Cocktail & Other Recipes Occasion Winter

11 Essential Cocktails for Your December Parties

These drinks will make your festive season even more fun.

Winter Sour cocktail / Tim Nusog

The last month of the year deserves something special. And when everything is decorated with glittering lights and fueled with the hope of a new year around the corner, why wouldn’t you want your cocktails to match the atmosphere? We have all the cocktails you’ll need for your December parties, from a warming Irish Coffee to a frothy and festive Winter Sour. No matter what you choose from these picks, just know you’ll be drinking your way to the new year in style.

  • Uncle Angelo’s Eggnog

    Uncle Angelo's Eggnog / Tim Nusog

    Take your typical December Eggnog up a notch with this recipe from King Cocktail himself, Dale DeGroff. Each batch of this fluffy, creamy concoction makes 12 servings, so it’s perfect for a crowd, whether you’re hosting family or friends. While the initial prep is a bit of a process—you have to beat the egg yolks with sugar, stir in the other ingredients, then beat the egg whites separately and carefully fold them into the other mix—it’s well worth it. The resulting creamy, perfectly-spiced cocktail just needs a little sprinkling of nutmeg to bring it over the edge. 

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  • Buena Vista Irish Coffee

    Buena Vista Irish Coffee / Tim Nusog

    Warm up by the fire with this classic caffeinated drink. There are many tall tales associated with the Irish Coffee’s origins, but the most credible version gives credit to Joe Sheridan. It was the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco that truly perfected the recipe, serving more than five million over the past four decades. Perfect proportions and a small serving size help the drink stay deliciously in balance.

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  • Whisky Skin

    Whisky Skin cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Warm up with this simplified and traditional take on a Hot Toddy. Perfect for all the purists out there, this recipe takes the Toddy back to its roots. No spices, no honey, no cider, nothing unnecessary in sight. Instead, the simple mix of boiling water, a bit of demerara sugar, a sliver or lemon peel, and a generous glug of scotch whisky are all you need to create this straightforward and warming cocktail, perfect for sipping after spending time shoveling snow. Or just traipsing through the flurries.

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  • Colletti Royale

    Colletti Royale cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Put wintry blood oranges to good use with this December-appropriate take on the Margarita. Bartender Julie Reiner, co-owner of cocktail bars Clover Club and Leyenda in New York City, is to thank for this drink. Of course, it has the key players you’d expect in a Margarita variation: reposado tequila, Cointreau and fresh lime juice. They’re elevated into something totally new, though, with the addition of St-Germain, blood orange juice, orange bitters, and chilled rosé Champagne, rendering a drink that’s floral, surprisingly complex, and totally quaffable. 

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  • Añogo

    Jonathan Fong

    San Francisco cocktail pioneer H. Joseph Ehrmann brings a new spin to Eggnog with this recipe. While Ehrmann lets the blend of añejo tequila and amontillado sherry age together for three months before using it in the drink, it’ll work just fine if you mix them as you’re whipping up a batch of Añogo. Homemade Eggnog base lends a rich and creamy sweetness to the booze, while a flamed orange peel garnish brings it all together with a toasty citrus flavor.

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  • Blue Blazer

    Blue Blazer / Tim Nusog

    The ingredients in this classic concoction may be simple—cask-strength scotch whisky, sugar, and boiling water—but this drink is recommended for advanced home bartenders only. Why? Because the mix is lit on fire and poured (or “thrown”) between two mugs, while the fire not only provides a good show but also caramelizes the sugar, leading to a richly flavored warm winter drink. 

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  • Spiced Rum Milk Punch

    Spiced Rum Milk Punch / Tim Nusog

    Created by New Orleans bartender Abigail Gullo, this recipe hews closely to the original version of the drink, dating back to the 1600s. Gullo combines spiced rum, milk, simple syrup, and vanilla extract, shaking it all up and garnishing it with a dusting of freshly grated cinnamon and nutmeg for an ideal winter-spiced nightcap.

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  • Boozy Hot Chocolate

    Boozy Hot Chocolate / Tim Nusog

    The name says it all: Simply combine chopped bits of semisweet chocolate, heated milk, and the spirit of your choice (you really can’t go wrong with whatever you choose, although we’d suggest rum or even green Chartreuse) to produce this delicious dessert drink. Don’t forget to top it off with a pile of mini-marshmallows for the most decadent treat.

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  • French Connection

    French Connection cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Like this cocktail’s sibling, the Godfather, this is a simple two-ingredient drink. While the Godfather calls for whiskey as its base spirit, this elegant rendition employs cognac instead, combining it with amaretto. ​​More than the mere sum of its two parts, in this drink the cognac provides a bright and fruity base that harmonizes seamlessly with the amaretto liqueur’s trademark fruit and almond notes. 

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  • Apple Toddy

    Apple Toddy / Tim Nusog

    Not every drinker will be willing to bake apples in order to make a warming winter tipple, but going that extra length will get you a wonderfully flavorful and fragrant classic cocktail. Muddle half a baked apple with sugar, then stir in boiling water and the spirit of your choice (applejack, cognac, or bourbon) and top it with grated nutmeg, and you’ll be glad you took the time to bake those apples.

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  • Winter Sour

    Winter Sour cocktail / Tim Nusog

    When a cocktail is described as a sour, it's saying more than just that the drink will make you pucker up. Sours follow the same template, bringing together spirit, citrus, sweetener and sometimes an egg white to make a simple but delicious drink that hits all the right notes. In this low-ABV version from San Francisco bartender H. Joseph Ehrmann, Campari, Meyer lemon juice, honey syrup, egg white, and rosemary come together to make a sour that’s bitter, sweet, silky, and perfect for the season.

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