10 of the Most Festive Holiday Cocktails to Help You Celebrate the ~Spirit~ of the Season

Holiday parties are by far my favorite of the year (sorry, Halloween), and I'm bummed that this year I won't be sporting my festive candy cane striped suspenders and Santa hat among friends and family. Since spiked eggnog from the college fraternity or alcoholic hot chocolate from your neighbors might not be happening this year, here are a few holiday drinks that'll make you feel fancy schmancy, even on your own. Turn on Elfget the cookies in the oven and start mixing!

1. Salty Karen

By Daniel Urrea, Lola 42

Salty Karen - Holiday Cocktail Recipe Photo by Ovi Mustea

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Vanilla Rum
  • 0.5 oz Espresso
  • 0.5 oz  Hazelnut Liquor 
  • 1 oz White Chocolate liquor 
  • Caramel and Salt Rim 

Instructions

Add all ingredients on a shaker with ice and shake it until well combined with a smooth flavor. Pour in Flute glass rimmed with caramel sauce and salt.

2. Time for Cheer

By Cassandra Rosen, Tussock Jumper Wines

Time for Cheer - Holiday Cocktail Recipe Photo by Cassandra Rosen

Ingredients

  • 4 oz Tussock Jumper Moscato
  • 1 oz pear nectar
  • ½ oz cranberry simple syrup
  • Garnish with fresh mint, lemon wheel 

Cranberry simple syrup

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • ½ cup water

Instructions

Put the cranberries in a small saucepan; add 2 tablespoons sugar and ¼ cup warm water. Cook over low until syrupy and thickened, about 10 minutes. Strain, and refrigerate until serving.
 
To make the drink, pour ½ ounce of cranberry syrup into a shaker with ice, and add the pear nectar. Shake for one minute, strain into a coupe glass (it will be slightly foamy on top). Gently pour the Moscato into the glass. Garnish each with mint and lemon.

3. Oh Tanenbaum

By Ute Londrigan, Heimat New York

Oh Tannenbaum - Holiday Cocktail Recipe Photo by Ute Londrigan Ingredients

  • 2oz Heimat New York Cranberry 
  • 1oz white rum
  • 6oz eggnog

Instructions

Add liqueur and rum into a clear mug or glass. Slowly add the eggnog and stir if desired.

4. Boozy Bananas Foster Shake

By Melissa Tavss, Tipsy Scoop

Tipsy Scoop Boozy Bananas Foster Cocktail - Holiday Cocktail Recipe Photo by Melissa Tavss Ingredients

  • 2 scoops Tipsy Scoop Boozy Bananas Foster Ice Cream
  • 2 oz Blue Chair Bay Spiced Rum
  • 2 oz Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum Cream
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Garnish with banana slices, sprinkles, cherry gummies, whipped cream

Instructions

Drizzle a large parfait glass with caramel, set aside. Place the ice cream and rums in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into prepared glass, top with all garnishes. 

5. Cranberry Old Fashioned

By Daniela Romania, Lola 42

Cranberry Old Fashioned - Holiday Cocktail Recipe Photo by Ovi Mustea Ingredients

  • 2 oz Bourbon 
  • 0.5 cranberry infused simple syrup
  • 3 dashes of bitters  
  • Garnish with cranberries and orange

Instructions

Peel in a mixing glass add the ingredients with ice - stir and pour in a rocks glass with ice and garnished with fresh cranberries and an orange peel.

6. Vanilla Coffee Old Fashioned aka The Overachiever

By Apartment Bartender + Essentia Water

Courtesy of Essentia Water

Ingredients

  • 2 oz bourbon of choice
  • 1/2 oz  vanilla syrup (can sometimes find pre-made / pre-batched vanilla syrup from Monin)
    • 2-3 vanilla pods (vanilla extract as a last resort)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup Essentia water
  • 1 oz fresh espresso (brewed with Essentia Water)
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters

Instructions

Vanilla Syrup Instructions: In a medium saucepan, bring all ingredients to a light simmer until vanilla starts to release aroma. Stir to dissolve sugar (no need to bring to a boil). Set aside and let cool. Strain into a glass jar and save in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. 
 
Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass, and stir with ice. Strain the drink into a rocks glass over ice, and garnish with an orange twist

7. Hope and Sparkle

By Cassandra Rosen, Tussock Jumper Wines

Hope and Sparkle - Holiday Cocktail Recipe Photo by Cassandra Rosen Ingredients

  • 4 oz Tussock Jumper Prosecco, chilled
  • ½ oz limoncello cream, chilled
  • ½ oz elderflower liqueur
  • Garnish with lemon leaf, raspberry

Instructions

Place the lemon cream liqueur into a flute glass, top with Prosecco. Garnish and serve. 

8. Sleigh The Season

By Cassandra Rosen, Tussock Jumper Wines

Sleigh the Season - Holiday Cocktail Recipe Photo by Cassandra Rosen Ingredients

  • 4 oz Tussock Jumper Moscato Rosé
  • 1 oz dry orange liqueur
  • 1 oz raspberry liqueur
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • 5 strawberries sliced, 1 whole reserved

Instructions

Muddle the orange and raspberry liqueurs, strawberries, lime juice, and mint in a shaker. Strain well into a tall glass. Fill with ice, top with Moscato Rosé, and garnish with a strawberry and mint. 

9. Holiday Coquito Float

By Melissa Tavss, Tipsy Scoop

Tipsy Scoop Blue Chair Coquito Cocktail - Holiday Cocktail Recipe Photo by Melissa Tavss Ingredients

  • 1 scoop Tipsy Scoop Coquito Ice Cream
  • 2 oz Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum Cream
  • ⅛ tsp Cinnamon
  • For rim: shaved white chocolate and coconut flakes
  • Garnish with a yummy fruit wedge

Instructions

Rim the top of a rocks glass with white chocolate and coconut. Place one scoop of ice cream into a glass, top with the coconut rum cream. Sprinkle with cinnamon, garnish with gummy fruit.

10. Tom Collins aka The Essentia(l) Spritz

By Apartment Bartender + Essentia Water

Tom Collins - Holiday Cocktail Recipe Essentia Water + Mixologist Apartment Bartender Ingredients

  • 2 oz clear spirit of choice, like gin or vodka
    • Brewed green tea as non-alcoholic option
  • 1 oz  lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz - Spiced-cranberry syrup
    • 1 cup fresh cranberries
    • 1 cup Essentia water
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
    • 2 whole clove (optional)
    • 2 star anise (optional)
    • 2 oz - soda water (or sparkling wine)

Instructions:

In a medium saucepan, bring all ingredients except sugar to a light simmer until spices start to release aromas and cranberries start to split. Add sugar and stir to dissolve (no need to bring to a boil). Set aside and let cool. Strain into a glass jar and save in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Combine all ingredients, except for the soda water, into a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Strain the drink into a Collins glass over ice, and top with soda water. Gently stir to combine and garnish with speared cranberries and a rosemary sprig.

I hope you'll enjoy these recipes alongside holiday hits, twinkling lights, and lots of love and laughs!

P.S. If you don't have these ingredients, hot chocolate from the Keurig and peppermint Schnapps will do!