Cold-Weather Cocktails That Will Elevate Your Cocktail Hour

photo by Rebecca Lueck Photography | planner: Bridal Bliss 

We’re always on the lookout for unique and stylish ways to celebrate any occasion. And when it comes to a winter wedding, what could be more fitting than a selection of delicious cold-weather cocktails to warm up your guests?! We spoke with some wedding planners and caterers to hear what they think will be trending this year.

Let’s take a look at these 11 unique ideas for cold-weather cocktails that would be perfect for a winter wedding:

1. Add a seasonal twist to a margarita

pomegranate ginger margarita by Half Baked Harvest

“Margaritas are the perfect year-round cocktail with some minor changes. Add apple cider, cinnamon, thyme, star anise, cranberries or pomegranate to make this traditional summer cocktail into the perfect winter indulgence.” – Mandy Connor, Owner, Hummingbird Events

2. Add a jolt to your beverage

photo by Taryn Elliott

“Post dinner coffee stations and espresso martinis have been big hits at weddings recently. For a winter take, how delighted would your guests be to see a hot cocoa and mulled wine bar appear as they’re looking for a jolt to get them mingling, or even better, on the dance floor? There’s plenty of opportunity for personalized details here too, especially with various topping options (think: whipped cream, marshmallows, and chopped candy bars). Inclusions such as espresso and good ole’ bourbon can’t hurt either.” – Meena Kumar, Associate Brand Manager, Colette’s Catering

3. Offer up a tasting bar! 

“I love customizing the guest experience by adding a small tasting bar to a wedding day. Not all guests want to boogie on the dance floor all night and by hosting a small tasting bar featuring a series of whiskey options, winter beer options – even kombucha options – allows guests to try a small sampling of delicious beverages in an interactive way. Guests can then select a larger pour of their favorite to enjoy as they head back to the dance floor or catch up with friends and family.” – Mandy Connor, Owner, Hummingbird Events

4. Add a Hotty Toddy to the menu.

photography by Shannon Grant Photography | planning & design: Hummingbird Events

“A Hotty Toddy is a classic winter cocktail that is delicious and warming. This drink is made with hot water, whiskey, lemon juice, and spices such as cinnamon and cloves. The warm flavors blend together to make one delicious drink.” – Anna Rodenbeck, Whitehead + Co.

5. Add sweet, seasonal garnishes to your drinks.

photo by Anastasia Belousova

“Instantly elevate the festivities with garnished and seasonal cocktails that bring in all the best of the season including a sweet Christmas dessert martini (think white chocolate peppermint martini garnished with a candy cane rim), a local brewery Christmas beer served in a frosted glass garnished with a cinnamon-sugar rim, or even simple glass of champagne garnished with sugared cranberries. A specialty side bar featuring frozen hot chocolate paired with tequila for a Mexican hot chocolate but served cold.” – Valarie Falvey, Kirkbrides Wedding Planning & Design

6. You can’t go wrong with hot apple cider – and can always spike it!

“Consider having mugs of hot apple cider with fresh cinnamon sticks passed out to guests upon arrival at your ceremony. It’s the perfect cozy tone for a winter wedding while helping guests warm up from the chilly outdoors.” – Mandy Connor, Owner, Hummingbird Events

7. Offer seasonal champagne cocktails.

Photo by cottonbro studio

“No winter wedding can be complete without a celebratory sipper. However, cold-weather cocktails can be heavy and difficult to down. Enter the elevated and elegant Sambuca 75! With a bit of bubbly and a splash of citrus, this champagne cocktail is based on the popular French 75 but adds an Italian twist. Just replace the Gin with the Italian anise liqueur, Sambuca.

Sambuca 75 Recipe: In a cocktail shaker with ice combine the following ingredients 1 ounce of Sambuca ½ ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice A dash of agave simple syrup (optional – to taste) 3 ounces of champagne A lemon peel twist to garnish.” – Andaleeb, Azure Invitations & Design

8. Include seasonal citrus flavors or coffee

photo by Rachel Pourchier | planner: Bri Williams Events

“A cocktail hour isn’t a proper cocktail hour without the perfect drink! If you’re planning a winter wedding, you can warm up your guests with a mix of hot boozy drinks and fizzy festive drinks made with seasonal citrus to add a little brightness as the temperatures drop. Our favorites include sparkling spritzers, Irish coffee bar, Champagne (always a must in our opinion), and spiked hot chocolate.” – HoneyFitz Events

9. Serve up dirty chai martinis! 

dirty chai martini

“Hosting a winter wedding can have its perks – not only with saving in your budget, but embracing the unique season! The cold weather cocktail I would recommend is a Dirty Chai Martini. It gives enough flavor to be fitting for the holidays, but not too much of a “Christmas in a cup” flavor palette. You can never go wrong with a martini!” – Casey Stamouli, Owner & Lead Planner, Casey & Co. Events

10. Try spiked mini milkshakes.

“Who says you have to serve warm drinks for a cold-weather event? Spiked mini milkshakes, in a winter flavor like peppermint, eggnog, etc. will get just as much love as a warm cocktail. Make sure these items are passed, or they will quickly melt and become a mess.” – Nora Sheils, Founder Bridal Bliss + Co-Founder Rock Paper Coin

11. Any dessert cocktails are a win

“A spiked hot chocolate with a zebra cake garnish! Is it a cocktail or is it dessert? Yes. More is always more!” – Bri Williams, Bri Williams Events

We hope these ideas help you plan the perfect winter wedding cocktail menu!