The holidays just wouldn’t be the same without some luscious libations to share with friends and family, so here’s a list of festive drinks that are sure to please everyone on your list.
1. Candy Cane Martini
Sweet and minty, the Candy Cane Cocktail/Martini blends strawberry or pomegranate vodka with cranberry juice and crème de menthe for a cool, refreshing winter pick-me-up. If you’d like to get all fancy-pants with it, consider crushing some candy canes and tossing the resulting dust with red sugar crystals (normally used for decorating cookies) to rim your cocktail glasses with before pouring. For a “virgin” version, just blend cranberry and strawberry juice with a few drops of mint extract.
2. Cranberry Mimosa
Also known as Poinsettia Mimosas, this cheerful little cocktail is a festive alternative to the classic breakfast mimosa recipe. You can make these with the traditional champagne and Triple Sec, or create a non-alcoholic version with carbonated apple juice and orange or cherry syrup. Note: the alcohol-free version is a great treat to make kids feel special on Christmas morning—serve it up in plastic champagne flutes (like the kind that come with picnic sets), toss in some maraschino cherries, and watch smiles light up around the table.
Glögg (say it aloud a couple of times just for fun) is a hot spiced wine that’s a traditional yuletide drink in Scandinavian countries. Wine and brandy are mixed together and warmed in a pot on the stove. To that, you add cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, orange peel, apple slices, whole cloves, and sugar, and let it simmer for 40 min or so to let all the spicy flavours develop. Depending on how much brandy you add to it, this drink can pack quite a kick. If you’d prefer a non-inebriating version, use apple cider instead of wine, and skip the brandy.
4. Pomegranate Punch
Limeade and Prosecco team up to create this sparkling, beautiful punch. Pomegranates are stunning indulgences during the holiday season, and their tart juice pairs wonderfully with sweet bubbles. Just empty a bottle of Prosecco (or another sweet sparkling wine) into a glass punch bowl, and add in the limeade, pomegranate juice, and either orange or cranberry juice. Float some lime slices and whole pomegranate seeds on top, and dip in! For a kid-friendly version, swap out the Prosecco in favour of carbonated white grape juice.
5. Hot Buttered Rum
Memories of rural England come to mind with every sip of this drink. Butter (or Earth Balance for a vegan version) is blended with brown sugar or maple syrup, and a pinch each of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. This mixture is refrigerated until set, and then a couple of tablespoons are ladled into each mug. 2-3 oz of dark rum is then added (or more…I’d say fill the mug halfway), and then boiling water is poured in to melt the buttery mixture and heat up the lot. This is a ridiculously strong, calorie-laden drink that’s sure to knock out even the most obstinate uncle.
6. Irish Coffee
The perfect way to start a holiday morning: a good, strong cup of coffee with a shot of Irish whiskey, some brown sugar, and lightly whipped cream. If there’s a long day full of dealing with relatives ahead, you might as well fortify yourself nice and early.
7. The Reindeer Caesar
For those of you who like more savoury drinks, there’s always the Reindeer Caesar: it starts off like a regular Caesar—with Clamato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and a dash of hot sauce (try Sriracha!)—and then you just add extra celery, maybe a lettuce leaf, and some nutmeg to make it more “festive”. Hey, after you’ve knocked a few back, you’ll find a way to re-name just about anything to make it Christmassy.
8. Angel Kisses
The holidays are usually rife with angels of all shapes and sizes, so raise a toast to these celestial spectres with an Angel Kiss Cocktail. Made with crème de cacao and heavy cream, this isn’t a drink for dieters: it’s creamy and sweet, and downright sinful. Note that despite the word “crème” in the title, crème de cacao is actually vegan (there’s no dairy in it: the creaminess is in reference to the texture, not the ingredients), and you can easily substitute coconut cream for the dairy. Top the lot with your favourite whipped topping and a cherry, and slurp away.
9. Super-Festive Hot Chocolate
Is there anything more warming to the soul than a mug of hot cocoa? Wrapping your hands around a steaming cup of sweet chocolate-y goodness after being out in the cold is absolutely glorious, and there aren’t many people who don’t love this wintertime indulgence. By making your own, you can adjust the sugar content to suit your own tastes, and you can dress it up as you like by adding whipped toppings, chocolate shavings, or peppermint schnapps.
10. Hammered “Tool Man” Taylor
I can’t think of a single person who doesn’t have a favourite holiday movie, be it A Christmas Story, Gremlins, How the Grinch stole Christmas, or the Santa Clause. If your favourite is the last one on that list, you’re in luck: there’s a special drink waiting just for you. Absinthe and orange bitters meet simple syrup and either crushed ice or water for a libation that’s sure to leave you seeing elves.
Featured photo credit: Classical martini in chilled glass via Shutterstock