Festive cocktails make the season merry and bright


Festive cocktails can make any holiday dinner, gathering or celebration even more merry and bright. From a punch to a dessert cocktail, these cocktails are jolly.

While Santa might get milk and cookies, many people might prefer some festive cocktails to celebrate the season. From a nightcap by the fire to a cocktail for the big feast, holiday cocktails seem to be even more popular.

Casa Cider, photo provided by Casamigos

Since there are so many festive holiday cocktails that could be made, it is best to decide on a type or category of cocktails. For example if you are hosting a big group, a holiday punch can be a great idea. In lieu of cake or pie, a dessert cocktail might be a good choice.

Additionally, the cocktail should feature flavors and ingredients that you like. Even though it is the holidays, don’t serve an eggnog cocktail if you hate eggnog. The same can be said for liquors. If tequila brings back some un-festive memories, skip over that option.

In reality, all of these festive cocktails are quite yummy for the holidays or even just a special occasion. Even if you mix one up and it isn’t your favorite, all isn’t lost. Just try another one on the list. Don’t worry. It won’t get you on Santa’s naughty list.

NOLET’S Silver Holiday Hot Apple Cider photo provided by NOLET’S

Holiday Punch

Sometimes a holiday punch can be the simple solution to serving festive cocktails. Since the cocktail is one big batch, it keeps the host with family and friends instead of behind the bar.

If you are serving a holiday punch, make sure that you keep the ice separate. Putting ice in the punch bowl dilutes the punch, itself. No one wants a watered down punch or cocktail.

These two punch suggestions are very different. One is a warm punch that is perfect for a wintery day. The flavors of apple cider and spice is very comforting. The gin adds a nice botanical note to balance the sweetness.

"NOLET’S Silver Holiday Hot Apple Cider –Ingredients:• 1.5 oz. NOLET’S Silver Gin per cup• 1/2 Gallon Apple Cider• 3 cups Unsweetened Cranberry Juice• 1 sliced Orange• 1 sliced Lemon• 1 sliced Apple• 4 Cinnamon Sticks• 4 Cardamom Pods• 3 Star Anise Pods• 1/2 tsp. Grated Nutmeg• 2 inches sliced GingerMethod: Combine all ingredients (except Gin) in a slow cooker or large pot on stove. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to lowest setting/lowest flame. Can be kept warm for hours and will provide a wonderful holiday fragrance. To serve, ladle punch into a mug or teacup with 1.5 oz. of NOLET’S Silver Gin, and garnish with fruit slices, cranberries, cinnamon or star anise pods."

This holiday punch is a little sweeter. The biggest surprise in this holiday cocktail is the mint. The freshness from the mint is present, but not overpowering. Plus, with all the real fruit in this punch you feel good about getting a little extra fruit in your day.

"Holi-yay Punch (Serves 12)• Ingredients:• 2 bottles Smirnoff Ice Strawberry• 2 bottles Smirnoff Ice Original• 1.5 cups Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka• 4 cups Blood Orange Juice• 4 cups Pomegranate• 1/4 cup simple syrup – optional• 1/4 cup lemon juice• Sliced strawberries• Blood orange slices• Pomegranate arils• Fresh mint leavesDirections:First, mix everything together into a punch bowl or large pitcher, except Smirnoff Ice Original. Next, pour punch into glasses, top with Smirnoff Ice Original and garnish with mint leaves, pomegranate arils, strawberries and blood orange slice."

Cider Rekorderlig’s Cosy Spiced Pear Cocktail a.k.a “The Cosy”photo provided by Cider Rekorderlig

Cider cocktails

Cider, both apple cider and alcoholic cider, is a great choice for festive cocktails. The apple flavor has a broad appeal. More importantly, the apple flavor works well with various liquors and ingredients.

The key to a great cider cocktail is to keep the drink from becoming too sweet. Using warm spices can help. Also, bitters are always a good choice. That touch of herbal note can balance out any sweetness.

This first cider cocktail features an alcoholic cider. The addition of the pear puree is quite lovely. Pears and apple are a classic combination. Also, the addition to egg white adds a wonderful frothy texture.

"Cider Rekorderlig’s Cosy Spiced Pear Cocktail a.k.a “The Cosy”Ingredients:• 30ml spiced rum• 1.5 tsp of pear puree• 150 ml of Rekorderlig Apple Cider• Dash of bitters• 1 egg whiteMethod:Mix all of the ingredients except the cider together. Gently heat the cider and pour into the mixed ingredients. Gently stir and pour into an insulated glass. Garnish with a slice of pear."

This cider cocktail is a more traditional choice for a festive holiday cocktail. The big flavor comes from the apple cider itself. The bitters offset the slight sweetness from the agave. If you are a fan of margaritas, this cocktail will be right up your alley.

"Casa Cider• 2 oz. Casamigos Reposado Tequila• 1.5 oz. Apple Cider• 1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice• 1 oz. Agave Nectar• 2 Dashes Angostura• 1 Pinch CinnamonMethod: Combine all ingredients into tin shaker and add ice. Shake vigorously for 8-10 seconds then strain into rocks glass. Add fresh ice and garnish with thin apple slice, thyme sprig, star anise and cinnamon sprinkle. This cocktail can also be served hot."

This cider drink is a warm cocktail. It is like the best flavors of a warm apple pie. With the hint of citrus, there is a brightness to the cocktail that makes is even tastier. Plus, the apple slice on top can be your dessert. Wait till the cocktail is gone to enjoy the apple, after it has muddled all the cocktail’s flavor.

"Belvedere CiderIngredients:• 1.5 oz Belvedere Citrus• 5 oz Apple Hot Cider• Cinnamon• 6 Dashes Angostura Bitters• NutmegMethod: Combine all ingredients in glass. Garnish with cinnamon and nutmeg. Option to top with an apple slice."

Frostbite, photo provided by Casamigos

Dessert cocktails

The holiday season is all about indulgence. While Santa might enjoy his extra plate of Christmas cookies, some people might rather drink their desserts. Dessert cocktails can be some of the most festive cocktails of the season.

When thinking about a dessert cocktail, many of the flavors mimic both favorite desserts as well as popular seasonal flavors. Flavors like peppermint, eggnog and even chocolate are popular choices.

This first dessert cocktail is almost like a peppermint mocha, without the heavy coffee flavor. The coolness from the mint brings out the sweetness of the white chocolate. And, yes, the lime juice is needed. Don’t leave this key ingredient out.

"FROSTBITE• 1.5 oz. Casamigos Blanco• .75 oz. White Chocolate Liqueur• .25 oz. Crème de Menthe• 1 oz. Crème• .75 oz. Fresh Lime Juice• Top off with Whipped CreamMethod: Combine all ingredients into tin shaker and add ice. Shake vigorously and strain into champagne glass. Top off with whipped cream and garnish with crushed peppermint candy / rosemary sprig."

For some people, coquito is a must during the holidays. The classic drink is often featured during the Feast of the Three Kings and is quite popular in many Latin American holiday celebrations.

If you haven’t had coquito before, the flavor is slightly similar to an eggnog, but much tastier. The coconut isn’t overpowering, nor is the sweetness. It is a wonderful alternative to another slice of pie.

"BACARDÍ CoquitoIngredients:• 2 part BACARDÍ Superior Rum• 3/4 part of evaporated milk• 3/4 part of condensed milk• 1 part coconut creme (preferably Coco Lopez)• 1 tea spoon of vanilla extract• 1 pinch cinnamon• Garnish: coconut flakes & cinnamon sticksMethod: Shake all ingredients vigorously with plenty of ice and strain into a glass mug. Garnish with cinnamon and coconut flakes."

Related Story. Boozy holiday desserts are tasty. light

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Happy Holidays to everyone and cheers to you!