Ask A Seattle Expert: Your Best Hot Winter Drink

Ask A Seattle Expert: Your Best Hot Winter Drink

During the winter season, it is not uncommon for a bar to serve more hot and holiday-themed drinks to its patrons. Most are seeking a warm, pick-me-up kind of drink that incorporates coffee, cocoa or a hot tea or cider, along with other festive flavors. Check out a few of the favorite hot winter cocktail recipes provided by a Seattle-area bartender and a top local distillery.

Shane White, Bartender
The Woodmark Hotel
1200 Carillon Point
Kirkland, WA 98033
(800) 822-3700

The Woodmark Hotel in Kirkland sits along the beautiful shoreline of Lake Washington and has its own yacht club, full-service spa and two signature restaurants – the Beach Cafe and Bin on the Lake. Each restaurant is distinctly different from the other, but both have a weekday happy hour and serve refreshingly classic and exotic cocktails. Bartender Shane White has shared a few of The Woodmark’s hot winter drinks that are the favorites for this time of year.

 Your Best Hot Winter Drink

Spiked Cider from The Woodmark Hotel (Credit, Sue Gabel)

Spiked Cider

One of the favorite hot winter drinks at The Woodmark Hotel is the Spiked Cider. It’s made with Captain Morgan’s White Rum, which is a premier blend of sweet vanilla, sugar, light molasses, light citrus, cola and black pepper spice. You can even taste a hint of coconut, banana and light char in the midpalate of the rum. This drink is so simple to make, with the white rum as the drink’s base. Then, it is topped off with the hotel’s own signature hot apple cider.

  • Add 1.5 oz Captain Morgan White Rum to your glass or mug.
  • Top the glass or mug off with hot apple cider.
  • Stir thoroughly to blend.

Peppermint Hot Toddy

The Woodmark Hotel’s Peppermint Hot Toddy is made with a local Washington-based liquor called 12 Vodka. With a name like that, it sounds as though it was made especially for the Seattle Seahawks fans, who take their role as 12th man very seriously. Twelve Vodka is hand bottled, distilled five times and is charcoal filtered slowly. This 100-percent grain vodka has subtle hints of butter almond, citrus, bananas and nutty toffee. Germany’s Rumplemintz peppermint schnapps is used to give the drink its authentic peppermint flavor.

  • Add 1.5 oz. Rumplemintz peppermint schnapps
  • Add 1 oz 12 Vodka.
  • Top the drink with with hot water and blend thoroughly.
  • Lastly, add a peppermint candy cane for good measure!

 Your Best Hot Winter Drink

Grown-Up Hot Cocoa from The Woodmark Hotel (Credit, Sue Gabel)

Grown-Up Hot Cocoa

How can you can go wrong with a hot winter drink made with everyone’s favorite – delicious hot cocoa. The Woodmark Hotel serves what it calls Grown-Up Hot Cocoa made with a Bailey’s Irish Cream base, a mug full of fresh, delicious hot cocoa and then it is topped off generously with light, fluffy whipped cream.

  • Pour 1 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream.
  • Top with hot cocoa and blend well.
  • Add whipped cream for a festive garnish!

Related: Best All-You-Can-Drink Specials In Seattle

Erik Chapman, Operations Manager/Head Distiller
Sun Liquor Lounge
607 Summit Ave. E.
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 860-1130

The Sun Liquor Lounge has been around since 2006 and began as just a cocktail lounge that made its own fresh juices, syrups, bitters and spirits. Five years later, the company opened its own distillery and quickly became one of the top distilleries and lounges in the Seattle area. Erik Chapman is not only the operations manager for Sun Liquor, but also the head distiller. In conjunction with the company founder, Michael Klebeck, they have created award-winning spirits and become one of the only distilleries in the United States that is also a fully functioning bar and restaurant with a full food and bar menu.

Cafe Amaro

According to Sun Liquor’s operations manager Erik Chapman, the Cafe Amaro is a hot winter cocktail that he and his staff love to prepare and also drink. It is a simple concoction made with hot black coffee in a pre-heated glass mug. Additional ingredients for this hot winter drink include Fernet Branca, an Italian bitter fernet spirit, hand-whipped heavy cream and a simple syrup made with half sugar and hot water.

  • 1.5 oz. Fernet Branca
  • .25 oz. simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
  • 6 oz. fresh black coffee (Erik Chapman prefers Stumptown Coffee Roasters)
  • 1 oz. heavy cream (hand-whip and add 4 dashes Angostura Bitters)
  • Garnish with an orange twist


  1. Pre-heat a glass toddy mug with hot water.
  2. Empty hot water and add the Frenet Branca, simple syrup and coffee.
  3. Stir and top with the Angostura blend of whipped cream.
  4. Garnish with an orange twist.

Related: Best Fall Drinks In Seattle

Sue Gabel has been writing entertainment and travel-related articles in the greater Puget Sound/Seattle area since 1999. She writes about music, the Seattle scene and more. Her work can be found on