The cold weather is no reason to reign in the drinking – if anything, cocktails are the perfect tonic to the biting frost outside. If you’re after something even more warming than a beer jacket or don’t fancy a glass of crushed ice in your hand, try a hot cocktail from some of Beijing’s cosy drinking spots.
Made with smoky aged rum, bitter orange marmalade, ginger date syrup and lemon juice, Botany
's TCM-inspired cocktail is a particularly excellent option for those feeling a little under the weather (but refuse to skip a night out). Sweet, sour and served with a cracker of gingerbread, this restorative concoction is just what the doctor ordered. 100RMB.
Lemon Buttered Rum
Served in an adorable porcelain cup, 50/50
's oh-so-creamy yet deliciously tart Lemon Buttered Rum is a lip-smacking mix of homemade lemon curd, salted butter-washed rum and lemon liqueur, for what's a sophisticated, offbeat take on eggnog. 50/50's full list of seasonal hot cocktails also includes mulled wine (80RMB) and bacon hot toddies (bacon fat-washed bourbon, honey and lemon, 80RMB). Available buy one, get one free from 7 to 9.30pm every day, you may as well try them all. 80RMB.
With its fragrant mix of spiced rum, almond milk, homemade almond syrup plus coconut syrup, Black Moth
's Coconut Almond has been one of the most popular items on its new winter menu – and it's not hard to see why. Sweet without being cloying, this tropical tipple takes us away to warmer, sunny days – if only temporarily. Other equally aromatic hot drinks on the new menu include pandan mulled wine (90RMB) and lychee osmanthus tea (90RMB). 90RMB.
Travelling across Siberia isn't exactly our first thought when it comes to escaping the cold – in fact it's probably the opposite – but Slow Boat
's warming, no-frills drink (traditionally served on Trans-Siberian trains, as the name suggests) is the perfect winter warmer, made with black tea and served with homemade jam (raspberry, blackberry, cranberry and orange), plus a shot of vodka. And if it's good enough for getting through a Siberian winter, it's good enough for us. 50RMB (available at a happy hour price of 40RMB every Monday to Friday from 4 to 8pm).
A spiced-up version of the traditional classic, Nina
's hot toddy is made with bourbon, honey, pepper, cloves, cinnamon and lemon. We'd also point out that the inclusion of honey and lemon – and to a lesser degree, bourbon – is good for you, so really, it's probably in your best interest to sip on one of these this winter. 60RMB.
Apple Hot Toddy
In celebration of the colder months, Gung Ho! Pizza
's unveiled a range of three winter warmers, including mulled wine (50RMB), hot chocolate (there's also a delicious vegan option, 35RMB) plus apple hot toddies. Unlike the other unapologetically boozy options in this feature, Gung Ho! offers an alcohol-free riff on its hot toddies for non-drinkers (40RMB). Made with hot apple juice infused with fresh ginger, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and star anise, simply add an extra 10RMB for a shot of sweet dark rum. Available only at their Sanlitun branch. 50RMB.
Grown-up Hot chocolate
Hot chocolate is a classic winter treat at any age, but we're particularly partial to the boozy rendition at Mesh
at The Opposite House. A deliciously unexpected combination of apricot-flavored Kahlua, Valrhona dark chocolate, plus hints of hazelnut and almond, this is a creamy, but punchy bedtime beverage. 68RMB.
Turning to Germany for inspiration, Café Zarah
's indulgent hot chocolate is spiked with Black Forest cherry brandy and topped with liberal amounts of cream, dark chocolate sprinkles and maraschino cherries, for what's essentially a Black Forest cake in liquid form – who says you can't have your cake and drink it too? 45RMB.