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Hot Cocktails for Cold Nights

Updated on August 18, 2015
Hot Buttered Rum
Hot Buttered Rum | Source

Hot Drinks

Hot cocktails, those steaming mugs of spirits, spice and just the right amount of sweetness are ideal for warming the short days and long nights of winter. Many of these delicious concoctions were born centuries ago in Europe and traveled with various European navies as they conquered the globe.

Others are said to have originated in Ancient Rome, and nearly all have been helped to popularity through traditional Christmas movies such as It's a Wonderful Life and White Chistmas.

Whether you prefer an old school Hot Toddy, an invigorating Irish Coffee, or a refreshing Hot Peppermint Patty, we can all be grateful for cold days and nights with one of these warm cocktails in hand.

Hot Buttered Rum Ingredients

  • Sturdy mug with handle
  • Store bought butter batter (such as Trader Vic's) or homemade versions (*see below)
  • Dark or barrel-aged rum
  • Half&half or heavy cream
  • Hot water

For Homemade Butter Batter:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (omit the salt if it is salted)
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tspn. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tspn. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tspn. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tspn. salt

The Classic Hot Buttered Rum

A hot buttered rum is a classic warm cocktail that uses butter, sugar and cream to turn rum and water into a delicious drink for a cold day. Or any day for that matter.

Like many rum drinks, this one has its origins in the British Royal Navy, sometime after Jamaica was colonized in the late 1600's. The popularity of the hot buttered rum was then spurred on by multiple phenomena; Trader Vic including it in The Book of Food and Drink, Kenneth Roberts mentioning it in his novel The Northwest Passage, and any number of American movies that popularized the drink during the holidays, particularly White Christmas.

Regardless of how it came to be, this hot drink is the perfect comfort food for a cold day or night. Here's how it's made.

Making Hot Buttered Rum Batter
Making Hot Buttered Rum Batter | Source
Hot Buttered Rum batter
Hot Buttered Rum batter | Source

Making a Hot Buttered Rum

  1. Make the batter ahead of time if doing so from scratch. To do this, have the butter at room temperature, then cream it together with the cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Refrigerate if not serving right away.
  2. Place 2 tablespoons of batter into the mug.
  3. Pour 2 ounces of rum in.
  4. Pour hot water into the mug to within about a half inch of the rim.
  5. Stir the ingredients until you have a smooth mixture. Taste test and adjust as desired.
  6. Top with cream if desired and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

B-52 shots, hold the coffee.
B-52 shots, hold the coffee. | Source

B-52 Coffee, B-52 Hot Chocolate

The B-52 coffee warms the belly and packs a punch. It is a potent combination of Irish Cream, Kahlua and Grand Marnier (or Cointreau.) The drink is supposedly named after the band The B-52's, and may have been invented by Peter Fich, head bartender of the Banff Springs Hotel.

As with most cocktails, the true history is ambiguous. When this layered shot was poured into hot coffee and topped with whipped cream is anyone's guess, but we're glad they did.

B-52 Ingredients

  • Irish coffee mug or similar
  • Hot coffee
  • Whipped cream
  • Irish cream liqueur
  • Kahlua coffee liqueur
  • Grand Marnier or Cointreau (the former is preferred in this author's opinion.)

Make a B-52 Coffee

Unlike making a B-52 shot, the hot coffee drink doesn't require a specific pour order (*For the shot, this would be Irish Cream, followed by Kahlua and topped with Grand Marnier, the last two poured over the back of a bar spoon.) Simply add the ingredients and stir.

For a B-52 Hot Chocolate, simply substitute hot chocolate for coffee. The results are decadent.


To an Irish coffee glass (or mug of choice) add:

  • *1/2-1 oz. Bailey's or other Irish Cream (e.g. Carolan's)
  • *1/2-1 oz. Kahlua
  • 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier or Cointreau
  • Fill glass with hot coffee to within a half inch of rim
  • Top with fresh whipped cream if desired and serve while hot.

*Adjust measurements to taste.

A Recipe for Grog

According to, hot dark rum and water, a staple for sailors in the British Navy of the 18th century, was named grog after the grogram fabric cloak worn by Admiral Edward Vernon.

Ironically, rum was thought to be medicinal and ward off scurvy on the high seas. Perhaps it did when they began mixing in brown sugar and lime. In any case, this belly warmer is sure to make you forget your aches and pains.

Grog! | Source

Ingredients for Grog

  • Handled mug
  • Hot water
  • Orange slice
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Lime
  • Brown sugar, molasses or honey
  • Aged dark rum
  • White rum if desired


Into a stout handled mug, pour:

  • 2 ounces dark rum (Preferably Pusser's.)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 heaping tspn. of brown sugar
  • ~4 ounces of hot water
  • Garnish with a slice of orange and a cinnamon stick
  • Mix the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved and serve while hot.

*Alternatively, you can substitute honey or molasses for the brown sugar, and swap 1 oz. of the dark rum for an ounce of white rum.

The Hot Toddy

The Hot Toddy has as many variations as there are spirits, which is a good thing. This warm, potent mix of spirits, water, sugar, sometimes citrus and possibly nutmeg, was (and perhaps still is) intended to cure the common cold and anything else that ails you. More likely, it did a great job of knocking out the imbiber, allowing sleep to do the rest...

Traditional Hot Toddy.
Traditional Hot Toddy. | Source

Hot Toddy Ingredients

  • Good quality brandy, whiskey or rum
  • Honey
  • 1 Lemon
  • Hot water
  • Whole cloves
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Nutmeg

*Optional: Favorite tea bag.

Hot Toddy Recipe

The origins of the Hot Toddy are up for debate, but the comforting aroma of spirits, cinnamon, cloves and citrus is indisputable. Follow this recipe or create your own deviation the next time you feel the need for a homeopathic remedy:


Into a handled mug or glass pour:

  • 1 Heaping tblspn. honey
  • 1 1/2 ounces preferred spirits (brandy or whiskey are the traditional favorites, but rum also works.)
  • Squeeze in the juice of one large lemon slice (1/4 of a lemon)
  • Add 3-4 whole cloves
  • Pour in hot water or tea
  • Add cinnamon stick
  • Let the brew steep for 5-10 minutes. Stir well and enjoy.

Sweetened Mexican Coffee
Sweetened Mexican Coffee | Source

Mexican Coffee Ingredients

  • Quality tequila. There are many, Patron, Cazadores, Cabo Wabo, etc.
  • Kahlua coffee liqueur
  • Fresh, hot coffee
  • Cool whip or freshly whipped cream
  • Piloncillo (Available in Mexican food stores)
  • Cinnamon or cinnamon sticks

The Mexican Coffee The Irish Coffee

Tried and true hot spiked coffee drinks that never go out of style or lose their appeal.

The Mexican coffee is a punchy mix of tequila, Kahlua, coffee and thick whipped cream. The Irish coffee takes advantage of the unique flavors of Irish whiskey and fresh whipped cream. Recipes below:

Mexican Coffee Instructions

Into your favorite mug (8 oz. size preferable) pour:

  • 1-1 1/2 oz. quality tequila
  • 1 oz. Kahlua coffee liqueur
  • Hot coffee to within a half inch of the rim
  • Top with whipped cream
  • Garnish with crushed piloncillo, cinnamon or cinnamon stick if desired.

Irish Coffee Ingredients

  • Stemmed Irish coffee mug or similar
  • Good Irish whiskey. Jameson's and Bushmills are excellent for this drink
  • Brown sugar
  • Heavy cream for whipping (or Cool Whip at or near room temperature)

Irish Coffee

What hot cocktail list would be complete without listing the Irish Coffee? Not this one. This famous drink is said to have been created Joseph Sheridan in 1942 at Foynes Airbase. It has since been a staple.

The proper way to make an Irish coffee:

  • 2 oz. good Irish whiskey
  • 2 tspns. brown sugar
  • Strong, hot black coffee
  • Lightly whipped cream
  1. Preheat a stemmed whiskey mug or Irish coffee mug with boiling water
  2. Preheat a teaspoon in a bowl of hot water
  3. When the glass is hot, pour out the water and add the brown sugar
  4. Add the Irish whiskey, then the hot coffee to within an inch of the rim of the glass
  5. Using the warm teaspoon, pour the whipped cream over the back of the spoon as you raise the spoon. This creates a floating layer of cream. Let it sit on top

Serve and enjoy!

Hot Apple Toddy

Hot Apple Toddy with Calvados.
Hot Apple Toddy with Calvados. | Source

Hot Apple Toddy Ingredients

  • Calvados apple brandy
  • V.S.O.P. or better quality brandy
  • Spiced apple cider
  • Apple butter
  • Honey
  • 1 Whole lemon
  • Cinnamon sticks

Hot Apple Toddy

A variation on the traditional Hot Toddy, the Hot Apple Toddy uses an elegant, slightly sweet blend of Calvados, Spiced Apple Cider and of course, barrel-aged spirits; brandy in this case.


Into a mug or glass, mix:

  • 1 tblspn. Honey or brown sugar
  • 1 tblspn. Apple Butter
  • 1 oz. Calvados
  • 1 oz. Quality brandy
  • Juice of small lemon wedge
  • Hot apple cider to fill glass.
  • Mix the ingredients well, then let steep for a few minutes.
  • Garnish with a lemon twist and a cinnamon stick and serve while hot.

Enjoy these cocktails anytime you feel a chill in the air or just want something to warm your belly and ease your mind. Cheers!


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