There is a chill in the air. The nights are getting longer. Ready or not, winter is here. But whether you fancy frolicking in the snow or snuggling under blankets, hot cocktails are the perfect fortification for the season.

Fear not, with this list of home tools, there’s no need to brave the outdoors every time you crave a sizzling, boozy treat. If you’re making a Hot Toddy for yourself or making big, hot cocktails for a party, we’ve got you covered.

Eight home bar essentials for winter cocktails

1. Irish coffee cups Libbey

Libbey has been making the perfect glassware to show off your hot cocktails since 1818. This particular model has a thick glass and the balanced placement of the handle is essential for even weight distribution, a common complaint with many Irish coffee mugs.

Each mug in the four-piece set will hold over eight ounces of your favorite hot beverage.

$ 28.99

2. Michelangelo casserole

A non-stick pan that heats evenly is essential for the home bartender. This casserole allows you to roast spices and then heat up your concoction quickly but evenly. Several sizes are also available.

As an added bonus, the ergonomic handle, easy cleaning, and oven-safe functions mean this saucepan is a great addition to your kitchen beyond making hot cocktails.

$ 29.98

3. Cuisinart PerfecTemp Electric Kettle

Whether you are heating tea or a cocktail, this cordless kettle reduces steps and counter space. Six temperature preset knobs allow you to perfectly match your drinks to how hot you or your guests want them to be.

A ‘keep warm’ function gives you 30 minutes of heat, allowing you to fill cups continuously without reheating.

“For bar service, they’ve saved my life more than once,” says Scott Deigert, bartender and director of the Conductor Club at Kansas City Union Station, of electric kettles. Deigert also says they’re great for heating things up quickly. “Plus, the instant surge of steam and smell usually sends everyone in the room wondering what that good smell is.”

The bonus feature of an automatic shut-off for dry boil protection makes it a safe and foolproof option for your kitchen.

$ 99.95

4. The Barsentials colander set

Every mixologist at home needs a set of strainers.

Reviewers praise the ruggedness and versatility of this affordable option. Inside you’ll find three rust-resistant stainless steel strainers that do it all. The fine mesh option will take care of essential herbs and spices for hot cocktails.

The kit includes a long-handled spiral spoon to add the finishing touch to any container.

$ 19.97

5. Always good ceramic cups

In a world filled with stunning coffee mugs, reviewers rave about the quality and style of this durable set with five color options. Capable of holding 14 ounces, this mug reduces the need for a quick refill. Its wooden lid sits easily on the handle when not in use, retains heat, and helps you move easily from table to fireplace without spilling.

The mug is made of lead and cadmium free ceramic which is dishwasher and microwave safe. But the fan favorite is the easy-to-grip wooden handle that keeps hands from getting burned.

$ 24.99

6. PYKAL thermal carafe

This powerful carafe gives you elegant service and claims to keep drinks hot for up to 24 hours. And with the carafe’s vacuum-insulated walls and an insulated anti-spill lid, there’s no need to worry about spills.

The two-liter container is available in stylish silver and satin gold stainless steel options.

$ 32.99

7. 7 Quart Crock-Pot Slow Cooker

For large gatherings, nothing beats the classic creations of Crock-Pot. A quick spice roast, then slow soaking and infusions are possible with multiple warming settings.

“It can also be great for taking a pre-made / steeped cocktail and adding a fresh punch with things like citrus, which will sprout as the night goes on,” says Deigert.

Dishwasher-safe stone insert reduces cleaning time. From Hot Toddies to mulled wine, this slow cooker is a versatile and low-labor favorite. Not to mention that you can use your Crock-Pot to cook meals all year round.

$ 69.99

8. OXO Citrus Zester with Channel Knife

Hot citrus juice tends to have a more intense punch. While many hot cocktails require a citrus garnish, subtlety is key. Citrus peel twists are the perfect options. This simple and effective decorating tool from kitchen giant OXO gets the job done.

The channel knife notch safely cuts twists and bands to give your cocktail that ‘kissed’ effect.

$ 10.99

Spirits recommendations to fill your home bar

To get you started, here are some of our favorite spirits and the best bottles for making hot cocktails.

1. Laird’s Straight Applejack 86; $ 25, 94 points.

Bottled at 86 proofs (hence the name), this applejack has a copper tinge and a rich brown sugar scent. Tones of vanilla and caramel lead to a cinnamon bite on the tip of the tongue. Best buy. –Kara newman

The whiskey purse

2. Bourbon Right Navigator; $ 40, 93 points.

This is a Kentucky Bourbon aged three years in American oak barrels, then finished in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels from Napa Valley’s Navigator. The end result is a mellow sip, with brilliant aromas that suggest golden raisins and peach nectar. The palate has a quality similar to that of sherry, showing dried fruits and a floral touch, ending at length on almond and lemon. –KN

Navigator Spirits

3. Old Forester Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey; $ 25, 92 points.

Look for a bright topaz hue and concentrated aromas of sweet vanilla bean and caramel. The palate turns to darker flavors: caramel, mocha, espresso and clove, with a drying finish. Adding water brings out a hint of dark chocolate. –KN

Old forester

4. Caffè Corretto coffee liqueur; $ 35, 91 points.

Inspired by the Italian tradition of “corrected” espresso with a dash of liquor. Sweet nutty aromas lead to flavors of coffee, hazelnut and candied pecans, ending with a sizzle of baking spices. Looks good for winter cocktails. This liqueur is infused with ground coffee beans from Seattle’s Caffe Umbria roaster and is low in sweetness. –KN


5. Wodka Vodka; $ 13, 90 points.

This rye-based vodka is a bit sweet and a bit spicy. It offers light notes of marshmallow and coconut on the nose and palate, ending with a peppery heat. Best buy. –KN

Total Wine & More

Posted on November 30, 2021