Joy in a Glass: Holiday Cocktail Recipes

Holiday Drink Recipe

By: Jordan Elizabeth

I love the idea of Christmas cocktails, but when it comes to actually making them, I’m left confused. Why do I need to buy 7 different kinds of special liqueurs to make one drink, which I then don't use the rest of the year? Whose idea was it to melt butter in rum and drink that? Why are we drinking melted butter, people?!

I prefer quick and easy drink recipes, especially when entertaining. But the time you make one drink that takes you ten minutes and 5 different liqueurs, someone else has downed there’s, then it’s a constant nightmare of whisking eggs and crushing candy canes for a peppermint rim (unless you're trying to hide from your family, then by all means, do the intricate ones!). As a seasoned quick-and-easy home bartender, here are some of my favorite seasonal recipes:

Mulled Wine

Okay, okay, I know homemade is “best,” but it’s also a pain in the butt. I like that the first ingredient in this one is “store bought cider.” If you want it to feel a little more homemade, spring for the local, organic cider at your grocery store. I also like that this serves 8, so you’re not making one at a time!

  • 4 c apple cider
  • 1 (750ml) bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon
  • ¼ c honey
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Orange, zested and juiced
  • 4 whole cloves

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes and serve hot.

Champagne Cocktail

Champs is always a crowd-pleaser because it makes you feel fancy. This recipe is an easy twist that makes it seem even more special for a holiday party, or even sitting at home watching “A Christmas Story” for the hundredth time.

  • 4 Sugar cubes
  • 1 bottle Angostura bitters (which if you don’t already have, you should, because lots of cocktails use them)
  • 1 bottle Champagne, cold

Lemon twists for garnish (optional, which means I don’t do it, because, if you can’t eat or drink it, what's the point?)

Take a sugar cube and put like 10 drops of bitters directly on it. Drop the cube into the bottom of a chilled Champagne flute, and then fill the glass with Champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist, if you want to really show off.

Easy Eggnog

This is my dumbed-down version of homemade eggnog, because I will never be whisking eggs and boiling milk just to have a drink.

  • 2 cups store-bought eggnog chilled (if you’re vegan, Silk now makes a dairy and egg free version!)
  • ½ c Brandy or Spiced Rum
  • ½ Amaretto (optional, otherwise give yourself another splash of Brand)
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Cinnamon stick to garnish

Candy Cane Martini

Nothing says "holiday" more than Martha Stewart and a candy cane in a glass! (Yay, edible garnish!)

  • 1 Candy Cane (you can crush it and rim the glass to be extra festive, or just put a mini candy cane in as a garnish to be just generally festive)
  • 2 oz Strawberry vodka (although regular vodka will work just fine, too)
  • 4 dashes white creme de menthe
  • 1 ½ oz cranberry juice

Throw the vodka, creme de menthe, cranberry juice with ice, into a shaker. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with miniature candy canes!'

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For more Drink Recipes, click here.


Jordan Elizabeth is a comedian, TV Writer/Producer, collector of hobbies, and master of putting off adulthood. She can be heard on the Podcast "3 Dudes and a Broad" and performs stand-up comedy with "Girls Gone Funny." She lives in Manhattan with her fiance and two dogs. Read more about her life at Jordie Elizabeth and follow her on Twitter at@JordiElizabeth.