The lights are up, the presents are all wrapped (or if you still need them, you can find inspiration in our gift guides right now), and the family is on the way over. Between the hard work finally being done and the impending assault of awkward questions and pairs of socks you don’t really care about (though these socks would be a welcome gift), now is the perfect time for a cocktail.
What to have, though? In the glow and twinkle of the holiday decorations around you, you’re just not feeling your go-to Old Fashioned (though if you are, you should use these whiskeys). Instead, you want something to match the scene around you. Below, you’ll find some of our favorite holiday cocktails this year, with options for everyone, no matter your taste in alcohol.
Laphroaig Scotsman’s Holiday Spice
(Created by Devon Tarby, Los Angeles)
- 5 parts Laphroaig 10 Year Old Scotch Whisky
- 1 part Amaretto
- .75 part lemon juice
- .25 part simple syrup
- 1 medium egg white
- Fresh cinnamon to garnish
Method: Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin and shake first without ice to emulsify the egg white. Open tin, carefully add ice, and shake hard until cold and frothy. Double strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated cinnamon.
- 1 oz Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka
- .5 oz Amontillado sherry
- 1 oz organic pear juice
- 1 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz orgeat syrup
Method: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and shake. Strain over cubed ice into a rocks glass.
- 2 oz Natalie’s Orange Cranberry juice
- .75 oz Natalie’s Lime juice
- 1.5 oz dark rum
- .5 oz Aperol
- .5 oz simple syrup
- 1 lime wedge
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp ground ginger
Method: To rim the glass, add the sugar to a small plate. Add the ground ginger and mix to combine. Moisten the rim of a rocks glass with a lime wedge. Dip the rim into the sugar-ginger mixture and rotate slowly until the rim is coated. Pour Natalie’s Orange Cranberry juice, Natalie’s Lime juice, Aperol, dark rum, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker, along with a few ice cubes. Shake until chilled. Strain into rimmed rocks glass.
- 2 parts Pinnacle Original Vodka
- 2 parts heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons melted white chocolate
- .5 teaspoon almond extract
- .25 teaspoon coconut extract
- .25 teaspoon nutmeg
- Shredded coconut or granulated sugar crystals to garnish
Method: Rim edges of glasses by dipping in melted white chocolate and again in coconut flakes or sugar crystals. Combine vodka, heavy cream and extracts. Shake and strain into the glass. (Tip: The white chocolate and sugar rim gives this cocktail a touch of sweetness, but if you like your cocktails on the sweeter side, add a bit of simple syrup to taste.)
Cinnamon Tequila Toddy
- 15 parts Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila
- 5 parts hot water
- .75 part cinnamon bark syrup
- .25 part honey
- .25 part fresh lemon juice
- 3 dashes vanilla bitters
- Cinnamon sticks
Method: Combine equal parts sugar and water with three cinnamon sticks in a saucepan; bring to a boil to create cinnamon bark syrup. Remove cinnamon sticks from the mixture and combine it with the remainder of the ingredients in a coffee glass. Stir and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Pacifico Holiday Hammock
- 1 Pacifico
- 2 oz Casa Noble Crystal Tequila
- .5 oz lemon juice
- .5 oz lime juice
- .5 oz agave nectar
- Jalapeno slice
- Lime wedge
Method: Combine all ingredients but beer in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Straining into a glass, add ice and top with Pacifico, Garnish with a wedge of lime.
Winter White 75
(Created by Natalie Migliarini, @BeautifulBooze)
- 1.5 oz Nolet’s Silver Gin
- 1 oz white cranberry juice
- .5 oz lemon juice
- .5 oz simple sugar
- Champagne to top
Method: Fill shaker with Nolet’s, lemon juice, simple syrup, white cranberry juice, and 1 cup of ice. Shake hard to chill and combine ingredients. Fine strain into coupe or flute. Top with champagne. Garnish with rosemary sprig and/or cranberry.
Buttered Bourbon Ball
- 1 oz Coopers’ Craft Bourbon
- 1 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
- 4 oz ginger ale
- 2 dashes vanilla extract
- 2 dashes chocolate bitters
- Caramel sauce for garnish
Method: Add Coopers’ Craft, Butterscotch Schnapps, and vanilla to a shaker filled with ice and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into ice-filled glass. Top with ginger ale, stir twice, and add two dashes of chocolate bitters over the top. Drizzle with caramel sauce and serve with a straw.
The Royal Flip
Method: Shake all ingredients vigorously and strain.
Almond Milk Eggnog
(Created by Blake Pope, Kindred, Davidson, North Carolina)
- 1 oz bourbon
- 6 oz almond milk base*
- 2 1/2 tsp simple syrup, divided
- 2 egg whites
- Nutmeg to garnish
Method: Place the egg whites in a very clean mixing bowl and beat until they form soft peaks (when you lift the beaters, you should get little points that curl over at the top). Beat in 1 tsp simple syrup. Place the bourbon, remaining 1 1/2 tsp simple syrup, and 3/4 cup almond milk base in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a glass. Top with some of the beaten egg whites. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and grated nutmeg.
*Almond Milk Base
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 cardamom pod
- 1 1/2 tsp whole cloves
- 1 tsp nutmug, freshly grated
- 3 cups almond milk
Method: Toast the sticks until they’re burnt and fragrant. (Skip burning them if you don’t have a kitchen torch.) Add the cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and almond milk to a pot and bring just to a boil. Turn off heat and steep for 30 minutes. Pour into a container with a lid and refrigerate overnight.
Apples & Honey
- 10 parts Drambuie
- 16 parts kosher pressed apple cider
- 6 parts lime juice
- .5 tbsp kosher salt
- 8 dashes angostura bitters
- 8 parts kosher sparkling white wine (for a dryer cocktail, use 16 parts sparkling wine)
- Sliced apples and mint to garnish
Method: Combine liquid ingredients and salt, minus wine, into a punch bowl. Stir until salt is dissolved. Store in fridge until ready to use. When ready to serve, add a large ice block (or large ice cubes) and sparkling wine. Shake and strain over ice. Garnish with thin apple slices and mint.
(Created by Jim Meehan, PDT, New York City)
- 1 liter Banks 7 Golden Age Rum
- 750 ml English breakfast tea
- 300 ml lemon juice
- 250g demerara sugar
- 1 tsp orange bitters
Method: Brew the tea, then stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Add 4 cups of ice to chill and dilute the mixture, then add bitters, lemon juice, and rum. Chill. When ready to serve, add the liquid to a punch bowl filled with one large block of ice. Use a ladle to pour in to punch cups filled with ice and garnish with grated nutmeg.
Letters to Mexico
- 1.5 oz Astral tequila
- .75 oz Campari
- .75 oz ginger syrup
- .5 oz fresh lime juice
- Soda to top
- Pomegranate seeds to garnish
Method: Pour all ingredients into a shaker tin except the soda water. Shake and strain into a tall glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with pomegranate seeds
Boston White Russian
- 1.5 oz Boston Harbor Distillery’s Coffee Liqueur
- 1.5 oz Boston Harbor Distillery’s Maple Cream Liqueur
- 1 oz Lawley’s Small Batch Rum
- Nutmeg to garnish
Method: Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Garnish with nutmeg.
Belvedere Champagne Punch
- 1 oz Belvedere Vodka
- .75 oz pineapple cuice
- .75 oz Chandon Brut
- .5 oz Averna
- .25 oz vanilla simple syrup (1:1 vanilla extract to simple syrup)
- Nutmeg to garnish
Method: Add all ingredients, except Chandon Brut, to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a punch glass. Add ice and top with Chandon Brut. Garnish with a dusting of fresh nutmeg.
In the mood for holiday music, but tired of the same old tunes? Check out our Christmas playlist below.
- The Most Appealing Banana Liqueur Cocktails on the Planet
- Gold Medal-Worthy Cocktails to Sip While Watching the Winter Olympics
- National Margarita Day is Here and You’re Going to Need these Recipes
- The Manual’s Favorite Cocktails of 2017 (with Recipes)
- 9 Valentine’s Day Cocktails to Say ‘I Love You’