7 Festive Cocktail Recipes You Need To Try This Holiday Season

best holiday cocktail recipes

Photo by A Beautiful Mess

It’s officially the holiday season! For kids, that means lots of caroling and gifts. For grown-ups (well, people old enough to step foot inside a liquor store legally), it means one too many boozy holiday parties. Regardless of whether you’re hosting or attending this year’s soirées, you’ll need a handful of festive cocktail recipes in your back pocket because, unfortunately, Franzia is no longer an acceptable contribution. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to holiday cocktail preparations, we’ve got you covered. These seven cocktails mix tradition with some surprising ingredients that’ll keep your friends guessing and coming back for more. Cheers!

1. Simple Holiday Mulled Wine

Is it really a holiday party if mulled wine doesn’t make an appearance? This festive drink dates back to 2nd Century Rome when Romans would drink heated wine to defend their bodies against the cold. Nowadays, the classic cocktail is a little more sophisticated. This mulled wine recipe from Food52 calls for combining a red wine of your choice with apple cider, honey, cinnamon sticks, star anise, sugar and other spices. You can have it ready in less than 30 minutes and greet your friends with it at the front door.

2. Cranberry Pomegranate Margarita With Spiced Rim

Just because it’s no longer summer doesn’t mean you have to give up your weekly dose of margaritas. This margarita recipe from A Spicy Perspective gives the classic hot-weather cocktail a wintry twist. It’s made with cranberry-pomegranate juice, tequila, lime juice and orange liqueur. And instead of garnishing the rim with traditional salt, this recipe calls for flavoring the salt with Old El Paso Taco Seasoning before adding it to the rim.

3. Cranberry Spiced Hot Toddy

When hot tea just isn’t enough to warm you up, it’s time to switch to a hot toddy. Traditionally, this winter cocktail combines bourbon, lemon, honey and hot water all in one steamy mug. But this recipe from A Beautiful Mess gives a festive twist to the classic cocktail by adding a homemade cranberry spiced honey syrup to the mix. The syrup is made by combining honey, water, fresh cranberries, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, star anise and whole cloves.

4. Orange And Vanilla Hot Buttered Rum

best holiday cocktail recipes

Photo by Garrett McCord

If you’ve never heard of Hot Buttered Rum, here’s the lowdown. It’s made by combining rum with butter, water, sugar and cinnamon and served hot. This Hot Buttered Rum recipe from Simply Recipes adds a festive twist to the drink by incorporating orange zest, vanilla extract, ginger and nutmeg. Bring it to your next holiday party and watch as the air fills with the aroma of cinnamon, orange and vanilla. Yum.

5. “The Dude” White Russian Floats

This indulgent twist on the classic White Russian cocktail is made by combining just three ingredients: vodka, Kahlúa and ice cream (yes, you read that right). Traditional White Russians are made using heavy cream and ice, so swapping those two ingredients for ice cream isn’t so crazy after all. This cocktail recipe from A Spicy Perspective recommends using vanilla ice cream if you’re looking to keep that traditional White Russian taste, but you can also use other flavors like chocolate if you want to experiment. Fun fact: The drink gets its name from “The Dude” in “The Big Lebowski” who always had an iced White Russian in hand.

6. Apple Cider Sangria

best holiday cocktail recipes

Photo by Smitten Kitchen

Apple cider is our go-to drink when the weather gets cold, so it’s only natural that we’d incorporate a spiked version in our holiday cocktail roundup. This one from Smitten Kitchen is a little fancier than your typical spiked apple cider, so it’s sure to impress at your next holiday get-together. The recipe calls for combining fresh apple cider with a dry white wine of your choosing, apple brandy, triple sec, diced multi-colored apples and seltzer water.

7. Champagne Spritzer

If you’re hosting New Year’s Eve this year, you’ll want to have this Champagne spritzer recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking in your toolbelt. It’s super simple: Just mix pomegranate juice with champagne or prosecco, St-Germain liqueur and sparkling water and add some pomegranate seeds for the final touch. It’s sophisticated and sexy, and it’ll help you ring in the new year in style when that clock strikes midnight.


This Old School Hot Chocolate Recipe Will Send You To Cocoa Nirvana

These Are The Best Holiday Items At Trader Joe’s Right Now

7 Non-Alcoholic Cocktails To Serve At Your Next Dinner Party