Winter Menu Design: 10 “Cool” Warming Winter Drinks

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Stay warm with these 10 recipes for delicious winter drinks. They were tested by the team at Aaron Allen & Associates especially for you. (And potentially your winter menu design, too.)

Delicious Drinks for Your Winter Menu Design

1. Coconut Tres Leches

When it’s cold outside, the child inside (and we all have a child inside) needs to amp up the hot chocolate to a Latin level.


  • 3 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk (2/3-cup)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Sweetened whipped cream (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate shavings (optional)


In medium saucepan combine fat-free milk, coconut milk, and sweetened condensed milk. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Whisk in cocoa powder until well-combined.

Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Serve in mugs topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Makes 5 (1-cup) servings.

Winter Menu Design - Coconut Tres Leches

2. Hot Vanilla

A standard in every mother’s repertoire, this is the soothing classic that puts us to bed on time.


  • 1/2 cup of whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon of chocolate syrup
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract


Start with the topping. In a medium bowl, whip 1/2 cup of whipping cream until it’s frothy. Add 1 tablespoon of chocolate syrup and a dash of cinnamon, then continue to whip the mixture until everything is well blended and peaks form. Makes enough to top about 6 drinks.

For each hot vanilla, microwave 1 cup of milk and 2 teaspoons of sugar in a mug for 90 seconds. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Top with a dollop of chocolate cream, a drizzle of chocolate syrup, and a dash of cinnamon.

Winter Menu Design - Hot Vanilla

3. Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

No more need to count the days; the pie of choice for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas is now the right drink all winter.


  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin (chilled)
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk (chilled)
  • 8 ounces vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Whipped cream to taste (optional)


Combine pumpkin, milk, yogurt, sugar and spice in a blender.  Cover and blend until mixture is smooth.

Pour into glasses. If desired top with whipped cream and an additional sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Serves 4.

Winter Menu Design - Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

4. Spiced Holiday Tea

And when the adult in you is in charge, Spiced Holiday Tea has the snuggle under flannel aesthetic without any sugary goo.


  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tbsp whole cloves
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 quart boiling water
  • 1 quart strong tea
  • 6 to 9 tbsp of fresh lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3 quarts boiling water


Bring 1 quart water to a boil, add cinnamon sticks, cloves, and sugar.  Boil for 5 minutes, then strain out spices.   Add tea and remaining ingredients. Serve hot.

Winter Menu Design - Spiced Holiday Tea

5. Mulled Wine

In the Middle Ages (the 1980’s were not the first to say ‘mull it’; they were just the first to say it about hair), mulled wine was considered a health drink.  So…to your health!


  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 4 oranges, peeled, for garnish


Combine the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan; bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve.

Winter Menu Design - Mulled Wine

6. Anise Coffee and Ice Cream

This licorice tinged coffee drink with a complementing dab of vanilla ice cream can be a sophisticate’s desert or an insomniac’s indulgence.


  • 1/3 cup ground dark roast coffee
  • 2 teaspoons anise seeds, crushed
  • 2 1/4 cups cold water
  • 1 quart of vanilla ice cream


Measure coffee and anise seeds into a filter-lined coffeemaker basket. Pour water into water compartment. Place pot on heating element. Let water drip through basket into pot.

Meanwhile, carefully cut ice cream from package and cut into 8 long pieces. Place ice cream into cups. Pour about 1/4 cup of coffee around ice cream. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

Winter Menu Design - Anise Coffee and Ice Cream

7. Very Merry Punch

Not all winter drinks are for sleep and cuddling.  This one will wake up the dullest Christmas party.


  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 (750-ml) bottles hearty red wine, preferably Cabenet Sauvignon
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 orange, halved and sliced
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or canned
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 1/2 cup Curaçao


Place water and brown sugar in a Dutch oven. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often until the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes.

Add wine, apple, orange, pineapple and star anise. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in Curaçao and cook for 5 minutes more. Discard star anise. Serve the punch in heat-safe wineglasses or coffee cups; spooning a little fruit into each glass. Let cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Reheat on the stovetop over low heat or in the microwave on 50% power until warm. Makes 12 servings.

Winter Menu Design - Very Merry Punch

8. Red Hot Chocolate

…because growing up doesn’t end the need for chocolate.  It just adds the need for Campari.


  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 2 ounce brandy
  • 3 ounce whole milk
  • 1/2 ounce heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of dark chocolate chips


Put milk, cream, and chocolate in a milk frothing cup used for espresso. Froth milk as you would for cappuccino. When milk is hot, remove frothing wand and whisk or stir vigorously until chocolate is completely melted. Add Campari and brandy. Pour into heat-resistant cup. Garnish with a large hand-cut marshmallow or a red peppermint stick.

Winter Menu Design - Red Hot Chocolate

9. Elderflower White Cosmo

When the mugs are put away and you want to be like Sex in the City ladies but you’d rather look like Audrey Hepburn…


  • Ice as needed
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 2 tbsp St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 2 tbsp white cranberry juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Edible flowers for garnish


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, elderflower liqueur, white cranberry juice, and lemon juice. Cover, shake well, and strain into a chilled martini glass. Float a flower on top and serve immediately. Serves 1.

Winter Menu Design - Elderflower White Cosmo

10. Eggnog

The centuries old favorite: doesn’t everyone know about the Eggnog Riot at the U.S. Military Academy in 1826?  Eggnog was already a centuries old tradition then.


  • 1 or 2 whole nutmegs
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 12 egg yolks
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups brandy, cognac, rum or bourbon


Using a nutmeg grater or the smallest rasps on a handheld grater-shredder, grate the nutmeg until you have about 1 teaspoon. In a spice grinder or a coffee grinder reserved for spices; grind cinnamon stick. Set aside. In a large saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, 2 cups of the milk and 1 cup of the sugar. Place over low heat and simmer, stirring often, until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the remaining 2 cups milk, and let cool.

In a bowl, using a handheld mixer or whisk, whip the cream with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the vanilla until soft peaks form. Set aside.

Strain the cooled mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and pour into a serving pitcher or a small punch bowl. Stir in the brandy. Serve the eggnog in cups or glasses, topped with a dollop of the whipped cream, and a sprinkle each of nutmeg and cinnamon. Serves 8 to 10.

Winter Menu Design - Eggnog

Key Takeaway

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