9 Cocktails to Celebrate the Holidays
From family gatherings to festive get-togethers and gift exchanges, the holiday season is filled with lots of party planning opportunities. If you’re hosting a gathering this year, you’re probably thinking of the holiday décor, food and—everyone’s favorite party item—cocktails!
To ensure you’re spending more time with friends and family and less time in the kitchen preparing drinks, consider this party planning trick: batching cocktails.
Batch cocktails—cocktails made by the bottle or in a pitcher for bigger crowds—can be prepared ahead of time and chilled, so you don’t have to shake, stir and serve drinks to guests individually. And while batching cocktails is pretty straightforward, there are a few steps to keep in mind to ensure you’re creating the best versions of your holiday drinks.
How to make your own batch cocktails
Break down recipes into proportions for easy batching.
Instead of trying to turn fractions of ounces to cups, break down the cocktail recipe according to the ingredient ratio. For example, let’s say a drink has an ingredient list of 1 oz. vodka, ½ oz. lemon juice and ½ oz. sparkling water—that comes out to a ratio of 2-1-1.
Base your batched version on this ratio to easily translate cups, liters or pints.
Consider how you’ll keep your holiday cocktails cold.
Most individual cocktails are made with ice, whether by shaking, stirring or pouring over. This not only chills the drink but helps dilute the strength and sweetness of it.
To account for this when making your holiday cocktail into a large batch, have an ice bucket out and have guests mix ice in their drinks themselves. Or, mix the batch cocktail with pre-chilled spirits and alcoholic drinks (which, as long as it’s not a liqueur or wine, can go in the freezer to prolong the chill).
Add the freshly squeezed juices and sparkling mixes the day of your event.
While we’re all for prepping ahead of time, some things need to be reserved for the day of the party. If your cocktail calls for fresh lemon juice or fruit juice, be sure to add it a few hours before your event to preserve the fresh flavor and prevent prolonged oxidation.
Bubbly items should also be added the day of to prevent your cocktail from going flat.
9 Easy Holiday Cocktail Recipes for Your Next Celebration
For a holiday cocktail with vodka, look no further than the ultra-popular Moscow Mule. This Moscow mule recipe gets a holiday twist with the addition of tart cranberry juice and festive garnishes.
Light, sweet and bubbly, the French 75 is a great holiday cocktail to prepare in a large batch, and it would work for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s parties.
Serve in a pitcher or punch bowl next to a variety of garnishes—cranberries, pomegranate arils or rosemary sprigs would add a beautiful pop of holiday color—for guests to top off their own drinks.
For a delightfully simple but equally delicious option, try this cranberry-drenched sipper.
With only a few ingredients, this is something that your guests can even assemble themselves! Just prep the cranberry juice, apple cider and garnishes ahead of time and set a bottle of bubbly (or soda water for a nonalcoholic option) next to the mixture.
While this isn’t a negroni sbagliato with prosecco in it, it is still a delicious twist on a classic negroni that’s sure to surprise and delight your guests this holiday.
Warm flavors from the addition of chai tea and cinnamon sticks complement the gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, making it a perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas cocktail.
The beauty of this spiced, “Fall In A Glass” cocktail is that it’s meant to allow your guests to serve themselves!
Served in a punch bowl or pitcher, this adults-only punch can be prepped ahead of time—just leave the garnish until just before you’re ready to serve. And while the ingredients call for either vodka, brandy or bourbon, give your guests the gift of customization by offering them their choice of liquor.
Nothing says “Christmas Cocktail” quite like homemade eggnog!
This adult-only eggnog features rum, but it can be omitted if you prefer a nonalcoholic version. While this cocktail does have egg in it (no surprises there), it’s ok to store this drink in the fridge overnight. In fact, it actually helps the rich flavor develop and meld together.
The bold crimson color of this drink adds a beautiful pop of color to your tablescape and is sure to get your party going this holiday season.
This recipe balances tart fruit juice flavors with the smooth sweetness from a honey simple syrup—making it a delicious holiday drink for those who prefer lighter and more refreshing cocktails.
This nonalcoholic holiday drink is sure to warm you from the inside out—and as an added bonus, it will make your house smell wonderful with scents of warm apples, cloves, cinnamon and oranges.
Keep this simmering in a crockpot for guests to ladle throughout your holiday event. You can even make it boozy by adding rum, brandy or bourbon once the cider is hot. Just be sure to serve it immediately, as continuing to simmer it will cook out the alcohol.
For a nonalcoholic drink for your holiday party, hot chocolate is always a fan favorite. This rich, creamy hazelnut variation takes it up a notch with a mix of whole milk, cream and, of course, hazelnuts. Keep it warm by simmering it in a stockpot over your stove or in a crockpot.
You can also spice things up with a bit of chili powder, cinnamon, sea salt or a splash of vanilla extract—or make a spiked version with the addition of peppermint schnapps or an Irish cream liqueur.