2020 was the year I discovered my inner bartender. Bored in quarantine and trying to find ways to look forward to the weekends, I up and decided to learn how to make the fancy cocktails I always ordered at restaurants and bars and began posting myself making them to Instagram. “Let’s Make a Drink” was born and I continued it on for months every weekend. Now it is a fun pastime I love to enjoy when friends are over or inspiration strikes on the weekend.
For me, Christmas drinks are a way to enjoy the festive times of the season. I have so many happy memories with my family drinking holiday cocktails on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and Christmas Day. I love to play bartender for friends & family and make easy holiday cocktails that feel festive but also aren’t overly complicated to make.
Easy Holiday Cocktails
I dreamt up – and then experimented – with two easy recipes that were festive takes on favorite, classic drinks of mine for this blog post: The Kir & The Old Fashioned. These cocktail recipes are both simple to make, taste delicious and don’t stray too far from the original. But they are different enough to help you taste a bit of the holiday spirit.
I hope you’ll give these drinks a try and let me know if you do! I’d love to hear if you enjoy them!
The Christmas Kir:
A kir royale is one of my favorite celebratory drinks and my mom, sister & I all drink it on Christmas Eve usually. My Christmas Kir version adds a more seasonal touch with the addition of elderflower and a bit of cranberry pomegranate alongside the traditional Creme de Cassis.
I am a huge fan of Saint Germain so I always love any opportunity to be able to use it! And truly you can’t get more festive than a drink with French champagne – there’s just something about bubbles, right!?
- 2oz Cranberry Pomegranate Juice
- 1 oz Creme de Cassis
- Saint Germain Elderflower Liquor
- French Champagne
Combine juice and Creme de Cassis in a pan on the stovetop on Low-Medium heat. Bring to a boil and then simmer until thickened and reduced to about 2 oz. Let cool.
Pour .5oz cooled syrup into champagne coups. Add a splash of Saint Germain (to taste). Top with chilled champagne. Top the cocktail with rosemary garnish if desired. Want to get even fancier? You could dust your rosemary with a bit of simple syrup and sugar to make it appear “frosted”!
The Festive Old Fashioned:
An old fashioned is my Winter go-to but I wondered if it could be made more seasonal for the holidays and it turns out a mellow spiced simple syrup gives it the perfect, subtle festive touch. I also recently had an Old Fashioned in The Berkshires that featured Chai Simple Syrup and it was divine! That would be a really fun way to make a cozy beverage to sip by the fire.
- 2oz Cranberry Pomegranate Juice
- 2 TBSP honey (less if you prefer less sweetness)
- 1 TSP vanilla
- 4oz Good Bourbon (I like Woodford)
- Orange Bitters
Make the spiced simple syrup. Combine juice, honey & vanilla in a pan on the stovetop on Low-Medium heat. Bring to a boil and then simmer until thickened and reduced to about 1 oz. Let cool.
Combine 4 oz bourbon, 1oz of your spiced syrup and 3-5 dashes of orange bitters in a cocktail mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until cold and then strain into glasses.
Add orange slice or cranberry garnish and serve. I also think a cinnamon stick garnish would be so cute for this one!
. . .
Do you have a favorite holiday drink? A few other holiday drinks you may want to try? I suggest:
- Mulled Wine
- Hot Toddy
- White Russian
- Peppermint Martini (use a candy cane garnish!)
- Spiked Hot Chocolate. You could try a Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix and then add a bit of Bailey’s or rum. Plus how cute are these Candy Cane Stirrers to add to a festive drink!?
I hope you’ll try these holiday cocktails at your next Christmas party or holiday parties – let me know what you think of them!
And as you begin to prepare your menu – don’t forget about beautiful barware. I find a lot of mine at Crate & Barrel. And if you really want to level up your bar game – don’t forget to have either Crushed Ice or Large Ice Cubes on hand! They are game changers.