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Global cuisine

4 drinks to warm up with in winter

Dec 06, 2017 by Jamie Burke

Just in time for the holidays, we’ve got a special winter edition of our Toast to Travel series. Here, find four winter cocktails to make your season a little bit merrier.

mulled wine and cinnamon with toast to travel logo


Mulled wine has been a staple of wintertime festivities since the Romans ruled most of Europe, sharing wine-making traditions as they traveled. The Brits add brandy, and the Norse serve their glögg with gingerbreads—but it’s the German version, _glühwein, _that’s the standard bearer of winter warmers. It’s served at Christmas markets across the country to revelers out celebrating the season.

hot toddy in a clear glass with lemon

Hot Toddy

The hot toddy has a hotly disputed origin story. Some believe it first popped up in India, where “taddy” was the Hindi word to describe a drink made from “hot water, sugar, and spices.” Another tale puts the toddy’s invention in Ireland, where a doctor by the name of Todd prescribed patients a concoction of hot brandy, cinnamon, and sugar water.

Either way, the hot toddy’s popularity as a cold remedy during the 19th century cemented its spot as a winter tipple—even if can’t get rid of your sniffles. Mix up a hot toddy at home using brandy, whiskey, or rum, or get creative and try it with clear liquors like gin or tequila!

irish coffee on bar

Irish Coffee

Coffee mixed with whiskey and cream was first served on a whim to passengers aboard a seaplane in Shannon, Ireland, and the cocktail known as an “Irish coffee” just took off from there. A journalist from the San Francisco Chronicle tried an Irish coffee in Shannon, then brought the recipe stateside. He helped put it on the menu at San Francisco’s Buena Vista Cafe—even bringing over the chef who made the first Irish coffee at the Shannon airport. Today, bartenders at the Buena Vista sling up to 2,000 Irish coffees a day.

The trick to making the perfect Irish coffee? Getting the cream to float on top!

egg nog with cinnamon stick


The idea of drinking egg yolks and milk can be… unappetizing. But that hasn’t kept eggnog from being a popular beverage for over 700 years, when medieval Britons called it posset, and a winter favorite since the 1700s. American colonists, who had chickens, cows, and cheap rum aplenty, made eggnog their signature holiday sip—George Washington even wrote his own recipe. Today, you can find pre-made (and largely egg-free) eggnog in the grocery store, but it’s easy to make your own at home. As for any concerns with using raw eggs, don’t worry—chilling the mixture, as well as the high alcohol content, makes it safe to drink.

Have you sipped glüwhein or raised a toast with a hot toddy? Tell us about your favorite winter drinks on Facebook!

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About the author | Jamie Burke
Always on the lookout for the next best meal ever, Jamie loves exploring the world—and all the great food in it. When she's not working to inspire new travelers, you'll find her biking around Boston, eating at her favorite sushi place, or hanging out at home with her family (and cat).

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