Escape The Cold With These Winter Cocktails

January 12, 2024
cocktail on a bar top from weiss distilling company

Photo courtesy of Weiss Distilling Company

As the winter winds sweep through the streets of Metro Detroit, the area’s bustling bars and cozy lounges transform, offering a warm respite from the frosty air. This season, local mixologists are drawing inspiration from Michigan’s rich flavors and the festive spirit of the season to craft an array of winter cocktails (if you’d rather have a fun mocktail instead, we’ve got the best places for those too). Each establishment adds its unique twist, infusing traditional drinks with local ingredients and innovative flair. Join us as we explore the most enticing and imaginative winter cocktails that Metro Detroit has to offer.


2130 Michigan Avenue, Detroit

The Sugar House is a great Corktown choice for those looking for a seasonal cocktail, but it also has a menu of 101 classic cocktail options. When you’re looking to escape the winter chill and try a fun cocktail, the Wistful Winters menu offers just the thing! One drink, Rocky’s Candy Land has a beautiful lavender hue and is made with Benchmark Bourbon, creme de violet, lavender, lime, egg white, and orange blossom. If you’d rather be anywhere but Michigan in the winter Snow Bird could be the perfect cocktail for you. It’ll bring along lots of tropical vibes with Lunazul Tequila Blanco, blackberry, passionfruit, lime, and Curaçao. Another great choice? Try the Michigan-inspired Tahquamenon Old Fashioned with Rittenhouse rye, root beer liqueur, demerara, root beer, and bitters. 

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47 Watson Street, Detroit

Known for its exceptional revolving menu, absurdly juicy burger, and refined beverage program, Grey Ghost’s newest cocktail addition is a nod to the warm and cozy feeling that welcomes us in from the cold. The First Mate stars pumpkin spiced rum, dry Curaçao, toasted pecan, and notes of honey and lime. Strange Clouds is also great for the season, with Irish whiskey, Laphroaig, and flavors of walnut, hickory maple, and applewood sea salt.

first mate winter cocktail from grey ghost
Photo courtesy of Grey Ghost


607 Shelby Street, Detroit

Tucked away in the back of Coffee Down Under in Detroit’s Financial District, The Shelby is a local speakeasy that boasts a sophisticated selection of shareable small plates and inventive cocktails. The intimate space and tasteful design lend themselves perfectly to an evening of catching up and getting a cocktail or two. Try the Regent Street– a citrusy combination of Grand Cru Gin, Earl Grey tea, yuzu, coconut cream, orange, and bergamot. Or, go for a classic espresso martini, served with Proud Mary espresso, vodka, and coffee liqueur, which happened to be its most popular cocktail throughout 2023.


34 East 14 Mile Road, Clawson

Weiss Distilling Company pulls out all the stops during the winter, starting with hand-cut blocks of ice for its drinks. “Weiss Distilling Company is continuing our seasonally themed menus and decor for the Weiss on Ice experience,” shares Bar Manager Lucy Bondy. “You can expect a cozy, frozen atmosphere, perfect for a date night. We have a winter ingredient-inspired menu, custom ice sculpture projections, and chandeliers all drenched in blue light. The menu features 25 original cocktails from chili spiced hot chocolate (Abuela), to a black pepper martini served with caviar (Lunch With Jane), and our non-alcoholic section. There are nostalgic winter flavors for everyone. Everything from syrups, spirits, and liqueurs are made in-house by the Weiss Distilling Co team.”

cocktail poured at weiss distilling company
Photo courtesy of Weiss Distilling Company


1400 Woodward Avenue, Detroit

This speakeasy-esque space inside the Shinola Hotel is refined, dimly lit, and offers a seasonal cocktail menu along with small plates. At the Evening Bar, try the Polar Express, a gin and orange marmalade cocktail topped with ginger whipped cream. Another great choice? Kingston Cafe. This cocktail combines Appleton rum, coffee, Averna, and Campari. You won’t want to miss out on these winter cocktails.

This article has been updated to include new information. The original article was published on December 22, 2021, and was authored by Aaron B. Cohen.