The Coziest Holiday Cocktails for Cold Weather
There are many things to love about the holiday season – great food, time with family, and of course, strong drinks. In fact, if you're planning to spend a lot of time with your family over the holidays, strong drinks may be required. While summer cocktails often steal the limelight with their fruity and bubbly flavor profile, holiday cocktails are the real sleeper hit of the year. They're festive, cozy, and perfect for long winter nights spent debating politics with your uncle.
For too long, holiday cocktails have received a bad rap. If eggnog is as controversial in your family as your sister's most recent relationship, this cocktail list is for you. Luckily, the heavy drinks of Christmas past no longer have to haunt your Christmas present. Holiday cocktails are as versatile as their lighter summer counterparts, and can easily fit into any holiday menu.
Need some holiday cocktail inspiration? Whether you're hosting a holiday shindig or heading home to see your family this year, we've got you covered. Here are some of our coziest cocktail ideas from people who know a thing or two about mixing the perfect drink. Get ready to curl up next to a fireplace and slip into the holiday spirit.
Old Fashioned with a Twist
“Wine spritzers are great during the summer months, but just because it's colder outside it doesn't mean you have to give them up! Try mixing your favorite wine spritzer with different ingredients for a fun twist on a classic winter cocktail. One recipe I like to make is a version of the classic old fashioned: mix two ounces of bourbon with two dashes of Orange Angostura Bitters. Add a splash of a citrusy wine spritzer and garnish with an orange wheel. This is a great cocktail to serve at a holiday party, or to enjoy with friends.” – Anish Patel, Founder of Tinto Amorio
Kombucha Moscow Mule
“A classic Moscow Mule is made with vodka, ginger beer and lime juice. For something a little different, this winter try mixing it up with ginger kombucha instead. I like to mix about 1½ ounces of vodka with 3 ounces of ginger kombucha. Squeeze in some fresh lime, and add honey or simple syrup to taste. The kombucha brings some sweetness and flavor, while at the same time giving you some gut-healthy probiotics. We tend to eat a lot of heavier foods over the holidays, so adding some probiotics into your routine will help improve your digestion.” – Justin Chan, Growth Manager at JuneShine
“Apple pie is a classic winter comfort food, so this year try out a cold weather drink that draws inspiration from this all-American favorite. Find a good cinnamon whiskey, and add two ounces of it to approximately 12 ounces of apple cider beer. If you want to take it to the next level, rim your glass with sugar and garnish with a cinnamon stick. It's a festive cocktail that will be a hit at any holiday party, and it will keep you warm during the cold winter months.” – Jason Sherman, Founder of TapRm
“A cranberry bellini will bring a bright and vibrant pop of color to your holiday spread – and the smooth flavor makes it the perfect pre-dinner aperitif. Start with a can of your favorite sparkling wine or prosecco, and add a splash of cranberry juice. You can add simple syrup to taste if you prefer a sweeter cocktail. Garnish with some fresh cranberries or a sprig of rosemary to make it extra festive. I like to serve these at holiday parties over a light round of appetizers.” – Riley Burke, Growth Marketing Manager at Ohza
“In a tin with ice, add 1½ oz. Ketel One Vodka, 1 oz. almond milk, ½ oz. Lo-Fi Gentian Amaro, ½ oz. lemon juice, ½ oz. cinnamon syrup, and 5 dashes cardamom bitters. Shake and pour into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with three chocolate-covered raspberries on a skewer.” – Phil Testa, Beverage Manager at The Rickey
“Made particularly popular in the late '90s after the release of the movie The Big Lebowski, the White Russian is a creamy, indulgent cocktail that comes together in seconds—no cocktail shaker required. Kahlúa and heavy cream help to mask the intensity of the vodka, but sip slowly. Melting ice is intended to help mellow the drink. The ratio for a classic White Russian is easy to remember: 2 parts vodka, 1 part coffee liqueur, 1 part cream. But feel free to play around!” – Lauren Miyashiro, Food Director at Delish.com
Mixing up a festive cocktail is sure to put you in a merry state of mind, so try one (or all!) of these cocktail recipes this winter. If you're planning a holiday party, choosing a signature drink or two will take your party up a notch and put your guests in a festive mood. Whether it's an office party or a Secret Santa gift exchange with your friends, pick a signature holiday drink that will pair well with light hors d'oeuvres and cue up some festive music (Mariah Carey, anyone?) If you play your cards right, your guests might not even notice that you haven't managed to put up your holiday decorations yet. Luckily for us, a great cocktail and the right playlist can hide a multitude of holiday sins.
While classics like eggnog and hot toddies will surely cross your path this winter, give a new cocktail recipe a try, and you might just find a new favorite. Holiday songs and ugly sweaters are optional, but highly encouraged.