How to Make Holiday Drinks With or Without Booze

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(image: Tim Nusog)

As the holiday season ramps up, chances are you’ll find yourself hosting a fete, dishing out appetizers and whipping up some fun, festive cocktails for your guests. But without fail, you’ll also need to provide libations for people who don’t or can’t drink booze, such as your pregnant best friend, a detoxing neighbor, underage revelers and teetotalers. But why subject them to boring soda when you can create a line up of beverages that taste amazing with or without liquor. For your next holiday party, try one of these five concoctions, and wow the whole crowd.

1. Smoky Limeade

Though one thinks of limeade and lemonade as summer drinks, bartender Camen Polcyn at Chicago’s Bar Toma, gives this tipple a wintery hint of rosemary and warming, smoky punch. You can spike the drink with tequila or mezcal, the latter adding even more smoky fun to the drink.

Get the recipe.

2. Pumpkin Spiced Latte

No matter how much we fight it, as temperatures drop, imbibers turn to pumpkin spiced lattes. But instead of heading to the coffee shop for an overly sweet version, use the slow-cooker recipe by bartender Norma Beekman of Lexington, Ky.’s Lockbox at 21c Museum Hotel Lexington, and make your own at home. Since the drink stays hot in the pot, serve it morning, noon and night. And for the boozy kick, you can spike it with a variety of spirits, such as dark rum, bourbon or Frangelico—the darker the better.

Get the recipe.

3. Christmas Punch

At the award-winning restaurant Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, lead bartender Dave Taha has created the ultimate holiday tipple that tastes good with or without booze. “This one reminds me of Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa’s,” says Taha. “The fresh ginger gives it a bit of zing, and the tart cherry adds depth and balance, while the allspice and nutmeg lend their holiday spirit.” Whether you decide to drink it clean or spiked, it’s surely going to get you in the festive spirit.

Get the recipe.

4. Smoked Honey Toddy

There are two ways to make this warming winter drink: One involves smoking your own honey, and the other involves a cheat and buying already smoked honey (a good option is Bee Local white oak smoked honey). Jon Feuersanger, the beverage director at beast + bottle and Coperta in Denver, created this hot tipple, and it’s perfect for drinking as the snow falls during your next civilized holiday get-together.

Get the recipe.

5. Muddled Pine

Nothing says winter holidays like a pine-themed drink. This one by bartender Carmen Polcyn at Chicago’s Bar Toma also utilizes cranberries and lemon, making it even more festive. Sip the nonalcoholic version all day, or make the cocktail at night for a cool, yet warming, seasonal tipple.

Get the recipe.

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