Warm Spiced Vanilla Cocktail

Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, Irish cream, and bourbon make for a cozy hot cocktail that'll warm up the coldest of winter nights.


Total Time: 20 minutes

With winter solstice right around the corner, it’s optimum time for getting cozy. Fuzzy blankets, front-of-TV cuddles, flickering candles, steaming-hot drinks. I mean, when the sun goes down at 4:30 in the evening, what else can you do but cradle a warming winter cocktail and wholeheartedly embrace the season?

Alcohol helps. Just sayin’. (Just kidding. Mostly. It is very warming!)

Warm Spiced Vanilla Cocktail with Cinnamon-Sugar Rims - Cozy spices, vanilla, Baileys, and bourbon make for a cozy hot cocktail recipe that'll warm up the coldest of winter nights.

This is another throw-together recipe that, with a few tweaks, has become a fast winter favorite. We wanted a warm cocktail; I didn’t want to go to the store. So we made do with what we had in our cupboards. And we adored the outcome.

Warm Spiced Vanilla Cocktail with Cinnamon-Sugar Rims - Cozy spices, vanilla, Irish cream, and bourbon make for a cozy hot cocktail recipe that'll warm up the coldest of winter nights.

With the star anise, these Warm Spiced Vanilla Cocktails have a bit of a chai latte air, though mostly, they just kind of taste like the season. Vanilla – best if you can include the bean but totally fine without – plus a good dose of nutmeg and cinnamon to boot. Irish cream and bourbon for the lushy part of the equation – wonderfully warming and just darn tasty.

The rim though. That cinnamon-sugared rim. It’s a keeper. It reminds me of cinnamon toast. Except no bread. Or toaster. Just cinnamon sugary goodness.

Warm Spiced Vanilla Cocktail with Cinnamon-Sugar Rims - Cozy spices, vanilla, Irish cream, and bourbon make for a cozy hot cocktail recipe that'll warm up the coldest of winter nights.

We may not be seeing the sun right now, but things like this can definitely still brighten our days (and nights).

Warm Spiced Vanilla Cocktail

Yield: Serves about 4

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, Irish cream, and bourbon make for a cozy hot cocktail that'll warm up the coldest of winter nights.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups milk (I use 2%, but whole would also be good)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 5-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 vanilla bean (optional)
  • 2/3 cup Irish cream liqueur (like Baileys)
  • 1/3 cup bourbon (like Maker's Mark)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the rims:

  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. To a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add the milk, maple syrup, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and star anise. If using a vanilla bean, split it open and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and remainder of vanilla bean to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is hot and steaming. Reduce to low and heat for 5 minutes, being careful not to ever let it come to a full boil. Remove from heat. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a large heat-proof bowl and carefully pour the liquid over the sieve. Discard the solids. Add the liquid back to the saucepan. Stir in the Irish cream, bourbon, and vanilla extract.
  2. To garnish the mug rims, pour the 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup into a small saucer. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon, then pour it onto another small saucer. Dip the rims of the glasses into the maple syrup, then dip into the cinnamon and sugar mix, pressing to coat evenly. Flip over and fill glasses with the hot cocktail. Serve.

We've substituted Kahlua for the Irish cream and bourbon - also good!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a portion of the proceeds. More about this here.

Karen Raye

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.

2 Responses to “Warm Spiced Vanilla Cocktail”

  1. Can I swap my lukewarm cup of coffee for one of these right now? Maker’s Mark is always in the house because my husband makes his Manhattan’s with it, and that cinnamon spiced rim is genius!

  2. Working on about five hours sleep after a 13.5 hour workday yesterday. I could definitely use one of these to comfort me while I stare at my computer screen :)
    I can just imagine making these and sitting out in the cool summer night air to watch the stars. Perfection.

Leave a Comment