15 hot alcoholic drinks to keep you warm all winter

While there's nothing better than a tall, ice-cold drink on those long, sunny, summer afternoons, winter is a different story. Then, you're in the mood for something hot, something that'll warm you from the inside out. Figuring out how to add a dash of liquor to a hot beverage can be tough, but we've got you covered with these hot drink ideas from all over the world.

But first, a bit of a disclaimer. For a number of these, there are tons of ways you can adjust the recipes, make them stronger or weaker, substitute new flavors or old favorites, and tweak them to your own tastes. We're going to give you some guidance and some ideas, but experiment and find your perfect version. Slainte!

A white nun

Fans of the white Russian definitely need to give this one a try. The original recipe for a white nun was created by Isaac Shumway of the Tosca Cafe, and it's a delicious, creamy, coffee liqueur-based drink. You're going to need a steamer (or some way to heat the milk) because the whole things starts with equal parts whole milk and whipping cream poured into a glass, with coffee syrup to taste. Steam this base part of your drink, then add in your favorite coffee liqueur and some brandy, the perfect liquor to kick-start the shiver that comes when a truly amazing drink starts to warm you from your stomach to your fingers and toes. Add a massive dollop of foamed or whipped cream, and enjoy.

Hot buttered rum

You have your favorite rum, right? Let's talk about how to turn it into your new favorite hot drink with just a few ingredients.

You're going to want to make a couple of these, since you'll have the pot on the stove anyway. A good rule of thumb is that for every 2 cups of water that go into your pot, half a stick of butter should go in, too. Add in a dash of salt, then brown sugar, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon to taste. Once you've brought it to a boil, cut the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes … if you can wait that long. Add the rum when you're pouring this into your mugs, and that's it!

Glogg — Danish mulled wine

Even if you've had mulled wine before, you may not have had glogg. It's a Scandinavian favorite, and that should tell you right there it's going to be amazing. If anyone knows how to push away those winter chills it's the Danish, and they've created the perfect drink for the task.

There's a ton of room for interpretation with this one, but you're going to start with red wine. It doesn't even have to be the expensive stuff. Some recipes call for a bit of white port wine or brandy, too, but one thing they all agree on is that you're going to combine the red wine with some whole spices — cardamom, cloves, ginger, cinnamon — in a pot (or slow cooker), and allow it to simmer for around half an hour without boiling. The other key ingredients are raisins and almonds with the skin removed. (Yes, it sounds weird, but you won't be sorry.) Techniques vary, and while you can either simmer them with the rest of the ingredients or add them afterward, you'll take this off the heat and end up with a classic Danish favorite either way.

Gluhwein — German mulled wine

Gluhwein is another version of a mulled wine, and this version is a German favorite. Start with a dry red wine, and since you're going to be changing the flavor so completely, don't bother getting the high-end stuff. For this one, you're going to start by dissolving ¼ cup of sugar in ¾ cup of water (assuming you'll use a whole bottle of wine) on the stove top. Then, add the red wine with whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and star anise. Next, add the zest and juice of an orange. Balance the flavors however you like.

Don't boil, but you can let it simmer anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. Strain before you serve (with a slice of orange, if you like), and if you're in the mood for something with a little extra kick, add a shot of rum or brandy. (Pro tip: Add the brandy!)

Spanish coffee

Hot drinks don't have to be difficult, and if you're looking for something that takes minimal work, give Spanish coffee a try. The easiest version of this is simply adding equal parts Tia Maria and rum to coffee, then topping with whipped cream and a cherry. You can't get easier than that, can you?

If you'd like to get a little more technical, you can also make this one with regular coffee, a shot of espresso, and raw brown sugar to taste. Add in as little (or as much) brandy as you like, heat, then serve in a glass edged with sugar and flavored with a dash of orange. That's still pretty easy, and it's just right for taking the edge off after shoveling snow … or after thinking about shoveling snow.

Irish coffee

We can't talk hot drinks without talking about an Irish coffee. Done right, it's incredible and well worth the effort. According to The Guardian, it's also relatively unique in the drink world, as we know exactly who invented it. Joe Sheridan, a Limerick chef, prepped it first in 1943 for airline passengers forced to return to Ireland when bad weather made flying a no-go. Please, ignore all the indignities it's been subjected to over the years, and make it like Sheridan intended.

Start by warming your glass with warm water, then dissolve a few heaping tablespoons of sugar in some hot water. Boil until it's a syrup, and stir in whiskey to taste. Transfer your boozy syrup to your warmed glass, fill the rest of the way with coffee, then grab cold cream from the fridge. Use the back of a spoon to pour it on the top of your coffee, add a sprinkle of nutmeg, and enjoy. It really is that easy, and the authentic version is simply delicious.

Hot gin punch

If gin is your drink of choice, you might be a bit skeptical there's a hot drink out there for you. But we have you covered, and we're going to go back to the 19th century for this one. Specially, we're getting some help from Charles Dickens, who gave us partial recipes for hot gin punch in David Copperfield and A Christmas Carol.

Oakden says gin first got popular in the 1700s, even though it was flavored with turpentine. We've come a long way since then, and any modern gin can be used to make a sweet, fruity, hot gin punch. Start by simmering water, the zest and juice of a lemon, and sugar to taste. Once the sugar is dissolved, add your gin and around ⅔ as much sherry. Boil for just a few moments, then cut the heat and add a few slices of lemon. The lemon will continue to flavor the punch as it cools, and while you can definitely adjust the lemon and sugar until you find the perfect balance of sweetness for you, know that the beauty in this one is in simplicity.

Grog

Grog sounds like something pirates would be swigging in between doing a bit of swashbuckling and raiding, and the alcohol featured in this one is, indeed, rum. That makes it perfect for all rum lovers, and as a bonus, this one only takes a few minutes to prep.

The ingredients are simple: hot water, a few ounces of dark rum, a cinnamon stick, and a slice of orange. Just mix, then add brown sugar and lime juice to taste. For a little variation, you can also whip up a simple syrup by boiling equal parts water and sugar then cooling, and using this to sweeten your drink. You could also add some honey, lemon juice, or lemon peel for some extra citrus flavor. Fight that scurvy!

Rakomelo

Rakomelo is a traditional Greek drink and to do this one right, you're going to have to take a trip to a specialty liquor store to look for something you might never have had before. That's raki, a grape-ish brandy (not to be confused with the anise-flavored Turkish drink of the same name). It's worth trying to find it, but if you can't, you can opt for using the love-or-hate beverage that is grappa.

Finding the right base is the hardest part. After that, it's just a matter of warming your raki or grappa, then adding a few teaspoons of honey, some cloves, and a cinnamon stick. That's it! Rakomelo isn't just a hot drink that's perfect for cold nights, it's also a home remedy for those days you feel a sore throat or cough and cold coming on. You might just want to keep some on hand.

Hot toddy

The hot toddy is more of an idea than a drink, and there are lots of different ways to customize this one, so we won't give you a recipe as much as we'll give you some ideas. Let's talk about some of the traditional components: alcohol, the base, the sweet, and the spices.

First, the alcohol. It's usually whiskey, but it can be whiskey, bourbon, or even scotch. What you choose depends on what else you're going to add. You're going to need something sweet to take the edge off, for example, and if you're using honey, that means a honey whiskey is as close to perfect as you're going to get. You could also opt to use a simple syrup, maple syrups, or even some lemon juice.

Next, what are you mixing with that alcohol? You're going to need a hot base, and that can be anything from plain hot water to hot apple cider or a spicy chai tea. Stir in some spices (like cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, or even peppercorn), and you're done. This is a true mix-and-match sort of drink, and the best way to make it is decide what liquor you're going to use, and build your drink from there.

Hot Ward 8

The Ward 8 cocktail dates back to the turn of the 20th century, says Esquire, and the traditionally simple drink is made with rye whiskey, orange juice, lemon juice, and grenadine. If anything, it's even better when all that citrusy, boozy flavor is captured in a hot drink you'd swear is exactly what the doctor ordered to lift away those winter blues.

You're going to have to plan ahead for this one, as you'll be prepping a syrup ahead of time. Take the zest from an orange and a lemon (avoiding the pith), then marinate in a bag or bowl of sugar. You don't even need to add water, as the chemical reaction taking place means your simple mixture is going to turn into a syrup. Let it sit overnight, then strain and you have your citrus syrup ready to go.

Start with a dash of your citrus syrup in a mug, then add whiskey, bitters, orange curacao, and pomegranate juice, all to taste. Top off with boiling water, sweeten with sugar if you like, and you'll have a hot beverage so good you'll wonder what you did before you tried it.

Canelazo

This delicious, traditional hot beverage from Ecuador might require a special trip to the liquor store (and possibly even a special order), but if you're looking for something extra-special for any winter-time occasion, this might be it. You're going to have to find something called aguardiente, which is an alcohol fermented from sugar cane. It's usually unflavored (so, in a pinch, you could use vodka), and it's a traditional spirit of the Ecuadorian highlands. Different areas have different recipes for brewing up a batch of canelazo, but let's talk about a basic — and delicious — one.

Boil a mixture of water, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon, as sweet or as citrusy as you'd like. Traditional recipes call for adding that hot mixture to the aguardiente and passion fruit pulp, but pulp isn't a texture that agrees with everyone. If that's the case, use passion fruit juice to capture the same flavor, and enjoy.

Moroccan Etiquette

Making this one is only slightly more complicated than making a cup of tea, which is to say, it's not complicated at all. Moroccan Etiquette was a popular drink at the now-closed AQ in San Francisco and if you missed it, don't worry. You can make it at home, starting with brewing up a pot of mint tea. While you're waiting on the tea to get to the strength you like it, take your cups and prepare a mix with an ounce of vodka, brown sugar syrup to taste, and a dash of yellow chartreuse. Fill the cups the rest of the way with tea, add a lemon wedge if you like, and enjoy this light, fresh, hot cup of tea that comes with an extra kick.

Hot apple cider and rum punch

You know it's autumn when apple cider starts appearing on the shelves, and that's when you know nights are going to start getting longer and colder. Put that cider to good use and whip up a hot, boozy beverage that's sure to be a favorite.

Put a pot on the stove and heat your apple cider to a simmer. Add in some dark brown sugar, a healthy helping of butter, plus cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and a dash of salt to taste. Keep stirring and keep simmering until everything is dissolved, then transfer to mugs big enough to hold all this goodness. Here's where the alcohol comes in: add a shot of rum to each drink, and you'll have something that'll warm you up right. This is another one that lends itself to some experimentation. Add some orange slices, or even some ginger for a wonderful, wintry flavor.

Wassail

You've probably heard of wassailing; carolers sing about it every holiday season. It's actually a drink, too, traditionally made to warm the hands and hearts of revelers going from neighbor to neighbor as they celebrated the season. It can be a bit complicated, but it's well worth the effort. Trust us!

Start with coring a few apples, then fill them with brown sugar and bake until they're nice and tender. While that's going on, get out your slow cooker and fill it with a bottle of Madeira (or other brandy), and submerge a cheesecloth bag filled with allspice, cinnamon, and cloves. Sprinkle in ginger and nutmeg, all to taste, then let that simmer away while you prep the third part of the drink.

It's not as weird as it's about to sound! Separate six eggs, beat the yolks and the whites separately. Combine the two, mix, and slowly add your hot brandy while continuing to mix. Once everything is completely combined, transfer it back into your slow cooker, add your apples, and stir again. That's wassail!