Cocktail & Other Recipes Occasion Winter

11 Essential Cocktails for Your December Parties

Fun cocktails for the festive season.

Brandy Alexander
Brandy Alexander Image: / Tim Nusog

The last month of the year deserves to go out with a bang. And in these parts, that means it deserves to go out with a lot of good drinks. Whether you’re celebrating the plethora of holidays that happen around this time of year or you’re just looking for something good to drink as the nights turn cold, you’re sure to find the perfect drink among these 11 cocktails.

  • A La Louisiane

    A La Louisiane cocktail / Tim Nusog

    The former house drink of La Louisiane in New Orleans, this classic features herbal flavors that provide a spin on the Vieux Carré. While the cocktail’s flavors are complex, its preparation is relatively simple: Rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, Peychaud’s bitters and a few dashes of absinthe are stirred with ice, then strained into a coupe and garnished with a maraschino cherry.

    Get the recipe.

  • Ginger Fever Punch

    Ginger Fever Punch

    This seasonal stunner features tequila that has been made winter-friendly thanks to the addition of pomegranate juice and homemade goji-ginger syrup. The mix gets a hit of brightness from lime and grapefruit juice, and a top of ginger beer brings it all together. Serve garnished with pomegranate seeds, sliced grapefruit and a rosemary sprig.

    Get the recipe.

  • La Violetta

    La Violetta cocktail

    This wine-based cocktail is ideal for festive Sunday brunches—floral, botanical and earthy all at once. Shake London dry gin, crème de violette and lemon juice with ice, then double-strain into a coupe, top with lambrusco and add a dehydrated lemon wheel for an elegant presentation. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Añogo

    Jonathan Fong

    It’s the season for Eggnog, and this recipe adds some excitement to the traditional mix. Añejo tequila adds a unique baked agave flavor to creamy homemade Eggnog, while a small splash of amontillado sherry balances it out with a hint of nuttiness. Serve over ice garnished with a flamed orange peel.

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    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • Colony Records

    Colony Records cocktail / Tim Nusog

    This holiday season, don’t just eat your cranberries—drink them too. This recipe lets you do exactly that. Single-barrel rum brings complexity to fresh grapefruit juice and cranberry syrup, while a couple dashes of Angostura bitters add winter spice notes. Garnish with a grapefruit twist to hint at the bittersweet flavors that lie within.

    Get the recipe.

  • Coquito

    Coquito / Tim Nusog

    Rich, creamy, spiked and sweet, Coquito is just what you need all winter. Warm sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, cream of coconut, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg until they’re heated through, then remove from heat and stir in your choice of white, añejo or spiced rum. Bottle it with cinnamon sticks and store it in the fridge so you can pour a drink whenever you’d like.

    Get the recipe.

  • Champagne Cocktail

    Champagne Cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Sometimes the simplest cocktails are the most festive, and the classic Champagne cocktail is a great example. Something about the mix of sugar, bitters and Champagne fizzing in a glass helps to bring a little party to even a relaxed night in. Don’t forget to garnish with a lemon twist for extra flair.

    Get the recipe.

  • Mantra

    Mantra cocktail

    Tep Bar

    Even if you’re not traveling this month, you can take your winter festivities to Thailand with this unique Negroni variation. Mekhong (or spiced rum) shines when it’s teamed with Dolin rouge sweet vermouth and ginger-infused Campari. Garnish with a medjool date for a bite of sweetness. 

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    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • Perfect Pear

    Perfect Pear cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Bubbly and holiday pear flavor come together in this elegant tipple. Just shake London dry gin, St-Germain, lemon juice, simple syrup and pear puree vigorously with ice, then double-strain and top with a splash of Champagne. 

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  • Holiday Cheer

    Holiday Cheer cocktail / Tim Nusog

    This cocktail isn't your ordinary vodka-cran. In this drink, muddled cranberries and vodka get topped with tonic water and sparkling cider, then garnished with a rosemary sprig, for a sip that will bring the holiday cheer and so much more.

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  • Brandy Alexander

    Brandy Alexander / Tim Nusog

    Curl up on colder nights with this classic recipe. Though it has been around for a while, it’s just what you need to warm up. Shake cognac with dark crème de cacao, cream and ice until it’s smooth and creamy, then strain and serve garnished with a sprinkle of grated nutmeg.

    Get the recipe.