Entertaining over the holidays is all about hospitality.
And part of being a good host often includes preparing a range of inviting holiday cocktails. If you've never tended bar before, don't sweat. We'll bring you a few of the tastiest recipes we think will be a hit at any party.
Best of all, they won't require a lot of prep time or expertise. Just a few simple ingredients combine for a refreshing drink. Whether you want to sip and socialize or catch a buzz, you'll find some great options in the list below.
The Most Inviting Holiday Cocktails for Your Seasonal Gatherings
It's the time of year that folks around the world are looking for some warmth and togetherness. For many of us, that includes some of our favorite wines and spirits.
Holiday cocktails allow us to experiment and elevate that concept into something that truly does the season justice. And it really doesn't take any extra effort to perfect this part of your plans. Keep reading for a few of our favorites, along with simple steps to serve them up just right.
1. Santa's Sleigh
If you love eggnog, you'll really get a kick out of the first in our list of favorite holiday cocktails. Not only is it delicious, it's easy to prepare. You'll want to start out with a few items in addition to the eggnog, which makes the base of this great drink.
First grab some coarse sugar crystals. You'll use these to dip the rims of your cocktail glasses into. Dampen the glass first to make sure the sugar sticks. Then add a half cup of brandy and a half cup of amaretto liqueur to two cups of the eggnog.
Combine all of that in a blender with two scoops of vanilla ice cream. After it's smooth, pour it into a cocktail glass. Garnish it with a dash of nutmeg and add a cinnamon stick for added flavor and color.
2. Champagne Cocktail
Champagne is a great addition to almost any celebration. But during the holidays, you might want to spruce things up a bit. And this unique take on a classic drink will do just that.
With just a few simple ingredients, you'll have some refreshing and special drinks ready for your guests. Start with a bottle of your favorite Champagne. Make sure it's ice cold before mixing with the other ingredients. Pick up a bottle of Angostura bitters along with four sugar cubes. Add a lemon twist for extra flavor and garnish if you like.
The only tricky part includes putting a sugar cube over the opening of the bitters bottle. As you turn the bottle up, the sugar will absorb the liquid. Then take that infused cube and drop it into your Champagne flute. Simply fill the rest up with the bulbbly stuff and enjoy. The lemon twist adds a new dimension sure to please even the pickiest guests.
Nothing says a refreshing warm Christmas treat like a nice cup of cocoa. But if you've outgrown hot chocolate, here's something that can bring it all back to you. Plus, you'll get a bit of a kick out of this understated adult beverage. There are a few steps to this one, but we think it's worth it.
Grab some almond milk, cocoa powder and cinnamon to start. You'll also want some chili powder and cayenne pepper to spice it up. Then agave nectar or honey will give you some sweet relief. Paprika and a cinnamon stick will garnish the final product. And the spirits come in the form of an ounce of your favorite silver tequila.
First, heat the cocoa, cinnamon, chili and cayenne in a pan over low heat. When you start to smell the good stuff, whisk in 3/4 of a cup of the almond milk. Then raise the temperature of your stove top to between medium and high. At that point, you can mix in your sweetener. Remove that concoction and set it to the side while you put some paprika on the rim of a mug. Pour the tequila in, then top it with the cocoa. Add a cinnamon stick and you're ready to enjoy one of the hottest -- and tastiest -- of all holiday cocktails.
4. Buttered Apple Cider
Another holiday staple is apple cider. And like cocoa, it can easily be translated to an adult beverage. Whether it's been years since you've had a glass or you have it every year, this one's special. Better yet, you don't need to be a mixologist to create a perfect mug.
Just start off by mixing a stick of butter and a quarter of a cup of light brown sugar. Soften it up until you can combine them easily. You can mix in your favorite spices. We recommend cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Don't melt the butter completely, though. You'll take the resulting product and roll it into a straight line in a piece of plastic wrap.
Cut it into six pieces and keep it in the fridge for about an hour. Meanwhile, put three cups of your favorite apple cider into a slow cooker. When it's been warming on high for about an hour, retrieve the butter. Line up six mugs and first pour in a shot of bourbon into each one. Top that with the hot apple cider mixture. A slice of the seasoned butter will finish it off with a richness fit for the season.
5. S'mores Delight
If the best holiday cocktails bring you back to your childhood, this might be the king of them all. Most of us remember making s'mores. But as adults, we can have all of that fun with a shot of spirits, too.
The simple steps to creating this tasty treat start with a tablespoon each of peanut butter and chocolate syrup. Liquor comes in the form of a half ounce each of dark rum and vodka. Add another small shot of your favorite coffee flavored liqueur. The finishing touches will come from a splash of milk, ice, and of course some toasted marshmallows.
Start with a large glass and mix the peanut butter with chocolate syrup in the bottom. Follow that by adding your liqueur to the mix. Put in the pair of liquors along with the milk (or almond milk, if you prefer). Shake that all up very well with the ice and make sure it's extremely cold. You can remove the ice and pour it into a martini glass. Toast a few small marshmallows or a couple of large once for an unforgettable garnish.
Not all drinks that make great holiday cocktails are unique to the season. Some classic drinks make a perfect addition just the way they are. One of our favorites is the Cosmopolitan. All it takes is just a few easy steps with a handful of ingredients.
Start with vodka to give this drink its kick. With one cup of the spirit, add half a cup of triple sec and half a cup of cranberry juice. Keep some fresh squeezed lime juice on the side for a splash of flavor.
Take all of the liquids and put them in a shaker along with some ice. Shake it up well until it's frothy and delicious. Strain that into martini glasses and you'll have four expertly mixed Cosmopolitans.
7. Star Anise And Cinnamon Beer
Fancy holiday cocktails are great. But there's definitely a place at the table for good old fashioned beer. Well, maybe this one is spruced up a bit. But it's sure to hit the spot for any lager lover at your holiday gathering.
Since it's based on beer, you'll want to start with a favorite lager. Heineken works well, but you can decide for yourself. Other ingredients include four cinnamon sticks, four star anise pods and a cup of sugar. Add one cup of water to the star anise, cinnamon and sugar in a saucepan. Warm that over medium heat until it starts to boil.
At that point, you can reduce the heat and let it simmer as you stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. take that off of the heat and let it cool for about an hour. You can then strain the sugary sweet mixture and pour it into a serving pitcher. Leave that in the fridge until you're ready to pour it into glasses. The final step is adding in your favorite beer and stirring it all together to a delicious froth.
8. Candy Cane Cocktail
We'll end our list of favorite holiday cocktails with an unmistakable flavor of the season. If you love candy canes but want to enjoy them in the form of an adult beverage, you're in luck. Best of all, those flavors mingle together perfectly in a drink that takes no time to prepare.
Start with a shot of vanilla rum. Add a shot of peppermint schnapps and mix in a shot of chocolate liqueur. Put all three spirits in a shaker with some ice and mix it up well.
Pour it into a martini glass, and you're done. But we also recommend garnishing these drinks with an actual candy cane. You'll probably be surprised how closely this drink mimics the taste of the popular Christmas peppermint candy.
Staging the perfect gathering requires everything to come together.
But we think that perfection is overrated. In reality, you're better off making your guests comfortable. And there are few better ways than preparing some excellent holiday cocktails.
We hope our guide has helped inspire your next event. If so, share this article with the entertainers in your life. And leave us a comment below if you have any final thoughts or questions.
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