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With the first day of winter on the horizon and the holidays beating at the door, it’s time to break out the mugs and sink deep into some comforting warm drinks. Whether you need some time to relax from the holiday hubbub on your own, or you’re hosting guests and want to show off a bit, these warm bourbon drinks help take the cold weather edge off in more ways than one. This list is full of classics, as well as fun spins on the hot drinks you know and love.

Hot Toddies

Hot Toddy

A classic hot toddy is typically a welcome addition to any cold-weather day, especially since it has medicinal properties (or at least that’s what we like to tell ourselves). With just four ingredients, it’s one of those drinks that’s pretty difficult to mess up, but just in case, we’ve included this recipe from Epicurious.  

Werther’s Hot Toddies

For those of us who think the classic toddy could use a touch more sweetness (guilty), this hot toddy using Werther’s hard candy gives you a drink that even grandma will love. It’s a little messy, but a very delicious take on the hot, lemony drink. If you feel like having a drink that’s even more crafty, try making your own bourbon caramel for the rim (find a good recipe in the Bourbon Caramel Steamer below).

Apple Ciders

Hot Maple Bourbon Apple Cider

Though maple and apple cider are distinctively fall flavors, there’s no reason not to carry them right into winter, especially when bourbon is involved. Once you’ve found Grade B maple syrup (this recipe author is a bit fanatic about the distinction between A and B Grade), you just need bourbon and a nice apple cider to combine for this lovely warm drink. This also makes a great drink for a party by making a big batch and leaving on low in a slow cooker. The author says that whipped cream and nutmeg are optional, but are they, really?

Hot Buttered Bourbon

Few ingredients define what it is to be southern more than butter and bourbon, so a Hot Buttered Bourbon cocktail seemed like a no-brainer for this list. Sure, it may seem a little weird to actually drink butter, but it melts beautifully into the apple cider and gives some depth to this spiced treat.

Hot Rosemary + Buttered Fig Bourbon Cider

If you’re in it for the long haul, this recipe looks like an utterly divine way to serve up a warm bourbon drink, but it’s not for those who lack patience. You’ll be spending two weeks infusing your own bourbon, then creating your own spiced butter to create a luxurious treat. This also makes for a great gift — place the infused bourbon in a nicely decorated mason jar, whip up a log of well wrapped butter, and include the recipe on a nice card with a beautiful mug.

Hot Chocolates

Bourbon Spiked Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate is the definitive winter drink, sweet and lucious. It brings a smile to any face, no matter the age, but the great thing about being an adult is that we can add a little something extra to ours. The other nice thing about being an adult is we can forego the powdered mix to make something way more delicious and special.

We tested this recipe that uses both cocoa powder and melted semi-sweet chocolate, creating a rich, chocolatey treat. The recipe is easy, even though it has a few more ingredients than you might expect (most of them are probably in your pantry). The amount of bourbon in the drink is hearty, but it’s a perfect amount — not too overwhelming, but it still comes through. The only change I would suggest is to eliminate the brown sugar, as it ends up being a bit overly sweet.  

The chocolate and bourbon in this drink offer an amazing warm hug, but it turned out a touch too sweet.

Black Cherry Bourbon Hot Chocolate

Flavored bourbons may not be at the top of a lot of bourbon connoisseurs’ lists of things to drink this winter, but the holidays are a time to be a little more playful and fun. This Black Cherry Bourbon Hot Chocolate evokes the flavors of a black forest cake and is made super easily by using a high quality hot chocolate mix. It’s ok, you don’t have to tell your friends how much you love it — it can be our little secret.

Cinnamon Bourbon White Hot Chocolate

This recipe goes way way way outside of the typical hot chocolate box, creating something a bit more festive. It’s so unusual that serving this up at a party or gathering could make for a nice conversation starter, and who knows, it may become someone’s favorite new holiday drink. The cinnamon is the star here, but if you can’t find cinnamon hearts like the recipe calls for, look for similar candies (this could be a good excuse to play with Atomic Fireballs again) or just eliminate the candies altogether and lean on a little more cinnamon whisky to get that heat in there.

Other Yumminess

Bourbon Caramel Steamer

If you love caramel, you’ll love this concoction because it gives you the chance to make your own — with bourbon. This caramel goes great in other cocktails on this list, as well as makes a nice gift, so while you’re at it, go ahead and make a large batch.

We tested this recipe, and to be honest, I was a little nervous about making the caramel at first, but it was super easy (though I found that I needed to add a bit more water than it called for). Oh and caster sugar? That’s just sugar that’s ground finer than granulated, but not as fine as powdered sugar; I made my own in my coffee grinder (it took me a few tries to get the right consistency – it happens very quickly). This recipe required a bit of modifying because it’s basically just dressed up warm milk. There’s only a small amount of bourbon in the caramel, so I naturally added a bit more to the milk before warming. To balance that, I added a bit more caramel to my cup, and it turned out wonderfully. Creamy, nutmeggy, and oh so bourbony. Take out the bourbon and add in coffee and it makes for a beautiful holiday morning treat.

Be sure to make your caramel before you start drinking the bourbon and you’ll have a wonderful treat.

Warm Spiced Vanilla Cocktail

This warm bourbon drink is full of sugar, spice, and a whole lotta nice. It combines creaminess and spiciness, along with bourbon and Irish cream, to create a really luscious treat. It will take a bit of effort and planning to make sure you can find star anise, fresh nutmeg, and vanilla bean pods, but once you do, it’s totally worth it. If these cocktails really were blankets, this one would be a lovely cashmere throw.

Bourbon Butter Beer

We have a feeling Harry Potter probably wouldn’t mind a little bourbon in his butterbeer, and “The Noms” (as they call themselves) over at Gastronom Blog really got into creating this delicious, warm treat. They even go so far as to create their own brown sugar syrup and add dry ice to the cocktail. It’s the perfect drink to cuddle up under the covers with a few J.K. Rowling books and escape from the cold.

Homemade Hot Spiced Bourbon Eggnog

Holidays are definitely not the holidays without eggnog, and though some may say it’s rum and others may say it’s brandy, bourbon is and always will be eggnog’s perfect partner. The recipe writers at Just a Little Bit of Bacon leaned all the way in with this hot eggnog recipe (which I will definitely be making with my family over the holidays this year) and made the eggnog from scratch. This is an actual recipe that involves more than just throwing a carton of eggnog together with bourbon and heating it up. It involves whisking and simmering and all that good stuff, but it’s surprisingly easy, and according to the author, it can really sneak up on you. So, be careful both in and out of the kitchen.

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