orange juice
  • ¼ oz pomegranate molasses
  • ¼ oz maple or simple syrup (for added sweetness, optional)
  • 3 dashes Bittermens Burlesque Bitters (Peychaud’s will do as a substitute)
  • A twist of whatever fruit you used for the fresh juice.

Shake all ingredients except bitters with ice until well chilled. Strain into coupe or cocktail glass and add the bitters. Finish with the twist.


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