Winter at Disney World calls for comforting (and boozier) cocktails. Here are our top 6 picks of the best drinks to sip and savor this season at Disney World!
If summertime is all about margaritas, ice-cold beer, and quenching sangria by the carafe, then winter is for bracing bourbon tipples, coffee-infused cocktails, and enriching Manhattans.
Throughout Disney World, bars and restaurants are abound with decadent drinks perfect for cooler months. Whether they’re seasonal specials or menu mainstays, here are 6 winter-ready cocktails to try this year at Disney World!
Where to find it: The Polite Pig at Disney Springs
Whiskey and barbecue are a match made in meaty heaven, especially in the winter months, when hankerings for rib-sticking ribs and heady brown spirits reach a fever pitch.
The Polite Pig in Disney Springs is well-versed in this classic combo, always offering seasonal cocktails, like an Apple Cider Whiskey Sour, along with their tried-and-true lineup of smoked meats.
While much of the drink list rotates seasonally, one standby reigns supreme: the Barrel-Aged Manhattan is truly in a league of its own, a blend of whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters, all aged in-house in mini whiskey barrels.
It’s poured over a jumbo cube of ice with a cherry, which lends a smooth syrupy sweetness that balances nicely with the dark, smoky undertones of the cocktail.
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Where to find it: Nomad Lounge at Animal Kingdom
Home to some of the craftiest cocktails in Disney World, Nomad Lounge in Animal Kingdom has a reputation for clever mixology and surprising flavor combos.
In the winter, this is especially true of drinks like the butter-enriched Mustang Coffee or the allspice-infused Tempting Tigress.
But no drink exemplifies seasonal mixology quite like the Night Monkey, a fragrant blend of dark rum, coffee simple syrup, cilantro, lime juice, and guava puree.
The flavors sound as wild as a safari, but they jive together seamlessly, with the rum and coffee providing a hearty foundation for lighter and brighter elements.
Where to find it: Enchanted Rose at the Grand Floridan Resort & Spa
If Belle was into cocktails, she’d probably be an Espresso Martini gal. There’s just something about that vodka-espresso pairing that really takes the edge off, especially after evading wolves in the snow.
At the Beauty & the Beast-inspired Enchanted Rose cocktail lounge in the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, they’ve perfected the Espresso Martini and given it an elegant makeover.
At first glance, this chic drink might seem light and dainty, but it packs a Beast-strength punch! With Stoli Vanil Vodka, espresso, and Crème de Cacao, the alcohol disappears smoothly into the coffee, while the cacao brings a welcome dose of chocolate-y richness to balance everything out.
Baileys Salted Caramel Irish Coffee
Where to find it: Raglan Road at Disney Springs
Let’s face it– Florida’s weather doesn’t provide a huge window for enjoying hot cocktails without succumbing to instant heat exhaustion.
That’s why January and February are optimal months for maximizing those hot cocktail cravings, and nothing scratches that itch like a perfectly made Irish coffee, served warm and creamy in an Irish pub.
Look no further than Disney Springs’ Raglan Road, which puts its stamp on this hot coffee cocktail by using Baileys Salted Caramel for sweetness and a hint of salt, blended with fresh and aromatic ristretto coffee. It’s topped off with a fluffy cloud of cream and more caramel– it’s winter in a mug!
Where to find it: The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
With its rich medley of whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters, and cherry, the Manhattan might very well be the ultimate winter-friendly cocktail.
For a timeless rendition of this Americana staple, you won’t find a better version in Disney World than the one at The Hollywood Brown Derby.
The Hollywood Studios icon has a serious penchant for nostalgic staples, from Cobb salads to cioppino, and this is certainly true of its phone book-sized cocktail menu.
The Hollywood Manhattan, shaken and poured table side into a perfectly chilled martini glass, is a silky-smooth medley of Michter’s Single Barrel Rye Whiskey and sweet vermouth, garnished with Luxardo cherries.
By utilizing top-quality ingredients, glassware, and technique, it’s proof that you don’t need to tinker with the classics to ensure a perfect potable.
Tequila Old Fashioned
Where to find it: La Cava del Tequila at EPCOT
When it comes to cozy winter havens, it doesn’t get much cozier than La Cava del Tequila, the tucked-away agave bar in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion pyramid.
Famed for its inventive (and strong) margarita variations, the bar has whipped up a new seasonal drink unlike anything else on the menu.
Riffing on an Old Fashioned, their tequila-based version uses Casa Noble Reposado Tequila as the base, with the whopping addition of rum, Scotch, bourbon, Nixta elote liqueur, and cardamom bitters, poured over a large ice cube.
Clearly, this thing is intense, with dark spirits and high enough ABV to ward off even the briskest chill.
Winter Cocktails at Disney World
Although Florida’s version of winter cold is definitely not as frigid as, say, Alaska, the temperature definitely still calls for heartier drinking, darker spirits, and boozy coffee.
With any of these cocktails in Disney World, you’ll be well-equipped to sip your way through the season.
Matt Kirouac is a travel writer, podcaster, and author, currently living in an RV with his husband Brad and their mini dachshund Finn. His favorite places are national parks and theme parks, especially Walt Disney World, which he’s been visiting since he was a kid. Nowadays, he’s an Annual Passholder, and frequently discusses Disney on the podcast he and Brad host together, Hello Ranger.