Winter is here, people. That means holiday shopping, seeing family that you’ve been avoiding all year, and (hopefully) cozy nights inside with a good movie. So, as the new year approaches, may I suggest a selection of enchanting winter films and specially curated cocktails to sip on while watching them?
Seriously—it’s a good idea. There have even been studies done on how watching holiday movies can release feel-good hormones in the brain. And I think we all know from personal experience that having a delicious cocktail can release some feel-good sensations as well. Why not make it a double whammy by pairing a good movie with a drink that’ll have you warm and buzzing? So put on one of these delightfully frosty films and swig on a cocktail. And happy New Year, folks.
Elf + White Russian
If this classic Christmas movie doesn’t cheer you up, what’s wrong with you? Elf stars Will Ferrell in one of his most iconic roles as Buddy, a human elf, who journeys to New York City to find his biological father. Shenanigans ensue. The delectables on screen include chocolate syrup spaghetti topped with Pop-Tarts and spiked coffee that makes the tallest elf from the North Pole loosey-goosey. And if that’s not enough for you, we have a delicious White Russian recipe that’ll taste equal parts like bitter coffee and sweet, frothy, milky confection. It just might get you in the mood to dance on a table.
• 1 1/2 oz. vodka
• 3/4 oz. Kahlúa
• 3/4 oz. heavy cream
Add vodka and Kahlúa to a rocks glass over ice, top with heavy cream, then stir if you’re so moved. (Alternatively, shake the ingredients well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled Old-Fashioned glass.)
Serendipity + Spiked Hot Chocolate
What’s sweeter than a frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity 3 topped with whipped cream and sprinkles? This movie. It stars John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, two really odd (but hot!) people falling in love in a winter wonderland. Their kismet affair starts with a whirlwind day of shopping at Bloomingdales, ice skating, and sipping frozen hot chocolates. In typical rom-com logic, they decide to part ways and let destiny decide if they’re meant to be together. Chug on this spiked hot chocolate and feel your heartbeat go pitter-patter on a sugar high.
Spiked Hot Chocolate
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1 packet hot cocoa mix
- 2 marshmallows
- 3 oz. vodka
- 2 oz. chocolate liqueur (such as Godiva)
- 1 cup ice
Heat broiler. In a small saucepan over low heat, heat milk. Stir in hot cocoa until no lumps remain, then pour mixture into a cocktail shaker.
Place marshmallows on a baking sheet and broil until browned, 1 to 2 minutes (keep an eye on them!).
Add vodka, chocolate liqueur, and ice to shaker and shake until combined. Pour into glasses and top each with a toasted marshmallow.
Eyes Wide Shut + Black Velvet
This erotic thriller is a marriage drama that mirrored the dissolution of Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise’s real-life marriage. It was also filmmaking auteur Stanley Kubrick’s final feature. In Eyes Wide Shut, we follow one long and bizarre night of a man’s life as he navigates the shadowy boundaries of temptation, guilt, and fulfillment. The film may leave you feeling mystified. (And a little turned on?!) Luckily, we have you covered with this Black Velvet cocktail that has a lot of depth, a dash of sweetness, and it’s topped with enough bubbles that your will head spin as fast as the mystery unfolding before you.
• Guinness stout
• Brut champagne
Half-fill a champagne flute with stout and top up slowly with champagne. Stir gently with glass or plastic rod.
The Shining + Jack the Spy
All work and no play makes us dull. So enjoy your break and put on another Kubrick classic. Since there are many nightmarish scenes in The Shining, coupled with a nearly apocalyptic snowstorm, the film will certainly compel you to drown some of your terror with a stiff drink. For that, we have a whiskey cocktail that’ll have you feeling just as unhinged as Jack Torrance.
Jack the Spy
• 1 1/4 oz. rye whiskey
• 1 oz. Croft 10 Year Tawny Port
• 1/2 oz. Aperol
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Stir thoroughly and strain over a big cube in a double rocks and garnish with a wide lemon peel.
Dumb And Dumber + Hot Buttered Rum
Laughter is the best medicine. Chuckle all your stress away with this all-timer of a comedy, starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. For those who don’t remember: two goofballs depart on a mission of love (and also danger) to return a briefcase to a beautiful woman. They end up in Aspen with ski pants full of snow and way more than they bargained for. Why not add even more chaos by making a hot buttered rum (or three) during your screening?
Hot Buttered Rum
• 2 oz. rum
• 2 sugar cubes
• 1 pat butter
In a mug, dissolve the sugar in a little hot water, then add rum and unsalted butter. Fill the mug with hot water and sprinkle a little nutmeg on top.
Little Women + Hot Punch
If you love hearing Bob Odenkirk say, “my little women,” well, this is the perfect film for you. Greta Gerwig’s 2019 adaptation of the literary classic, Little Women, is a wonderful, wintry film to whisk you away from these dreary long nights. Every character in this film is full of passion, conviction, and enduring love. It’ll warm your little Grinch heart just to see how unconditionally this family loves each other. And if that doesn’t work, we have a hot punch recipe you can make in a giant pot and share with all your little women.
- 3 pints tea
- 2 oranges
- 1 lemon
- 1 pint dark rum
- 1 pint brandy
Brew the tea, then slice the oranges and lemon into thin wheels. Mix the fruit, tea, and alcohol in a large metal pot on the stove. Add sugar to taste. Keep at the lowest simmer you can manage.
The Thing + Snowball
Sometimes being scared out of your wits can be a form of relaxation. Don’t question me! Just pop on John Carpenter’s The Thing and let the cold and claustrophobic story of an Antarctic research expedition gone wrong take you far away from your own petty problems. Hey, at least you’re not stranded near the South Pole with a vicious alien creature hunting you down. And if you get too frightened, hold on tight to this snowball. It’s a fruity, yet frosty cocktail that’ll melt the chills you may get down your spine while watching.
- 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
- 1.5 oz Advocaat
- 3.4 oz good-quality lemonade
- 1 maraschino cherry, to garnish
Put the advocaat in a cocktail shaker with ice and three times as much lemonade. Shake. Add a squeeze of lime juice to taste. Garnish with a single cherry.
Phantom Thread + Death In The Afternoon
Love isn’t dead, but it may kill you. If you thought your relationships were toxic, Phantom Thread’s leading woman, Alma, redefines the meaning of toxic. (Ahem, mushrooms, we’re looking at you.) This film about the tempestuous romance between a stubborn young waitress and a domineering fashion designer will stir up passionate feelings within the coldest of hearts. Keep that flaming spark of romance alive inside of you by drinking this absinthe cocktail. It may feel a little too overwhelming—but that’s just the power of love, baby.
Death In The Afternoon
• 1 1/2 oz. absinthe
• 4 oz. brut champagne
Pour absinthe into a champagne flute and add iced brut champagne until it clouds up (at least 4 ounces).
It’s a Wonderful Life + Christmas Eggnog
Ever wondered what life would be like if you had never existed? Good thing for us cynics, James Stewart has already explored this melancholy fantasy in this classic film. The very definition of a feel-good movie, Stewart takes us on a journey of self-discovery and learns how acts of kindness can save the lives of the people around us. Get all warm and fuzzy inside by cradling this eggnog while you watch. Maybe you’ll finish the movie with more appreciation for the good in people—or maybe you’ll just get tipsy. Either way, it’s sure to be a good night.
• 12 eggs
• 3/4 c. superfine sugar
• 1 p. cognac
• 1/2 p. dark rum
• 1 p. milk
• 1/2 p. heavy cream
Goodfellas + Espresso Martini
Don’t let Goodfellas fool you. It’s not just a fast-paced, raucous gangster tale. It’s also a story about marriage, the slippery slope of ambition, and how greed corrupts even the most precious bonds we have in life. Why not get yourself hyped up for a life of crime with this delicious recipe for an espresso martini? After a few sips, you’ll be feeling like a wise guy who could easily heist a vault at JFK. We won’t be held liable for anything you do after a glass of this.
• 2 oz. Grey Goose vodka
• 1/2 oz. Mr Black coffee liqueur
• 3/4 oz. simple syrup
• 1 1/2 oz. fresh espresso
1. Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass.
2. Garnish with two or three coffee beans.
Sirena He is an editorial assistant and writer who focuses on media and culture. She is a lover of horror films and believes in the healing power of storytelling.
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