Warming Drinks For Winter Entertaining

When the snow is falling, and the temperatures are dropping, offering dinner guests a crisp, cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc or flute of bubbly no longer has the same appeal that it does in the summer or fall. Yes, a glass of a big, fruity Syrah might warm you up from the inside, but these full-bodied reds are not always the best to drink during cocktail hour (we'll take one with our steak, please!). We'd rather have something warm.

Looking for new ideas, we turned to Chef Scott Campbell and Bartender Mark Comer at New Leaf Restaurant & Bar in New York City. For those taking a winter walk at Fort Tryon Park, or visiting The Cloisters, the New Leaf is just the place to stop for a hot drink, which is what we were looking for when it comes to wintertime entertaining. Lucky for you, they shared what warms up their guests with us.


Pomegranate Mulled Wine

Credit: Maryse Chevriere

The traditional mulled wine gets a makeover with this lighter and brighter hot drink, thanks to the addition of pomegranate liqueur and a clove-studded slice of orange. It's quite easy going down, too, so consider yourself warned.


Coconut Nog

Credit: Maryse Chevriere

Okay, so this one isn't warm, but it's one of Mark's favorites and quite popular on even the coldest days (once guests sitting at the bar see it being made, they too can't resist ordering one). Between the orange-cinnamon infused rum, and the pronounced coconut flavor, after one sip you'll be instantly transported to a hammock on the beach under the hot Caribbean sun.


Hot Apple Jammy

Credit: Maryse Chevriere

This variation of a grown-up hot apple cider is the most popular wintertime drink on the menu at New Leaf. We were struck by how much the drink's aromas remind us an apple pie, hot out of the oven. It is also a good drink to serve when entertaining both guests of age, and those who don't drink alcohol, as you can have two batches of the cider sitting on the stove keeping warm — one with spiced rum, and one without.


Scott Campbell's Hot Chocolate

Credit: Maryse Chevriere

If you like hot chocolate, this is the drink for you. Silky smooth and delightfully rich, it has a thick chocolate flavor that is neither too sweet or too chocolaty, Chef Campbell's signature creation reminds us of a liquid pudding, viscous enough to sip (or eat?) with a spoon. While most guests choose a plain hot chocolate, you can also spike the drink with Bailey's, Frangelico, Kahlua, or Grand Marnier, for a more grown-up treat.


Wondering what to serve these hot drinks in?

Click here to see Mugs for Wintertime Drinks.