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 what we often turn to when the mercury drops, while easy-going vodka is relegated to the warmer months. It makes sense, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Given that vodka is a mostly neutral spirit, it’s able to seamlessly integrate into wintry cocktails. So by simply enlisting seasonal ingredients, you can turn vodka into a year-round drink that's just 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 why not add some anyway? Garnished with nutmeg and a slice of pear, this cocktail is perfect for any cold weather celebration.

  • Coco Chanel Martini

    Coco Chanel Martini

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog 

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

  • Black Russian

    black russian cocktail

     Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    If you want something a little more familiar, 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, simple combo is robust enough for the coldest Moscow nights, so it can probably do the trick wherever you live.

  • 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 they were called out by the original 1950s band.

    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 and easy to drink, and it's 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 perfect 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.

  • 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 long. 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.

  • Pear & Elderflower Collins

    Pear & Elderflower Collins

    Naren Young

    The classic Tom Collins is a treat that can be enjoyed all year-round, but here it receives a wintry 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 round things out, while club soda lengthens the cocktail with some refreshing effervescence before a dusting of fresh cinnamon adds a final wintry touch.