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.
Gold Rimmed Coup Glass // Candy Cane Old Fashioned Glass // Similar Cocktail Mixing Glass & Strainer // Mixing Spoon
I loved and miss Let’s Make a Drink so am happy to see this post. I just tried a French 75 because of that series! Am looking forward to trying these, too!
Aw I’m so glad you’re a fan! Enjoy these two – they’re delish!
Wow, the first one looks so gorgeous in that glass!
And have you always had a sister?! I never remember you mentioning her before.
I had to have the glass after I spotted it! And ha – yes! But I keep mentions of my family to a minimum as they didn’t sign up to share their lives on the internet 🙂
I was literally just thinking to myself that I needed to get the things to make kir royale’s, and now I am definitely going to make your Christmas Kir!! Sounds so good, Meghan! Love this blog version of Let’s Make a Drink! 🙂
Perfect timing!! So hope you enjoy it!
Love this holiday Let’s Make a Drink! You introduced me to Kirs this year and I love them – also realized my local liquor store sells mini bottles of St Germaine so I’m excited to try this, and my husband loves Old Fashioneds so I’ll have to try making this one for him. LMAD brought me joy this year!
This comment made my day! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the series & thank you so much for sharing with me!
I made the Christmas Kit last night and it was DELICIOUS! Made extra syrup so I can keep making it throughout the holidays – thank you so much for the recipe!
So thrilled to hear this! Thank you for letting me know! Happy holidays!