Holiday Cocktails & Mocktails

The holidays are here, and while that means excessive shopping, eating too much food, playing Santa, and spending time with those relatives you see once a year, it also means lots and lots of parties and get-togethers. Are you bored with your regular drinks? Why not kick them up a notch this year? Here are some of our favorite holiday cocktails and mocktails.


Cranberry Margarita
Let’s take this Texas favorite and make it holly and jolly. Really, you can make this using your favorite margarita recipe or margarita mix to start. Then, add frozen muddled cranberries in the bottom and a few whole cranberries as a garnish. Or you can go with the 3-2-1 rule:

3 oz. tequila
2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup
a splash of orange liqueur (optional)
frozen cranberries

Mash the cranberries in the bottom of your glass; add ice and the rest of your ingredients. Shake and add more cranberries as a garnish. To make a virgin cranberry margarita, use sparkling water, limeade, and orange juice in place of the tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup.


Christmas in a Cup
Pull out the crock pot because this hot drink will warm your belly and, as a bonus, make your house smell good. Thanks to ACMB editor Taylor for this recipe.

2 parts Angry Orchard Apple Cider
1 part Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey
Garnish with cinnamon sticks and sliced fruit
Heat and serve!

To make this as a non-alcoholic mulled wine, heat 2L white grape juice with mulled wine spices or cloves and cinnamon sticks, sliced oranges, and lemons. You can also heat apple cider and add the spices. This is a fun holiday treat for kids, too!


I will admit right now that I am not a fan of eggnog. I can’t even say that I have ever finished a glass. However, I know there are eggnog lovers out there. Those on our team love Alton Brown’s eggnog. For the eggnog mocktail, just omit the booze. You can play around with the milk and heavy cream a bit until it is to your liking.

Here is another ACMB eggnog favorite as well:

1 gallon vanilla ice cream
1 c. whiskey
1 c. rum
1 c. cold coffee
1 quart eggnog

Mix all of the liquids. Add half of the ice cream. Stir until melted. To serve, scoop ice cream in glass. Pour eggnog over ice cream. Yum!

Here are a couple of favorite from local San Antonio restaurants.


Winter is Coming (courtesy of Jacob Burris of Stay Golden Social House)

2 oz. rye whiskey
½ oz. orange liqueur
1 dash of chocolate bitters
Mint sprig for garnish

Stir ingredients in a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Speaking of “on the rocks,” have you tried a Sphere Ice Mold? Check it out. You will want to add it to your Christmas list.


Love Beat (Courtesy of The Brooklynite)

¾ oz. lime
¾ oz. simple syrup
2 oz. gin
2 pieces of cucumber and basil

Shake on ice, strain, and serve in a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with cracked black pepper, a dash of celery bitters, and a cucumber. That will shake up your ugly sweater party!


Champagne Bar
Being one for the variety and novelty that you can find on a good salad or ice cream bar, this is one of my favorite ideas. It takes a little preparation but leaves guests satisfied. Start with your favorite bottle of champagne—any sparkling wine will do. My favorite is an Italian Prosecco. A Spanish Cava is a good choice as well. It’s OK if it is flavored, but make sure it isn’t too sweet. You may want to get a bottle to try beforehand, just in case! Next, prepare the garnish line for your drink. Here are some ideas:

Lime wedges
Orange slices
Orange liqueur

Make sure the sparkling wine is really, really cold before serving. Then let your guests decorate their drink in a way that is festive to them. This is an easy recipe that can be made as a mocktail. Simply swap the sparking wine with your favorite sparkling flavored or plain water. (This is one of my favorite after dinner treats as well.)


What is your favorite holiday drink? Share the recipe in the comments!

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