When it comes to the holiday season, besides the massive feasts, presents, and general revelry, we love the boozy drinks. And while we enjoy a nice glass of complex single malt Scotch whisky or warming, nuanced mezcal, we also love well-made, classic cocktails, especially when they’re pretty easy to whip up for friends, family, and co-workers.
By classic cocktails, we mean the iconic, whiskey-driven old fashioned, citrus and white rum-centric daiquiri, the semisweet, lightly bitter negroni, and the boozy, perfect martini. But not just those well-known drinks. Below, you’ll find ten of our favorite classic cocktails that are perfectly suited for the holiday season. You won’t have to deal with guests who hate the ingredients in themed Christmas cocktails because these cocktails are crowd-pleasers all year round. The best part? Since they are all reasonably low on ingredients and simple to make, you don’t need an advanced mixology degree to make them. Keep scrolling to see the best cocktails with recipes included.
When it comes to well-known cocktails, there are few as popular as the old fashioned. Made with whiskey (usually rye, but bourbon works well too), muddled sugar, water, and
Old fashioned recipe:
1.5 ounces rye whiskey (or bourbon)
1 sugar cube
2-3 dashes of
1-2 dashes of water
In an old fashioned glass, add the sugar cube. Add the 2-3 dashes of bitters and the water. Muddle it all until the sugar dissolves. Add ice cubes and whiskey. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with an orange peel.
When some drinkers think about the daiquiri, their minds tend to go to the frozen version. Instead, they should be thinking about the classic version Ernest Hemingway enjoyed from time to time. Not at all frozen, the traditional daiquiri is made with only three ingredients: white rum, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup. Simple, elegant, and very flavorful.
1.5 ounces of white rum
1 ounce of fresh lime juice
.5 ounces of simple syrup
Add all three ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Another rum-centric cocktail, this classic drink (like many) comes from Cuba. While this flavorful, minty, boozy drink is well-suited for the summer months. During the winter, the white rum, fresh lime juice, sugar, muddled mint leaves, and soda water will transport you to a tropical island paradise with just one sip. Who wouldn’t love that on a frigid winter day (or night)?
1.5 ounces of white rum
1 ounce of fresh lime juice
2-3 teaspoons of granulated sugar
5-7 mint leaves
Soda water topper
In a pint glass, muddle the sugar, lime juice, and mint leaves. Add ice, rum, and soda water topper. Stir gently to combine.
When it comes to boozy, high-octane, flavorful cocktails, it’s difficult to beat the appeal of the festive, delicious Margarita. One of the most well-known three-ingredient cocktails, triple sec, margarita, and fresh lime juice are the only things you’ll need on hand to mix up this drink for your friends and family.
2 ounces of blanco tequila
2 ounces of triple sec
.75 ounces of fresh lime juice
Add all ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake vigorously. Strain into a salt-rimmed margarita glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
The Negroni is a very unique cocktail. When you look at its reddish, you might not be completely sure what to expect when you take a sip. The cocktail consists of gin, vermouth, and Campari. While the gin gives it a herbal, botanical flavor, and the vermouth adds sweetness, the Campari adds a unique bitterness that needs to be tasted to be believed.
1 ounce of sweet red vermouth
1 ounce of Campari
1 ounce of London dry gin
Add all three ingredients to an ice-filled glass. Stir to combine. Garnish with an orange peel.
If it’s good enough for James Bond, it’s good enough for us. And while we preferred ours stirred as opposed to shaken, we enjoy this cocktail made from gin (or vodka if you’re into that sort of thing) and dry vermouth (with an olive garnish) throughout the holiday season. What could be easier than mixing up a boozy, flavorful cocktail with only two ingredients?
3 ounces London dry gin
.5 ounces dry vermouth
Add vermouth and gin to an ice-filled mixing glass. Stir to combine. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Add an olive garnish.
While the Margarita seems to get most of the love when it comes to tequila-based cocktails, you’d be remiss if you didn’t make up a paloma or two for your friends and family members this holiday season. While the Margarita is lime-centric, the paloma is loaded with bright grapefruit flavor. The classic recipe is one part tequila to three parts grapefruit soda. Simple, crisp, citrus-filled, and sublimely refreshing.
2 ounces tequila (reposado works best)
Grapefruit soda topper
Add tequila to an ice-filled glass. Top with Grapefruit soda and stir to combine. Add a lime wedge for garnish.
This aptly named cocktail is known for its fizzy, refreshing flavor profile and spicy, ginger bite. It’s also just as well-known for how simple it is to make. Usually served in a traditional copper mug (although you can still make it even if you don’t own any), this popular cocktail is made with three simple ingredients: vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. A lime wedge garnish adds even more flavor to this spicy cocktail.
Moscow mule recipe:
1.5 ounces vodka
.3 ounces lime juice
Ginger beer topper
Fill a copper mug with ice and add the vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. Gently stir. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Sometimes confused with the old fashioned, this classic cocktail swaps out the muddled sugar for sweet vermouth. Like the old fashioned, it’s most often made with rye whiskey (although bourbon works well here too). As a whole, the drink consists of whiskey, sweet red vermouth, and
2 ounces rye whiskey
.75 ounces sweet red vermouth
2-3 dashes of
Add all the ingredients to an ice-filled glass. Stir and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a cocktail cherry garnish.
As holiday cocktails go, the Irish Coffee is one of the more elaborate. But that’s only because instead of mixing a bunch of spirits and ingredients, it takes a few extra steps to construct. It’s well worth it though. The classic recipe calls for Irish whiskey, fresh cream, brown sugar, and freshly brewed, hot coffee. While there are myriad ways to make this drink, the easiest is the make the coffee and then stir in the whiskey and sugar. Top it with cream. It’s warming, caffeinated, and boozy. What more could you ask for with a holiday cocktail?
Irish coffee recipe:
1.5 ounces Irish whiskey
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
2.5 ounces of hot coffee
Fresh cream topper.
Pour hot coffee into a glass. Stir in brown sugar until it dissolves. Add Irish whiskey and stir. Top it with fresh cream and enjoy.
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