12 Festive Holiday Cocktails to Shake up for Your Gathering

spiced persimmon bourbon old fashioned.

Half Baked Harvest

The holidays are a time for family, food, gratitude, and—depending on who you ask—cocktails. While the turkey and sweet potatoes tend to get the spotlight for a few cold-weather holidays, almost everyone can appreciate a handcrafted festive cocktail to complement their traditional feast. It can be tempting to default to wine, but offering your services as a bartender for the evening will add that extra personal touch to your gathering.

Whether you're feeling experimental or traditional this season, there's a cocktail recipe to please every palate. Load up your bar cart with the essentials, and get mixing.

Spiced Persimmon Old Fashioned

Spiced persimmon Thanksgiving cocktail
Half Baked Harvest

The Cocktail: Spiced Persimmon Old Fashioned

Why We Love It: Everything about this spiced persimmon old fashioned from Half Baked Harvest screams fall. The drink is made from a mixture of spiced maple persimmon purée, bourbon, clementine juice, sparkling water, and bitters.

Pro Tip: Simply quadruple the recipe to make a pitcher large enough for your guests to serve themselves.

Apple Cider Rooibos Hotty Toddy

Apple Cider Rooibos Hotty Toddy
Minimalist Baker

The Cocktail: Apple Cider Rooibos Hotty Toddy

Why We Love It: Serve up Minimalist Baker's apple cider rooibos hotty toddy after your feast to give your guests a spicy, warm drink to cap off their meal. It's prepared with apple juice, rooibos tea, ginger, cinnamon, and a bit of bourbon. The great thing about this cocktail is that you can easily adjust the recipe to make it a mocktail perfect for serving those who aren't drinking, as well as the little ones.

Pro Tip: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper for heat, as an option.

Fall Punch

Fall Punch with bourbon and cinnamon
Hello Glow

The Cocktail: Fall Punch

Why We Love It: For a beverage that's perfect for serving up to thirsty guests, try Hello Glow's fall punch recipe. For those who like to imbibe without the added sugars, it boasts a low-calorie count to balance out the main event. Simply combine apple and hard cider with sparkling water and lemon juice in one large batch.

Pro Tip: Top each glass with a cinnamon stick to keep it festive.

Bourbon Bomber Cocktail

Bourbon Bomber Cocktail
A Healthy Life for Me

The Cocktail: Bourbon Bomber Cocktail

Why We Love It: Apple, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger flavors all come together in this bourbon bomber cocktail from A Healthy Life for Me. Top the concoction with a sprig of rosemary to give it a seasonal fragrance and to make it look as good as it tastes.

Pro Tip: If rosemary is too pungent for you, sub it out for a few apple slices instead.

Maple Pumpkin Steamed Almond Milk With Bourbon

Maple Pumpkin Steamed Almond Milk With Bourbon
Food Faith Fitness

The Cocktail: Maple Pumpkin Steamed Almond Milk With Bourbon

Why We Love It: You'll want to save Food Faith Fitness' maple pumpkin bourbon cocktail to pair with dessert, such as just about any pie. Prepare the unique beverage by whisking together warm almond milk, pumpkin, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and bourbon.

Pro Tip: Garnish with a dollop of whipped coconut cream.

Pomegranate Martini

Pomegranate Martini
Foodie Crush

The Cocktail: Pomegranate Martini

Why We Love It: This pomegranate martini from Foodie Crush looks as festive as it tastes. Combine vodka, orange liqueur, and seasonal pomegranate juice with a bit of lemon and rosemary to create this cocktail. For a little something extra, dress the rim in gold sugar.

Pro Tip: Feel free to serve over ice, if desired.

Horchata Margarita

Horchata margarita

Muy Bueno Cookbook

The Cocktail: Horchata Margarita

Why We Love It: Nothing says fall like a cinnamon-laced cocktail, like Muy Bueno Cookbook's horchata margarita. This dairy-free tipple is made from vanilla rice milk, a simple syrup of water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Then add tequila and a splash of almond liqueur to complete the cocktail.

Pro Tip: For a little something extra, rim the glass with raw sugar, and garnish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.

Homemade horchata is in reach with Muy Bueno Cookbook's recipe. As long as you have a blender, all you need is long grain rice, cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla extract, and a cheese cloth.

Smoked Whiskey Apple Cider Cocktail

Smoked Whiskey Apple Cider Cocktail
Salt & Wind

The Cocktail: Smoked Whiskey Apple Cider Cocktail

Why We Love It: A drink fit for the season, this Salt & Wind smoked whiskey apple cider will keep your guests warm and satisfied. Heat apple cider, apple, cloves, cinnamon sticks, orange slices, and honey on the stove before stirring in a lapsang souchong smoked tea. After you've strained the mixture, add rum, whiskey, or bourbon for a memorable festive cocktail.

Pro Tip: This cocktail is best served hot.

Whiskey Lemonade With Honey Simple Syrup

Whiskey Lemonade With Honey Simple Syrup
Foodie Crush

The Cocktail: Whiskey Lemonade With Honey Simple Syrup

Why We Love It: This whiskey lemonade from Foodie Crush is a versatile cocktail that easily becomes a mocktail or a batch drink for large crowds. Make your own simple syrup out of honey instead of sugar to combine with lemonade, soda, and your choice of steeped herbs. This fragrant cocktail will fit right in with the rest of your holiday offerings.

Pro Tip: Use whichever herbs you prefer, whether that's basil, rosemary, lavender, or mint.

Black Sage Cocktail

Black sage cocktail

Hello Glow

The Cocktail: Black Sage Cocktail

Why We Love It: This fruity yet coffee-flavored cocktail from Hello Glow is the perfect post-feast pick-me-up. This simple recipe calls for coffee liqueur, Black Raspberry Sparkling Ice, a bit of heavy cream, and sage for garnish.

Pro Tip: Carefully add cream just before serving.

Ruby Red Cherry Sangria Cocktail

Ruby red cherry sangria

Salt & Wind

The Cocktail: Ruby Red Cherry Sangria Cocktail

Why We Love It: Salt & Wind's version of sangria features cherries, making this versatile sipper "not-too-sweet, but potent." The cherry flavor comes through in the tart cherry juice, fresh sweet cherries, and cherry liqueur that the recipe asks for.

Pro Tip: Let sangria mixture sit for at least two hours before dividing into glasses, and topping with sparkling water before serving.

Winter Spiced Pear Cocktail

Winter spiced pear cocktail

The Every Hostess

The Cocktail: Winter Spiced Pear Cocktail

Why We Love It: Pear adds an unexpected but welcome flavor profile to The Every Hostess' holiday cocktail that's spiced with cinnamon and star anise. You'll make a spiced pear syrup, then shake it up with vodka (or tequila), lemon, and an egg white for froth.

Pro Tip: Garnish with star anise.

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