Cocktail & Other Recipes Occasion Winter

11 Cocktails to Make for the Holidays

They’ll bring the holiday spirit(s).

West 75th
West 75th Image: / Tim Nusog

The holiday season is always an exciting time. The stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve brings plenty of gatherings with friends and family, gifts, and festive food and drinks. This roundup of standout recipes can help with that last part. 

While traditional eggnog and mulled wine are always solid choices for holiday celebrations, it’s nice to shake things up every now and then—and you’ll find plenty of options on this list. With large-format drinks like the Ginger Fever Punch and spins on classics like the Cranberry-Ginger Mimosa, these 11 options will suit every type of festive evening you’ll enjoy from right now on through the new year.

  • Brandy Alexander

    Brandy Alexander / Tim Nusog

    One of the earliest known printed recipes for the Alexander can be found in Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 book Recipes for Mixed Drinks. The recipe called for gin, which was later swapped out in favor of brandy. In this version from the late, beloved Gary Regan, the drink is kept from leaning too sweet by placing the brandy solidly in the spotlight, with dark creme de cacao and cream playing supporting roles.

    Get the recipe.

  • Spiced Apple Cider

    Spiced Apple Cider / Tim Nusog

    In the colder months, nothing warms quite like fresh apple cider—especially when heated, infused with an array of winter spices, and spiked with a hit of bourbon or calvados. This recipe is easy to assemble on the stovetop and makes enough to warm a small gathering of family or friends.

    Get the recipe.

  • Stranger in the Alps

    Stranger in the Alps cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Clear Creek Douglas Fir brandy lends its wintery flavors to this cocktail by Nashville bartender Matthew Tocco. The drink tastes like a Christmas tree in a glass, in the best way possible, making it ideal for sipping at all your holiday celebrations. Just a rinse of the spirit and the addition of a little gin helps to infuse the recipe with pine notes. Bump it up with an intense sweet vermouth, Campari, and amaro, plus a little salt, and you have a Negroni variation that you’re never going to want to put down.

    Get the recipe.

  • Espresso Martini

    Espresso Martini Cocktail / Tim Nusog

    This 1980s classic is currently more trendy than it’s been in several decades, and its sweet, boozy, caffeinated punch is perfect for holiday-time get-togethers. Just shake together vodka, coffee liqueur, simple syrup, and freshly brewed espresso to make this wildly popular nightcap. 

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    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • Tom & Jerry

    Tom & Jerry Cocktail

    David Wondrich

    This English beverage has roots that stretch back to the 1820s, and it’s just as delicious now as it was back then. This mix of rich batter, dark rum, boiling water, milk, and spices is so perfect it’s well worth the caloric indulgence, especially during such a celebratory time of year.

    Get the recipe.

  • Ginger Fever Punch

    Ginger Fever Punch

    Shawn Chen, the beverage director at Decoy and RedFarm in Manhattan, created this seasonal tequila-based stunner with flavors that include pomegranate and ginger, which he describes as the “ultimate holiday cocktail made to please a thirsty crowd.” The recipe makes one serving, but it can be scaled up to fill a punch bowl to please a thirsty crowd. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Porto Flip

    Porto Flip / Tim Nusog

    This rich and luscious drink combines the cold-weather favorites of cognac, fruity ruby port, and a touch of yellow Chartreuse with heavy cream and a whole egg. It all gets shaken to a fluffy froth, then served up and topped with freshly grated nutmeg.

    Get the recipe.

  • Cranberry-Ginger Mimosa

    Cranberry-Ginger Mimosa / Tim Nusog

    Holiday brunches are practically begging for an updated morning drink, and this Mimosa spin is the answer. Start with sparkling wine, then add a splash of ginger beer for spice and cranberry juice for seasonal flavor. It’s an easy twist that lets you start off your morning right.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • Spiced Eggnog

    Spiced Eggnog Cocktail
    Jeffrey Morgenthaler

    If you’re looking to elevate your usual holiday eggnog, try this version for Portland, Oregon, bar legend Jeffrey Morgenthaler. The mix of brandy, spiced rum, sugar, eggs, whole milk, and heavy cream is so delightfully rich that it's not merely something to sip while opening gifts; it’s an entire experience in itself.

    Get the recipe.

  • Golden Cadillac

    Golden Cadillac cocktail / Tim Nusog

    This 1970s favorite, a combination of Galliano, white creme de cacao, and heavy cream, is a perfect holiday-seasons nightcap. Its rich, herbaceous mintiness is exactly what your winter evenings want, and the festive sprinkle of chocolate shavings topping the drink just screams “celebration time!”

    Get the recipe.

  • West 75th

    West 75th / Tim Nusog

    This festive drink brings together the best of a French 75 and a New York Sour to create a drink you’ll want to sip all holiday season. Calvados forms the boozy base that mixes with sweet raspberry syrup and lemon. Add some bitters and top it with lambrusco for bright effervescence. 

    Get the recipe.