3 cocktails we can't get enough of for winter happy hour

Dec 14 2020, 10:38 pm

As the days become increasingly absorbed by the night sky, the air cools, and layers of powdery snow begin to cover the ground, it’s that time of year when we turn inwards.

Whether or not you find comfort in the season changing may depend entirely on if you’re a fan of the wintry months or, better yet, on where you live. But if there’s anything we can all agree on, it’s that cocktails are a great way to savour the seasons. With that, it’s time to amend our roster with a lineup that reflects the snug winter months.

Tequila brands like 1800 Tequila and Maestro Dobel are emblematic of those warm, cozy flavours you want in a Hibernation Happy Hour (trademark pending). We recently caught up with James Bailey, Proximo’s National Tequila Brand Ambassador, to get the low down on the best cocktails for the cold climate.

“People often think of tequila as a summer drink because who doesn’t love soaking up the sun with an icy margarita? But tequila’s unique flavour has a versatility that pairs well in many different cocktails, especially ones you can enjoy this winter,” says Bailey.

Infused with warm spices and seasonal staples, these cocktails will keep you feeling warm inside as the temperatures drop outside.

Fireside Margarita

Fireside Margarita/Liquid Culture

Made using Dobel Diamante, the world’s first cristalino tequila, charred orange, and ginger, this cocktail is a wintry take on a classic. As the name suggests, it’s also perfect for fireside sipping.

“To winterize a cocktail, I love to incorporate flavours you traditionally associate with the winter season. Easy and creative ingredients that most people will have on hand are warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and even chilli. Or try a summer favourite like a Margarita and incorporate seasonal produce, like pomegranate and rosemary,” says Bailey.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Dobel Diamante
  • 3/4 oz. orange-ginger cordial (outlined below)
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • Rim cinnamon salt

Method:

Pour 500 ml of orange juice, two oz. ginger juice, and 500 g of turbinado sugar into a pot and bring to a light simmer on the stove until the sugar is dissolved. Take the pot off the heat and let it cool before using it in the cocktail. If you have a blender, you can also opt to blend the ingredients instead.

Add all of the ingredients to a shaker tin and top with ice. Then, shake, strain, and garnish with candied ginger and flamed orange zest. You can also rim the glass with cinnamon salt for an extra warm touch.

Xocolate Picante

Xocolate Picante/1800 Añejo

Chocolate lovers can rejoice; this cocktail will warm you up after a day out in the cold. Formulated from a 100% agave recipe that hasn’t wavered in over 200 years, its other main ingredient — 1800 Añejo — will get you feeling just as warm and fuzzy.

When it comes to the method, don’t be afraid to put your own spin on it. As Bailey says himself, “Being able to imagine new concoctions and bring them to fruition has to be one of the most rewarding parts about creating new cocktails.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz. 1800 Añejo
  • 6 tbsp drinking chocolate (we used Mexican spiced)
  • 1/2 cup hot water 
  • 3/4 cup milk, hot water, or dairy alternative
  • Marshmallows

Method: 

Start by bringing a half cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. From there, add six tablespoons of chocolate dry mix, reduce the heat to a simmer, and whisk until it becomes a smooth liquid chocolate mixture. For hot chocolate, add 3/4 cup of warm milk, hot water, or dairy alternative and 1/4 cup of liquid drinking chocolate.

Build all the ingredients into a mug or a glass, stir, and top with marshmallows and dehydrated orange for garnish.

Dulce Vida

Dulce Vida/1800 Silver

We have just the thing to put those leftover holiday citruses to good use, and it involves 1800 Silver — a blend of white tequilas with a clean, balanced taste.

The thing I love the most about creating the ‘Perfect Cocktail’ is the adventure of it. Sourcing exotic flavours while trying to work with local and seasonal produce is one of my favourite parts of the journey,” says Bailey.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz. 1800 Silver
  • 3/4 oz. guava nectar
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1 1/2. oz grapefruit soda

Method:

Build all of the ingredients into a highball glass and top with ice. Stir the mixture and garnish with a slice of grapefruit or seasonal herbs like sage. 


These concoctions are great for honing your cocktail-making skills, and any tricks you picked up along the way can be used to winterize other favourites.

Cocktail connoisseur Bailey also notes that cocktail creation is a perfect way to connect with friends and family while learning something new. “Gift them a DIY cocktail kit and host a tutorial over your holiday virtual party,” he adds.

Give the gift of warmth and good cheer this holiday season with fine tequila, like 1800 Tequila and Maestro Dobel, available at your local BC Liquor Store or LCBO.

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