Editors' Favorite Holiday Cocktails

Jazz up any holiday gathering with one of these spirited cocktails recommended by our editors.

  • Happy Elf
    Photo: Howard L. Puckett; Styling: Lindsey Ellis Beatty

    Happy Elf

    Why should Santa be the only one who gets a treat on Christmas Eve? He can have the milk and cookies; we want to share this colorful cocktails with his favorite toy makers.
  • Cranberry Kir Royale
    Photo: John Autry; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross

    Cranberry Kir Royale

    Leftover cranberry sauce helps concoct a lightly sweet homemade cranberry liqueur in this twist on a classic French cocktail. Allow four days to steep the liqueur. Garnish with cranberries, if you like.

  • Capital Eggnog
    Photo: Ralph Anderson; Styling: Buffy Hargett

    Capital Eggnog

    Trim the tree and get in the holiday spirit with a cup of homemade Capital Eggnog. No other drink quite epitomizes the holidays like eggnog. Cheers!
  • Milk Punch
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Cindy Barr; Leigh Ann Ross

    Milk Punch

    This old-fashioned drink is reminiscent of decadent egg custard. You can easily double or triple the speedy recipe to serve a bigger crowd.

  • Christmas Blossom

    Christmas Blossom

    Though you might not think of peaches when it comes to Christmas cocktails, prepare to be pleasantly surprised. Mix frozen peach slices, ice, sugar, vodka, and peach schnapps in a blender until smooth for a smooth, creamy drink with a uniquely refreshing flavor.
  • Merry Cranberry Margaritas
    Photo: Andrea M. Gómez; Styling: Miranda Jones

    Merry Cranberry Margaritas

    Who says margaritas are just for summer? Celebrate the holidays with this festive frozen drink featuring both cranberry juice cocktail and fresh cranberries. Reserve some of those fresh berries to make a simple garnish.

  • Sparkling Chimayó Cocktails
    Douglas Merriam; Jan Gautro

    Sparkling Chimayó Cocktails

    Mix it up by moving away from classic Christmas liquors like brandy and rum in favor of tequila. For these Southwestern-inspired cocktails, mix gold tequila with sparkling apple cider and sparkling water. To finish it all off, crème de cassis (a black currant-flavored liqueur) lends a sweet, delicate balance to the drink.
  • Egg Nog

    Egg Nog

    This holiday season, just say "no" to the dairy case and whip up your own homemade egg nog. Super easy to make, this concoction combines eggs, sugar, and milk to form a thick, creamy base. Once thickened, add Christmas cheer with brandy, rum, and vanilla. Fold in whipped cream and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg
  • Candy Cane Martini
    Photo: Howard L. Puckett; Styling: Lindsey Ellis Beatty

    Candy Cane Martini

    We dare you-- look at this cocktail and try not to fall in love. Raise a glass and toast friends and family this holiday season.

  • Champagne Pomegranate Cocktail
    Randy Mayor

    Champagne Pomegranate Cocktail

    Pomegranates add festive color and great flavor to any cocktail. Create a sparkling celebration by combinating tart pomegranate juice with spicy ginger ale, a little brandy, and a bottle of bubbly Champagne.
  • Stone Fence
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro

    Stone Fence

    This take on the old New England drink features apple brandy rather than the usual rum. Substitute applejack or plain brandy, if you like.

  • Gingered Pear and Brandy Cocktail
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr, Jan Gautro, Leigh Ann Ross

    Gingered Pear and Brandy Cocktail

    This is a timely concoction for a party: Simply prepare the gingered sugar syrup (step 1), and refrigerate it until you're ready to shake and serve the cocktails.

  • Blood Orange Sangría
    Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Blood Orange Sangría

    Blood oranges are in season in December, which makes them a perfect fruit to toss into your next holiday sangría. This cocktail also calls for sliced strawberries, apple juice, triple sec, sugar, whole cloves, red wine, and cinnamon sticks, making for a smooth blend of sweet fruit and traditional Christmas flavors.
  • Pomegranate Gin Sling
    Photo: Jonny Valiant; Styling: Deborah Williams

    Pomegranate Gin Sling

    A classic gin sling is dressed for festive parties when made with seasonal pomegranate juice and decorated with crimson pomegranate fruit. Both simple syrup and agave syrup are widely available at liquor stores. To make your own simple syrup, boil 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, stirring just until sugar dissolves; reduce until thickened. Cool before using.

  • Cranberry-Whiskey Sour Slush
    Photo: Levi Brown; Styling: Tiziana Agnello

    Cranberry-Whiskey Sour Slush

    Is it a drink or dessert? Who cares? It satisfies both cravings. Our garnet-colored slush has all the qualities of a delicious cocktail--a not-too-sweet combination of high-quality liquor and fruity tang.
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