The Most Festive Cocktails to Celebrate the Holiday Season

Toast the holidays with these cheerful drinks.

Toast the most festive time of year with a cheerful cocktail. Emma Burleigh for Observer

The holiday season is upon us, and what better way to get into the festive spirit than by sipping on a cheerful cocktail? Whether you’re throwing an elaborate holiday fête, hosting your nearest and dearest or just cozying up by the fire, a festive cocktail is sure to bring on all the bright and merry vibes. After all, it’s getting rather chilly out there, and why bother going out for a drink when you can whip one up without layering on your Arctic-ready winter coat?

If you’re not sure where to start with the most festive beverages, don’t fret—we’ve got you covered with all the best cocktails for the season, so you can kick back, relax and cue the Netflix holiday movies. There are joyful favorites like mulled wine, hot toddies and a good old fashioned spiked hot chocolate, as well as more elaborate drinks that feature everything from hints of gingerbread and peppermint to notes of cinnamon and cranberry. There are vodka and gin recipes, celebratory bubbly options and plenty of cozy and comforting delights. Below, see all the best holiday cocktails to make from now through the New Year.

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Hendrick’s Festivus Fizz.

Hendrick’s Festivus Fizz

Courtesy Hendrick’s Ambassador Vance Henderson

Ingredients:

2 parts Hendrick’s Gin
3/4 part fresh lime
1 part pink grapefruit syrup
1 dash cardamom bitters
Sparkling wine
Rosemary sprig, cucumber slices and cranberries, for garnish

Directions:

Combine all ingredients, except for the sparkling wine, in a cocktail shaker with ice; shake well. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, cucumber and cranberries.

RumHaven’s Havenly Nog.

RumHaven’s Havenly Nog

Ingredients: 

2 oz RumHaven
2 oz eggnog
Coconut flakes and cinnamon sticks, for garnish

Directions:

Add rum and eggnog into a cocktail shaker filled with ice; shake to combine and chill. Strain into a rocks glass with no ice. Garnish with toasted coconut flakes and a cinnamon stick.

Silver Peppermint Southside.

Silver Peppermint Southside

Ingredients:

1.25 oz Nolet’s Silver
.75 oz lime juice
.75 oz simple syrup
Peppermint leaves
Crushed candy canes

Directions:

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a crushed candy cane-rimmed martini or coupe glass. Garnish with a peppermint.

Lanesborough Mulled Wine Martini. David Cotsworth

Lanesborough Mulled Wine Martini

Courtesy London’s The Lanesborough Hotel, an Oetker Collection property

Ingredients:

30 ml Belvedere Vodka
25 ml Frangelico liqueur
50 ml mulled wine (1/2 liter Italian merlot, 1 orange peel, 1 lemon peel, 6 to 8 cloves, 5 to 8 star anises, 3 cinnamon sticks and 4 oz. maple syrup)
25 ml chocolate brownie tea
1 dehydrated orange slice

Directions:

First, prepare milled wine. Pour the Italian merlot into a pot and warm over medium heat. Add orange peel and lemon peel, cloves, star anises and cinnamon sticks, plus 4 ounces of maple syrup. Stir together and slow cook for about two hours. Once the mulled wine is prepared, build all ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir together and chill. Serve in a coupe or martini glass (without ice!) and garnish with a dehydrated orange slice.

Sipsmith Gin’s Hot Negroni.

Hot Negroni

Ingredients:

1 part Sipsmith London Dry Gin
1 part Campari
1 part sweet vermouth
Red berry tea
Dehydrated orange, for garnish

Directions:

Add gin, Campari and vermouth into a mug and stir. Top with hot red berry tea. Garnish with dehydrated orange.

Betty Buzz ABC Drink.

Betty Buzz ABC Drink

Ingredients:

1.5 oz bourbon
1/2 bottle Betty Buzz Ginger Beer
1 oz apple juice
Pomegranate seeds
Apple slices
Cinnamon stick and star anise

Directions:

Fill a glass with ice and add bourbon. Pour apple juice and Betty Buzz Ginger Beer into glass; stir gently. Add two generous handfuls of pomegranate seeds. Garnish with apple slices, cinnamon stick and star anise.

Rhubarb Pie Fizz.

Rhubarb Pie Fizz

Ingredients:

1/3 oz lemon juice
2 oz apple juice
Prosecco
Apple slices

Directions:

Add gin, lemon juice and apple juice into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to combine. Pour into a flute glass and top with Prosecco. Garnish with apple slices.

The Bisquit Eggnog. Sara Littlejohn

The Bisquit Eggnog

Ingredients:

1.5 oz Bisquit & Dubouché V.S.O.P.
.5 oz Cinzano Rosso Sweet Vermouth
.5 oz maple syrup
.5 oz heavy cream
1 egg yolk

Directions:

Add all ingredients, including egg yolk, to a shaker tin without ice. Then, add ice to fill the tin and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass or mug; garnish with grated cinnamon.

Christmas Cricket. Melissa Hom

Christmas Cricket

Courtesy Joann Spiegel and Nick Nemeth at Miracle on 9th Street.

Ingredients:

2 oz blanco tequila
1/4 oz vanilla liqueur
1/4 oz minty amaro (Branca Menta)
1 oz coco pandan
1 oz heavy whipping cream
4 dashes mole bitters

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with shaved chocolate.

The Busker Irish Coffee.

The Busker Irish Coffee

Ingredients:

1 part The Busker Irish Whiskey
1 part Tia Maria Coffee Liqueur
1 part coffee
Cream

Directions:

Add whiskey, coffee liqueur and coffee to a glass or mug; stir together. Top with cream.

Mumm Napa Cranberry Classic.

Mumm Napa Cranberry Classic

Courtesy Katie Stryjewski 

Ingredients:

4 parts Mumm Napa Brut Prestige
1 part gin
1/2 part lemon juice
1/2 part cranberry syrup
Cranberries and rosemary sprig, for garnish

Directions:

Combine gin, lemon juice and cranberry juice into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with cranberries and rosemary.

Grand Hot Chocolate.

Grand Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

1 1/2 parts Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
5 1/2 parts hot chocolate
1 1/2 parts whipped cream
Cayenne pepper
Salt
Grated nutmeg, for garnish

Directions:

Pour Grand Mariner into a hot toddy glass, followed by hot chocolate. Stir the mixture together. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt. Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Belvedere Hot Toddy.

Hot Toddy

Ingredients:

1 oz Belvedere Vodka
1.5 oz hot water
1 oz French fortified wine
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz honey
1 cinnamon stick
Fresh grated nutmeg
Orange wedge
Cloves

Directions:

Add hot water to heat-resistant glass mug, then add honey. Pour in lemon juice, wine and vodka. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and orange wedge; top with nutmeg.

818 Espresso Martini.

818 Espresso Martini

Ingredients: 

2 oz 818 Tequila Reposado
1.25 oz chilled espresso
.75 oz coffee liqueur
.25 oz cinnamon syrup
Espresso beans

Directions:

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake for 15 to 20 seconds, until foamy, and then strain into a chilled martini or coupe glass. Garnish with three espresso beans.

Fireside.

Fireside

Ingredients:

1.5 oz Grey Goose Vodka
1/4 oz maple syrup
2 sprigs rosemary
1 pinch of salt
2 oz freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice

Directions:

Add maple and salt to a rocks glass. Crush rosemary in the bottom of the glass. Fill with ice and add Grey Goose. Top with grapefruit juice; stir well. Garnish with another sprig of rosemary.

Grinch On Vacation. Natasha Velez

Grinch On Vacation

Courtesy Natasha Velez

1.5 oz Iichiko Saiten
.75 oz Midori
.75 oz yuzu juice
.75 oz simple syrup
Pear slices, cranberries and cinnamon, for garnish

Directions:

Add Iichiko, Midori, yuzu juice and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Pour into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with sparkling cider and garnish with cinnamon-dusted scalloped pear slices and cranberries.

The Hennessy Winter’s Spirit Cocktail.

The Hennessy Winter’s Spirit Cocktail 

Ingredients:

1.75 oz Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège
1.5 oz hot water
.15 oz sugar cane syrup
2 lemon supremes (wedges without peel, pith and skin)
1 thin slice ginger
1 orange twist

Directions: 

Mix Hennessy, sugar, lemon and ginger in a glass. Stir gently to allow sugar to dissolve. Top with hot water and garnish with orange twist.

Proper Mocha.

Proper Mocha

Ingredients:

1 oz Proper No. Twelve
.75 oz crème de cacao
.25 oz coffee liqueur
4 oz coffee
Whipped cream and cocoa powder, for garnish

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together in a footed glass. Top with whipped cream and garnish with cocoa powder.

Bayou Eggnog. Lucy Schaeffer Photography

Bayou Eggnog

Ingredients:

1.5 oz Bayou Spiced Rum
Eggnog
Nutmeg and a cinnamon stick, for garnish

Directions:

Pour rum and eggnog into a glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg and a cinnamon stick.

Celebration Martini. Eric Medkser

Celebration Martini

Ingredients:

1 oz Fords Gin
1 oz plum wine
.25 oz pear brandy
2 to 3 dashes fig bitters
Lemon, for garnish

Directions: 

Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice; stir until cold. Pour into glass of choice and garnish with a lemon twist.

Ashford Castle Mint Cracker Cocktail. Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle Mint Cracker Cocktail

Courtesy Ashford Castle in Country Cong, Ireland

Ingredients: 

50 ml Baileys
50 ml Caffe Borghetti Liqueur
5 ml Crème de Menthe Blanco
5 ml crème de Cacao
Shaved chocolate and French mint, for garnish

Directions:

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Serve in a coupe glass and garnish with shaved chocolate and French mint.

Icelandic Hot Chocolate.

Icelandic Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

1 1/2 parts Reyka Vodka
6 parts hot chocolate
3/4 part Ancho Reyes
1 dash angostura bitters
Mini marshmallows or whipped cream, for topping

Directions:

Add all ingredients into a hot toddy glass; garnish with marshmallows or whipped cream.

Holiday Spiced Tonic. Upstate Vodka

Holiday Spiced Tonic 

Ingredients: 

2 oz Upstate Vodka
1 oz St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur
Tonic
Jalapeño (cut into rounds) and sprig of rosemary, for garnish

Directions: 

Add pear liqueur and vodka to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously, until chilled. Pour over ice into a highball glass; top with tonic. Garnish with jalapeño pepper round and rosemary sprig. The Most Festive Cocktails to Celebrate the Holiday Season