The second Halloween ends, we’re ditching our windbreakers for ugly Christmas sweaters. It’s officially the holiday season. To help usher you through late fall into Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the way to New Year's Day, we curated a list of the best, most festive cocktails to make or order. Here, the 10 best cocktails that’ll keep you warm, merry and ready to tackle anything the holiday season brings you.
10 Cocktails to Get You Through the Holiday Season
Take advantage of farmers markets hawking fresh-pressed apple cider—you’ll need it for this delicious fall punch, which tastes great hot or cold. No straight-from-the-orchard apple cider near you? This Bourbon Apple Cider tastes nearly as good, and it’s made with the store-bought stuff.
Embrace the savory side of pumpkin with this autumnal take on a Margarita—a nod to the fruit’s Mexican heritage. Smoky mezcal combines with cinnamon syrup, citrus, rich pumpkin butter and a salted rim for a satisfying drink that’s not too sweet or indulgent, leaving plenty of room for dessert later.
A tall pint of ale is appetizing after a long day of holiday activities, but an entire punch made with beer really hits the spot. The Yuengling- and brandy-based Strong Ale Punch is malty, spritzy, and extra refreshing with a homemade cinnamon-orange sherbet. It’ll pair beautifully with a whiskey-soaked pecan pie.
Cognac or Brandy
When you add a whole stick of butter to anything, you know it’s gonna be good—just ask Paula Deen. Hot Buttered Rum is a no-brainer, easily made in a crock pot with ingredients you definitely have at home—brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. It’s a hearty, drinkable delight that’ll keep you warm all holiday season.
The holiday season is unfortunately synonymous with flu season, but there may be a way to avoid the plague: booze. While the Hot Toddy has science-backed superpowers for warding off a cold, you may want to switch it up with a switchel, also known as “Nature’s Gatorade.” The switchel contains electrolyte-packed apple cider vinegar, spicy ginger beer, bourbon and our favorite wintertime sweetener, maple syrup. It’s just what the doctor ordered.
This cocktail uses entire slices of pumpkin pie for a sweet liquor infusion, so try to save a few slices of your holiday dessert to make the flavored rye. You’ll be rewarded with a pumpkin-y, espresso-based cocktail that will be a go-to, post-dinner drink long after pumpkin-mania has died down.
Pumpkin Pie Rye
Cranberries are both a fall and winter staple, destined to be used in a tasty cranberry sauce for all your holiday meals. But what to do with the leftovers? Chuck them into a cocktail, of course. This tequila cocktail mixes your leftover cranberry sauce with tart blood orange juice, lightly bitter Aperol and Champagne, making an economical, fruity and festive spritzer.
Blood orange juice
Spend the day hitting the ski slopes (or snow-tubing down the hill in the backyard) and then cozy up with this spiked hot chocolate. While hot chocolate tastes amazing with just about any liquor mixed into it, this drink follows the French tradition of spiking hot cocoa with green chartreuse. The addition of peppermint schnapps makes an even better fireside sipper, especially when the drink is garnished with marshmallows and a candy cane.
To get through all the shopping, present wrapping and party prepping, you’ll need a kick of caffeine. But don’t waste your time in long lines waiting for an artificially flavored beverage at Starbucks—prep your own Gingerbread Latté at home, mixed with a shot of brandy for good luck. Bonus: The gingerbread syrup you’ll prepare for this cocktail makes for a simple, cheap and thoughtful holiday present for anyone on your list.
Hosting a holiday party of any kind requires masterful multitasking, so you can’t be expected to stop, drop and shake anytime someone wants a cocktail. Instead, throw some dry red wine, brandy, spices and citrus into a crock pot before guests arrive, and then forget about it for the rest of the night. The big batch will stay warm throughout the party, and guests can easily serve themselves a glass of cheer without ever bothering you.
dry red wine