Cocktail & Other Recipes Occasion Winter

10 Essential Cocktails for Your December Parties

Green Holiday. Image: Tim Nusog

December might be chock-full of holiday festivities, but it’s also just a great time to get together and reflect on the year that’s passed and the year that’s to come. Whether you’re celebrating with a big group of friends or a small group of loved ones, raise a toast to good times with these 10 cocktails.

  • Bourbon Old Fashioned

    Tim Nusog

    Cozy up with this straightforward take on the ultimate classic cocktail. The mix of sugar, bitters and bourbon is simple but also delicious and uniquely complex. Just be sure to use good bourbon, because the spirit is the star in this drink’s simplicity.

  • Champagne Cocktail

    Champagne Cocktail.

    Celebrate the holiday season all month long with this simple and sparkling sipper. A glass of bubbly is always a good idea this time of year, but dropping a bitters-doused sugar cube into the flute helps raise it to new levels.

  • Lights Out Punch

    Tim Nusog

    This punch requires a little bit of planning, but the result is well worth the effort. The key ingredient is tea-infused vermouth, which comes to life when mixed with reposado tequila, apple cider and spices. A fruit-filled ice block and fizzy water keeps the whole batch cool as the crowd sips.

  • Plum Toddy

    This fruity spin on a Hot Toddy helps bring the classic cocktail into modern times. Plum liqueur and bitters get warmed up when topped with warm water, and a cinnamon stick adds a subtle spice to the sweetness.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • Butter “Nut” Craig

    Tim Nusog

    Bring the flavors of a rich holiday side dish into your cocktail glass. Dark rum, orange liqueur, a homemade butternut squash base, simple syrup and bitters combine to make a sweet cocktail that’s brought to new heights when served in a cinnamon-sugar-rimmed glass.

  • Roman Holiday

    Roman Holiday. A.J. Trela

    Get two buzzes for the price of one in this unique caffeinated cocktail. Amaro, Campari, pineapple juice, lime juice, cold-brew coffee, demerara syrup and sea salt may seem like an unlikely combination, but they all work beautifully when shaken and strained over crushed ice.

  • Ruby Chai Appletini

    Two infusions of chai help make this Appletini very distinguishable from its neon-green cousin. Gala apple is muddled, then shaken with cha-infused vodka, chai-infused cider, and agave nectar until frothy. Garnish with an apple slice and enjoy the last little bit of fall.

  • French Martini

    French Martini. Tim Nusog

    Stir up this fruity spin on a classic Martini whenever you’re in the mood for something that’s a little fancy. Vodka gets a touch of sweetness from a shot of pineapple juice, while crème de cassis adds a light creaminess. Shake it all with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • Last-Minute Mulled Wine

    Running short on time? No worries. This mulled wine recipe can be whipped up in minutes, perfect for surprise guests or impromptu get-togethers. Fruity red wine, bourbon or brandy, plus star anise, lemon peel and sugar are all you need. Just cook on low until warm, let stand for a few minutes so the flavors meld, and enjoy garnished with cinnamon sticks.

  • Tom & Jerry

    Make a batch of homemade Tom & Jerry batter now so you can enjoy this hot cocktail all month long. The sweetly rich batter tastes delicious when mixed with dark rum, cognac, and hot whole milk. Top it all with ground nutmeg, clove and allspice for an extra pop of holiday spice.