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Best cocktails for every winter holiday party

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5 Festive Cocktails for Every Winter Holiday Party

November 22, 2019

With the holidays just around the corner odds are you'll be hosting a festive bash chez toi at some point between now and New Year's Eve. Sure, you can pop open some festive fizz and keep a few bottles of wine stashed on the countertop, but we can all agree there's something celebratory about a great cocktail. These bright, festive crowd-pleasing cocktails are perfect for mixing up in large batches to keep glasses filled as you raise a toast (and toast again) to the holidays.


Cherry Mulled Wine

When December rolls 'round, the time is right for warming yourself from the inside out with a little mulled wine. Opt for an inexpensive bottle of unoaked fruity red (think Rhone blends, Zinfandel, Grenache) – you definitely do not want to waste a good bottle of wine here. The spices will cover up any of the complexity. A generous helping of Cherry Heering, a cherry brandy, gives this mulled wine a tasty twist. Expecting quite a few thirsty guests? Just double up the recipe.

  • 1 bottle red wine
  • ½ cup Cherry Heering
  • 3 tangerines, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 9 cloves
  • 3 whole star anise
  • ¼ cup sugar*
  • Nutmeg for grating

Pour the wine and cherry liqueur into a large pot over a very low heat. Add in the spices, sugar, lemon, and tangerines, peels and all. Cover and stir occasionally making sure not to let the liquids come to a boil. This would lead to the alcohol cooking off which would be a travesty. After 45 minutes, turn off the heat, ladle the mulled wine into mugs, and finish it off with a grating or two of nutmeg.

* Add more if you prefer a sweeter mulled wine.

Coconut Hot Buttered Rum

Forget eggnog. No holiday get-together is complete without a few steamy mugs of hot buttered rum. While the classic recipe is perfection, if the winter blues have you down, inject a tropical flair to your festivities by infusing your hot buttered rum with coconut.

For the Butter:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground clove
  • ½ tsp allspice

For the Cocktail:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 ½ oz rum
  • ½ oz coconut liqueur
  • Boiling water

In a large bowl, mix the butter, sugar, and spices. Once well combined, scoop the mixture out of the bowl onto a plate then form into a log shape. Pop it in the fridge to set.

When it's time to assemble the cocktails, boil some water. Put one tablespoon of butter into a mug. Pour in the rum and coconut liqueur. Top off with boiling water and stir well to dissolve the butter. Grate with a little extra nutmeg and enjoy your toasty mid-December tropical treat.

Ginger Apple Cranberry Punch

Everyone loves punch, and this delicious ginger apple cranberry punch is a wintery winner. A little sweet, a little tart, a little spicy, and plenty boozy, this punch is easy to throw together in a pinch.

  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 ½ cup cranberry juice
  • ½ cup apple brandy
  • ½ cup ginger beer
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • Fresh cranberries
  • Ice cubes

Pour vodka, cranberry juice, apple brandy, and ginger beer into a large pitcher. Mix gently. Place ice in individual punch cups and pour the punch into each glass. Garnish with a few fresh cranberries and a slice each of apple and lemon.

Champagne Cocktail

Sometimes nothing beats a classic, and while the old-school Champagne cocktail is gorgeous year-round, there's something so lovely about sipping on one while watching the snowfall outside. You can play around with different variations as well. Swap the cognac for apple brandy or Poire Williams for a whisper of fruit flavor in your Champagne cocktail. You could also skip the sugar cube and add a sweet fruit liqueur instead. Orange is a delectable choice, but if you like nutty flavors, you can't go wrong with Frangelico.

  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • ¾ oz cognac
  • Champagne to top
  • Orange slice
  • Maraschino cherry

Dash the bitters onto the sugar cube then drop it into a flute. Pour in the cognac then slowly add the Champagne until the glass is filled. Add the orange slice and maraschino cherry to garnish.

Smoky Boulevardier

A fireside twist on another classic, this Boulevardier recipe substitutes peated scotch for bourbon, adding a smoky layer to this tasty tipple. Look for examples from Islay, the peat capital of the scotch world. Distilleries to look for include Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Bruichladdich, and Ardbeg to name a few.

  • 1 ½ oz peated Scotch
  • ¾ oz Campari
  • ¾ oz sweet vermouth

Pour the ingredients into an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Stir gently. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice, curl up next to a roaring fire and enjoy.

Written by Camille Berry for Knockaround.

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