9 Winter Cocktails That are Better Than Dessert

A cocktail in a small tea cup.
Got a craving for something sweet? Look no further. The Big Farg-O is one of many dessert cocktails that are perfect for wintertime.

So you’ve given up desserts as your New Year’s resolution and you’re looking for a loophole? Here’s one: cocktails shouldn’t count. Desserts refer to the likes of cakes and cookies, not a delectable drink. And while you’re slaving away to meet your “New Year, new you” goals, we think you ought to reward yourself every once in awhile. We’ve rounded up some decadent, wintry cocktail recipes for when you’re in the mood to treat yourself. After all, you’ve earned it.

1. Adults-Only Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate Why not dress up your hot cocoa with a little Chartreuse and whiskey?

Growing up is never easy, but this Adults-Only Hot Chocolate makes it feel at least slightly more worthwhile. Created for Porchlight’s New Year’s Eve menu themed around camping, this cocktail composed of rich hot chocolate, Elijah Craig and Green Chartreuse will satisfy all winter long.

2. Arnaud’s Tom and Jerry

Tom and Jerry cocktail at Arnaud's French 75 The Tom and Jerry, a classic holiday season drink, requires a little up-front labor — but the end result is well worth it. (Photo: Paul G. Tuennerman)

We’d be remiss not to include Arnaud’s classic Tom and Jerry on this list. The classic variation on eggnog sets the standard for decadent wintry drinking. Bonus: it can be easily batched for serving (or drinking) in bulk.

3. Finnish Cobbler

Cocktail garnished with dehydrated lemon and lime wheels A drink that could keep you warm on even the chilliest of Scandinavian nights, by Bittered Sling's Lauren Mote for the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver.

For a cocktail to take the place of dessert, it doesn’t have to be rife with heavy cream and baking spices — Bittered Sling’s Lauren Mote proves that with her Finnish Cobbler.

4. Cuyamel Cartel

A cocktail next to a bottle of pralines and cream liqueur Dreaming of holidays spent by the seaside? The Cuyamel Cartel satisfies. Decadent Bacardi Ocho, banana butter and Evangeline's Pralines and Cream Liqueur come together for a boozy islander treat. (Photo: Sharon Pye)

Fans of the seriously sweet: this one’s for you. Combining boozy banana butter, Evangaline’s Pralines and Cream Liqueur and Bacardi Ocho, this is the stuff your sweet tooth begs for.

5. The Big Farg-O

A cocktail in a small tea cup. Espresso, chai, ice cream and rum — need we say more? We might keep The Big Farg-O in our cups all season long. (Photo: Sharon Pye)

Why aren’t all cocktails garnished with ice cream? Alas, this one is. The Big Farg-O brings together flavors of chai, espresso, ginger and smoke, topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. We’d call that irresistible.

6. Doc Holliday Grog

A cocktail in a small tea cup, garnished with cinnamon. The Doc Holliday Grog is an instant classic, like the man himself. (Photo: Sharon Pye)

Winner of the Judges Choice Award at Tales of the Toddy, this stunner is comforting and satiating in all the right ways. Giving up dessert for this drink? No problem.

7. The Elves That Killed the Pear Tree

Creamy whiskey drink topped with orange zest Pear and rhubarb cream add a delicate, fruity sweetness to Irish whiskey in this cocktail from Tyler Chauvin of Treo and Gretchen Moore of Peche and Treo. (Photo: Sharon Pye Photography)

Creamy, fruit forward and not at all lacking in booze, The Elves That Killed the Pear Tree won’t disappoint. The orange zest and seltzer also add a delicate pop of flavor and texture.

8. Noggin’ on Heaven’s Door

Eggnog cocktail and bottle of Tuaca This heavenly nog recipe involves an armagnac whipped cream, so you know it has to be good. (Photo: Sharon Pye Photography)

We can’t talk wintertime treats without including an update on eggnog. This recipe calls for brown butter-washed Tuaca and armagnac-infused whipped cream, two elements that take the classic over the top.

9. The White Elephant

A cocktail with coconut cream and a straw, surrounded by coffee beans. The White Elephant combines some of our very favorite complex flavors for an exceptionally drinkable cocktail. Photo by Breanne Furlong.

With coconut cream, sweet vermouth, coffee and allspice dram, this cocktail combines complex wintertime flavors for a delicately balanced but sumptuous drink. How soon is too soon to drink your dessert?

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