Spirits & Liqueurs Vodka

7 Vodka Cocktails That Are Perfect for Winter

Don’t put away that vodka bottle just because it’s cold outside.

Pear and Elderflower Collins
Pear & Elderflower Collins Image:

Naren Young 

When it comes to winter drinking, brown spirits usually prevail. Brandies, dark rums and whiskeys—with notes of caramel, spice and wood—are often the defaults when the mercury drops, while easygoing vodka is relegated to the warmer months. It makes sense, sure, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Given that vodka is a mostly neutral spirit, it’s able to integrate seamlessly into wintry cocktails. So by enlisting seasonal ingredients, you can turn vodka into a year-round drink that’s as at home on a sunny patio as it is next to a roaring fire. Read on for seven cold-weather vodka cocktails that will treat you right as the temperatures drop.

  • Jubilee

    Jubilee cocktail

    Jeremy Oertel

    With red wine, spiced pear liqueur and maple syrup, you already have a boozy winter drink in your cup without the vodka. But the cocktail needs it! Garnished with nutmeg and a fanned pear slice, this cocktail is perfect for any cold-weather celebration.

    Get the recipe.

  • Coco Chanel Martini

    Coco Chanel Martini

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog 

    We know what you’re thinking: coconut in a Martini? While it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of winter, the two-ingredient Coco Chanel Martini is a snowflake that will warm you like a wool sweater. Coconut vodka is paired with St.-Germain elderflower liqueur for a simple cocktail that’s perfect for Florida snowbirds. Or anyone needing a blast of the tropics, really.

    Get the recipe.

  • Black Russian

    Black Russian cocktail

     Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    If you want a familiar sort of drink, the Black Russian is for you. A relative to the White Russian, this alternative skips the cream and relies solely on vodka and Kahlúa. The darker, streamlined combination is robust enough for the coldest Moscow nights, so it can probably light a fire wherever you live.

    Get the recipe.

  • Pho-King Champ

    Pho-King Champ cocktail

     Midnight Rambler

    According to Chad Solomon, the co-creator of Midnight Rambler in Dallas, the Pho-King is “A twist on the classic Bull Shot, reimagined through the lens of Vietnamese pho.” The house-made broth has incredible depth of flavor and merges with vodka, sherry and fresh lime. But if you don’t want to make the broth yourself, you can always use a few spoonfuls from your favorite pho joint.

    As for the name? It’s a nod to the defunct San Francisco avant rock band The Fucking Champs, who were forced to change their name from The Champs when the original 1950s band cried foul.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • Apple Cranberry Moscow Mule

    Apple Cranberry Moscow Mule
    Tim Nusog

    It’s no surprise that the Moscow Mule is one of the most popular cocktails of the 21st century. It’s easy to make, easier to drink and is often served in the iconic ice-cold copper mug. This fun riff on the classic recipe adds Cran-Apple juice to the usual trio of vodka, ginger beer and lime, creating a tart and flavorful variation that’s great for fall and winter gatherings. Add plenty of fresh fruits as a garnish, and you’ll have a Moscow Mule for sipping alongside your holiday dinner and late-night slice of pie.

    Get the recipe.

  • Espresso Martini

    Espresso Martini

    Molly DeCoudreaux

    The next time you need a post-dinner pick-me-up, request an Espresso Martini. The cocktail combines vodka with espresso, coffee liqueur (usually Kahlúa) and a little sugar for a jolt that will keep you going all night. Garnish your drink with a few coffee beans if you want to be extra-authentic.

    The cocktail comes from British bartender Dick Bradsell, who invented this modern-day classic at Fred’s Club in London in the late 1980s. Legend has it that Kate Moss came into the bar and asked for a drink that would “wake me up and then fuck me up,” and voila: The Espresso Martini was born.

    Get the recipe.

  • Pear & Elderflower Collins

    Pear and Elderflower Collins

    Naren Young

    The classic Tom Collins is a treat that can be enjoyed all year, but here it receives a brisk update in the Pear and Elderflower Collins. With a double whammy of pear liqueur and pear puree, this vodka (or gin) cocktail is great for those who prefer their cold-weather drinks light and fruity. Lemon juice, elderflower liqueur and honey provide balance, while club soda lengthens the cocktail with some refreshing effervescence before a dusting of fresh cinnamon adds a final wintry touch.

    Get the recipe.