Bartenders Share Their Favourite Boozy Winter Drinks

Including some delicious non-alcoholic ones, too.

17/06/2016 5:57 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:54 PM AEST
Don't laugh at us, this is what winter feels like to Australians.

One of the best things about the cooler season (aside from staying in bed all weekend and not feeling guilty about it) is enjoying winter drinks.

It doesn't matter whether it's hot chocolate, sweet chai or a whisky cocktail, us cold-sensitive Australians just need something hot pronto.

Luckily there's a lot of room for experimentation with winter drinks. If you need a sweet pick-me-up, hot chocolate is a great go-to, of if you need something stronger (after one of those days) a whisky cocktail or mulled wine might be for you.

These seven winter drinks cover all your winter warming needs -- from cinnamon hot chocolate and sticky chai, to hot buttered rye and a winter-inspired Manhattan. Cheers.


1. Cinnamon hot chocolate

Name one person who hates hot chocolate. Seriously, how can you not like it? It's rich, creamy, sweet and fills your insides with glee. This hot chocolate recipe is easy to make and is spiced with warming cinnamon. So good.

Serves one.


  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1 heaped tablespoon cacao powder
  • 2-3 teaspoons raw sugar or coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Small pinch of salt


Gently heat milk on a medium-low heat and whisk in remaining ingredients. When warm, pour hot chocolate in a mug and add a sprinkle of extra cacao powder.

Chocolate squares on the side is non-optional.

2. Sticky chai latte

By mixologist Kurtis Bosley for The Collaroy Hotel.

If you love the taste of spiced, fragrant chai, this sticky chai latte is your kind of winter warmer. Made by soaking chai mixture in honey, it creates a rich, sweet flavour and is a lovely way to start or end a winter day.

Makes one small jar of sticky chai mix.


  • 200g dry English Breakfast tea leaves
  • 100g chai spice powder
  • 200g honey (locally sourced is always best)
  • Milk of choice, to serve


1. Mix the above three ingredients into a Mason jar and leave to infuse overnight. This will form a Sticky Chai "gooey goodness" which will be ready by morning.

2. Take one tablespoon of the Sticky Chai and place inside the teapot strainer (add less or more, depending on how sweet you like your chai). Add frothed warm milk (cow's, soy or almond -- whatever you please) and brew for a few minutes. Strain the chai into a cup and enjoy.

If you're feeling brave, try blending the chai latte with ice for a fresh twist.

3. Bullionaire cocktail

By Kurtis Bosley for The Four In Hand Hotel.

If hot chocolate or chai doesn't quite cut it, this silky gin cocktail is strong and warming yet refreshing. If whisky is more your jam, try the next three winter whisky cocktails.


  • 45ml Bulldog gin
  • 10ml port
  • 30ml vanilla & blueberry Syrup
  • 30ml fresh lime juice
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 20ml egg white


Add all ingredients into a Boston shaker and dry shake. Add ice, shake hard, then double strain into a coupe glass and garnish.

Bosley's additional notes: It's important to dry shake the ingredients to ensure the egg whites emulsify which produces that really lovely, creamy, white head to the glass.

The Four In Hand Hotel
This cocktail is fresh and sweet, with the gin giving a welcome punch of warmth.

4. Hot buttered rye

By J&M Whisky Bar manager Alexander Orwin.

"If you talk about hot whisky drinks, nine times out of ten you will end up with a hot toddy. The Hot Buttered Rye is a simple alternative that originally would have been made with rum, but rye whisky is a great substitute -- particularly something well rounded like Sazerac Rye or even Hudson Manhattan Rye," Orwin told The Huffington Post Australia.

"Because it's so simple it's a fun drink to play around with by adding different whiskies, spices or even changing the sweetener to honey, maple syrup or agave."


  • 60ml rye whiskey
  • 120ml boiling water
  • 5ml 2:1 simple syrup
  • Small knob of lightly salted butter
  • Grated nutmeg and star anise


Boil water, combine with whiskey and sugar in a warm mug and stir to mix. Finish with a knob of butter (approximately ½ teaspoon) and grated spices.

Getty Images/iStockphoto
This warm whisky cocktail is perfect for keeping you toasty on a cold night.

5. Devil's share

By J&M Whisky Bar manager Alexander Orwin.

"This one was invented by an old colleague of mine, Pete Kendall, in Milk and Honey London back in 2006," Owrin said. "The key here is a really good quality, full bodied bourbon and fiery fresh ginger syrup."


  • 60ml Woodford Reserve
  • 25ml lemon juice
  • 10ml orange juice
  • 10ml ginger syrup*
  • 10ml maple syrup
  • 4 dash angostura bitters

*Press fresh root ginger through a juicer and combine the ginger juice with an equal volume of caster sugar.


Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake hard. Fine strain into a rocks glass over cubed ice. Finish with a thick orange slice.

Immune boosting orange juice and ginger make this cocktail practically healthy, right?

6. J&M Manhattan

By J&M Whisky Bar manager Alexander Orwin.

"Our house Manhattan at J&M, in which we use a blend of rye, bourbon and Islay whiskies, will warm most up on a cold evening. Think of it as a Manhattan that's been supercharged!" Owrin told HuffPost Australia.


  • 20ml Bulleit 95 Rye
  • 15ml Wild Turkey Rare Breed
  • 10ml Ardbeg Corryvreckan
  • 5ml Campari
  • 20ml Italian vermouth
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters


Stir ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express some orange zest over the drink and discard. Finish with a good quality maraschino cherry.

Don't forget the cherry on top.

7. Mulled Wine

By Appliances Online

While mulled wine is very much a Christmas drink, unfortunately we endure 40 degree heat at that time, so that just ain't gonna work. This delicious, warming drink is perfect for our winters, though -- especially when enjoyed with a bunch of friends. Here's a video showing an easy way to make it.


  • 1 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 500ml of apple cider
  • 4 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 4 green cardamon pods
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 vanilla pod including seeds


  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Orange segments
  • Star anise


1. Place all the mulled wine ingredients in a multi-cooker. Set cooker to 'pressure cook' mode, then 'custom' mode and set pressure to 20 kPa.

2. Pressure cook for 30 minutes. Stir mulled wine and serve with garnish.

Notes: Alternatively, place the ingredients in a pot and gently simmer over a low heat for the same amount of time.

Make a pot and invite your friends over for some warm, spiced wine.

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