Boozy Winter Warmers

Leaves falling on the ground
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Now that winter is decidedly here, we went looking for appropriate warming recipes. Here’s what we found on the wonderful world of yummy blogs and the almighty Pinterest.

Here are seven sinful sippers for a wicked winter!

Vandaag’s New Amsterdam Toddy


For the mulled cider

1 gallon apple cider, try Longueville (reviewed and used in Image Interiors & Living’s winter edition)

  • 60 grams dried lavender
  • 10 sticks cinnamon
  • 5 lemons, halved
  • 4 cups honey
  • 60 grams whole cardamom pods
  • 12 one-inch pieces fresh ginger root, peeled
  • peels of 5 oranges
  • 15 grams whole cloves
  • 5 dashes Angostura bitters (or another orange bitter)
  • 4 ounces hot mulled cider
  • 1/2 ounce orange Curaçao
  • 1 ounce Laird’s Bonded Applejack (or Calvados brandy)

For each drink

METHOD In a large pot, simmer cider with lavender, cinnamon, lemons, honey, cardamom pods, ginger, orange peel, cloves, and bitters over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cover with plastic wrap. Let steep 8 minutes, then strain. For each drink, add 4 ounces warmed mulled cider to a mug with orange curacao and applejack. Stir and serve hot.

Wine Poached Fruit Cocktail


  • 1 (750 ml) bottle vin santo (get it in O’Briens)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 orange zest, julienned
  • 1 lemon zest, julienned
  • 10 whole Bosc pears (or a firm variety)
  • 1 1/2 cups large dried figs
  • 1 1/2 cups large dried apricots
  • 3/4 cup large dried pitted prunes

METHOD Place the vin santo, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla bean, and zests in a large, shallow saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Peel the pears, leaving the stems intact, and scoop out the seeds from the bottom with an apple corer or melon baller. Lay half the pears on their sides in the poaching liquid and simmer for 20 minutes, carefully turning the pears once with a spoon. Remove with a slotted spoon. Poach the remaining pears in the same liquid. Snip off the hard stems from the figs with scissors. Add the figs, apricots, prunes, and the first batch of poached pears and simmer 5 to 10 more minutes, until the pears and the dried fruit are all tender. Chill the pears, dried fruit, zests, and poaching liquid. Remove the cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla bean before serving if you like.

Spiced pumpkin cider (one for the Halloween weekend)


  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (from after carving the pumpkin)
  • 2 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1/3 cup spiced rum (Captain Morgan’s should do)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cinnamon stick

METHOD In a large pot, mix together the pumpkin puree, apple cider, pumpkin pie spice and the cinnamon stick. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 20 minutes. If mixture is too thick, add additional cider or water to thin it out. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove clumps and cinnamon stick. Add rum and mix. Serve warm.

Warm blueberry soup (a traditional Scandinavian winter warmer)


  • 4 cups frozen blueberries
  • 3 cups water
  • 5 tsp sugar
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • low fat vanilla yogurt for topping
  • granola for topping

METHOD Combine the first seven ingredients in a saucepan over a medium-high heat, stirring well. Bring soup to a gentle boil. Reduce and simmer until the blueberries are tender, about 5 minutes. Gently mash some of the berries with a potato masher and serve topped with yogurt and granola (I’ve also used Grape Nuts cereal with good results). For a slightly sweeter version, use orange juice in place of all or part of the 3 cups of water.

Fall into Navan punch


  • 1/2 ounce vanilla liqueur
  • 1 ounce light spiced rum
  • 1 ounce apple juice
  • 1/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 tsp of freshly extracted ginger juice
  • 1/4 ounce maple syrup
  • 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Pomegranate seeds and grated nutmeg for garnish

METHOD Heat the apple juice, liquors, and lemon juice over low heat. Add the ginger juice, syrup and bitters then pour into a glass mug. Top with pomegranate seeds and grated nutmeg.

Flaming Spanish coffee


  • 1-2 ounces 151-proof rum
  • 1-2 ounces coffee-friendly spirits or liqueurs, such as Kahlua, Amaretto, Cointreau or Homemade Coffee Liqueur
  • About 3 ounces brewed coffee
  • Enough lemon juice to rim the glass
  • Enough sugar, brown sugar or Spiced Sugar to rim the glass
  • Several pinches ground cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Whipped cream or heavy cream (to taste)
  • A wine glass, Irish coffee mug or other piece of heat-resistant stemmed glassware
  • Two small bowls or plates suitable for rimming the glass
  • A long match or lighter
  • A fire extinguisher (just in case!)


METHOD Get the step-by-step slideshow here.

Burning Bush


  • 1 1/2 ounces Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey
  • 1 ounce honey
  • 3 ounces hot water
  • Garnish with lemon wedge

METHOD Place lemon wedge in toddy or Irish coffee glass. Pour whiskey and honey over lemon. Fill with water. Stir well. Feel the burn.

If you like these cocktails, there’s plenty more in this warm booze for winter Pinterest collection.

Have you got a winter warmer you want to share with us? Don’t let the secret burn inside you. Let us know  Facebook and Twitter!

For more winter delights, try these brownies from designer Helen James.


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