Winter Cocktail Recipe

Classic winter cocktail
Bill Boch/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
172 Calories
0g Fat
9g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 172
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 8mg 40%
Calcium 2mg 0%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 27mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The winter cocktail is a classic recipe from the first part of the 1900s and it has been adapted for modern spirits. It is a wonderfully warming drink—even if it is served cold—and is one of those gems lost to time that is absolutely worth the reintroduction.

Originally, it used a ginger brandy, but these are relatively scarce now. Domaine de Canton or any of the other ginger liqueurs are perfect substitutes. If you cannot find pimento dram, another allspice liqueur will do. If you like, this is also a perfect drink to transform into a hot cocktail.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a cocktail shaker, pour the rum, ginger liqueur or brandy, pimento dram, lime juice, and sugar. Fill with ice.

  3. Shake well.

  4. Strain into a cocktail glass.

  5. Add dashes of bitters on top. Serve and enjoy.

The ginger liqueur and pimento dram are very small pours, but that's the original recipe. If you find that it's not quite enough, try pouring 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) of either or both liqueurs and see how you like the taste.

Make It a Hot Toddy

The aromatics in the winter cocktail make it an ideal candidate to create a variation on the popular hot toddy. It's very simple to do and the heat can really amplify all the spices.

To make this a hot toddy, combine the ingredients in an Irish coffee glass or your favorite mug. Top it off with hot water or freshly brewed tea, stir, and enjoy.

If you'd like to go with tea, consider black and green teas. Earl Grey or an oolong would be excellent choices. It would also be very interesting if you were to use a rooibos. It has a wonderful smoky flavor that plays really well with ginger and other spices.

Choose Your Rum

You have many choices when it comes to the rum you pour into the winter cocktail. Generally, you'll find it best with either a light or aged rum. The light rum will add to the sweetness, while an aged rum will impart a slight oakiness to the drink's flavor profile. 

It would be best to skip spiced rums because it will likely conflict with the drink's spices.

Sugar or Syrup?

You will find that many classic cocktail recipes use sugar rather than simple syrup, which many of us prefer to use today. The syrup is simply sugar in a liquid form, so it dissolves better in drinks. If you prefer, substitute simple syrup for the sugar.

In general, it's recommended to use 1/4 ounce of simple syrup for 1 teaspoon of sugar. Depending on how sweet you made your syrup, you may need to adjust this to taste.

How Strong Is the Winter Cocktail?

As with many short drinks that are made mostly of alcoholic ingredients, the original winter cocktail is not what we'd consider a weak drink. As written, it tends to be around 25 percent alcohol by volume (50 proof) when mixed up.