The holiday season was absolutely made for enjoying cozy drinks by the fire, whether you’re sitting in front of a roaring fireplace, outdoor bonfire, or on the sofa watching a festive, digital Yule log. While the idea of wintry cocktails might conjure up visions of Hot Toddies and Old Fashioneds, there is a whole world of unique flavors and preparations that lend themselves to being enjoyed from the comfort of your favorite chair, or snuggled under a fuzzy blanket.

That said, there’s no one-size-fits-all definition of what makes the perfect fireside cocktail, but some of our go-to winter cocktail ingredients include zesty orange and lemon, tart cranberry, and fragrant herbs, especially when paired with the smoky, caramelly, slightly fruity goodness of Johnnie Walker Black Label.

To help you get the festivities started, let’s take a look at some of our favorite Johnnie Walker Black Label cocktail recipes that will have you feeling toasty in no time (real fireplace aside).

The Penicillin

Despite the fact that the Penicillin didn’t hit the bar scene until 2005, it quickly became a modern classic and a fan favorite. It’s now-iconic mix of peaty Scotch and ginger makes for a well-balanced and flavorful drink at any time, and the perfect thing to enjoy beside the fire.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 ounces Johnnie Walker Black Label
  • 1/4 ounce ginger liqueur
  • 1/2 ounces honey syrup
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 dash of aromatic bitters
  • Crystallized ginger pieces

Directions

  1. Create your honey syrup by combining filtered water and honey in a small saucepan at a 1:1 ratio, stirring over medium heat until well combined.
  2. Transfer your syrup to a jar to cool.
  3. Combine all your ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker and shake hard for around 5 to 7 seconds.
  4. Strain and serve over ice into your favorite glass before garnishing with a piece of crystallized ginger.

The Batched Hot Toddy

Serves 3

There’s no cocktail more classic for cozying up with by the fire than a Hot Toddy. A classic Toddy calls simply for whiskey, but we’ve opted for Johnnie Walker Black Label, which lends a smoky depth of flavor and hint of vanillic sweetness to the Toddy’s fresh acidic lemon and cinnamon spice. This recipe makes three Hot Toddies, perfect for warming the bellies of close friends.

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 ounces Johnnie Walker Black Label
  • 2 1/2 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 ounces real honey
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, or star anise
  • 3 lemon rounds

Directions

  1. Combine all your wet ingredients besides the water in the bottom of a large heatproof pitcher, then slowly pour the hot water over all the ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Take a taste and adjust the levels of honey and lemon juice to suit your preference.
  3. Pour the mixture evenly into three mugs before topping each with a lemon round and cinnamon stick or star anise.

The Smoky Apple Cider Whisky Sour

This spin on a Whisky Zour is a recipe you’ll want to turn to until the first buds of spring arrive. Smoky Scotch perfectly marries warming apple cider and maple syrup, and thanks to the signature froth of a good sour, it always feels like a treat to sip on.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces Johnnie Walker Black Label
  • 1 ounce apple cider
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce maple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • Cinnamon for dusting

Directions

  1. Combine all your ingredients into a shaker without ice, and give it a hearty shake for 20-30 seconds. This is called a dry shake, and ensures that the ingredients have time to emulsify for a smooth and frothy cocktail.
  2. Now add your ice for a “wet shake” of another 20-30 seconds.
  3. Strain into your favorite glass and sift a bit of cinnamon on top before serving.

The Cranberry Irish Mule

You’d be hard pressed to find an ingredient that better represents the holidays, and all that is good about winter, than the cranberry. Its bold red color and tart flavor are so representative of the season, and luckily make for the perfect cocktail when paired with Scotch.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces Johnnie Walker Black Label
  • 2 1/2 ounces pure cranberry juice
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • Ginger beer
  • One sprig of rosemary

Directions

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice before pouring in Johnnie Walker, cranberry juice, and simple syrup.
  2. Stir to combine until well chilled, and strain over fresh ice into a copper mule mug.
  3. Top off with ginger beer and add your sprig of fresh rosemary before serving. To add even more pizazz to your presentation, add an extra garnish of a couple fresh cranberries on a cocktail skewer.

The Godfather

An underrated classic since the 1970s,  The Godfather is probably one the easiest cocktails to prepare, and a real treat to enjoy. Marlon Brando, a.k.a. Don Corleon from the beverage’s namesake film, was supposedly a fan of mixing Scotch and amaretto. Whether that is fact or myth we can’t tell you, but we can agree that sipping one by the fire is the perfect way to end a winter evening.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Johnnie Walker Black Label
  • 1/2 ounce amaretto

Directions

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice before pouring in Johnnie Walker and amaretto.
  2. Stir until well chilled, then strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.

This article is sponsored by Johnnie Walker.

The article Smoky Scotch Cocktails to Sip on by the Fire appeared first on VinePair.