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Festive holiday cocktail recipes

The holiday season is filled with parties galore. While most people are serving the standard fare, step it up with a signature cocktail recipe that will delight your guests. We have some tips on how to stock your bar and a few festive recipes your guests will be talking about through the new year.

woman drinking holiday cocktail

The best part about cocktails is that they can be altered to fit your preferences or the ingredients you have on hand. When hosting a holiday party, it’s a good idea to have a variety of drink options, including a few different types of liquor, a selection of mixers and a festive non-alcoholic option for guests who don’t drink. Consider serving non-alcoholic versions in similar stemware and with fancy garnishes so those guests don’t feel left out of the fun.

Try these tasty mocktail recipes >>

Stock the bar

We suggest having at least these standard liquors available in addition to a selection of beers and wines. Offer both white and red wine to ensure each guest has something they enjoy.

If you’re planning to make fun martinis, consider the following liqueurs:

  • Creme de menthe
  • Cinnamon liqueur
  • Creme de cacao
  • White chocolate liqueur
  • Coffee liqueur

Mixers and garnishes

We suggest including the following mixers and garnishes at your event, which will allow you to make a range of cocktails:

  • Fruit juice (orange and cranberry are the most popular)
  • Soda and tonic water
  • Cream
  • Champagne or sparkling wine
  • Fresh fruit for garnish (limes, lemons and orange wheels)
  • Green olives — for a fun touch, stuff them with garlic or blue cheese.
  • Consider having a few options for rimming martinis, like coloured sugar, cinnamon or cocoa powder.
  • To create cocktails that are even more festive-looking, garnish with frozen cranberries, a candy cane, a cinnamon stick or chocolate sauce.

After-dinner drinks

Don’t forget to offer a range of after-dinner drinks. Depending on your crowd, that could mean offering cordials or sweet dessert wines, or you could offer warm beverages.

  • Coffee
  • Whisky (for Irish coffee)
  • Amaretto
  • Irish cream liqueur
  • Brandy

Now that your bar is stocked, it’s time to make some cocktails!

Rosemary cosmo

Rosemary cosmo

It may seem strange to add rosemary to a cocktail, but the hint of herbal, pine flavour makes the classic cocktail taste like Christmas. The following is inspired by a recipe from mixologist Eric Tecosky:

Serving size 1


  • 2 ounces Beluga Noble vodka
  • 1 ounce white cranberry juice
  • 1/2 ounce rosemary syrup
  • Rosemary and fresh cranberries for garnish

Rosemary syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 rosemary stems


  1. To make the rosemary syrup, bring the water to a boil, and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the rosemary, and remove from heat. Cover, and once cool, remove the rosemary and discard it. Store the liquid in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well, and strain into a chilled martini glass.
  3. Garnish with cranberries stabbed with a rosemary sprig.

Strawberry sparkler

Strawberry sparkler

This sparkling drink is perfect to toast the new year with or to serve for Christmas dinner. The following is inspired by a recipe from mixologist Eric Tecosky:

Serving size 1


  • 1 ounce Beluga Noble vodka
  • Champagne
  • 1/2 ounce orange juice
  • 1 ounce strawberry puree
  • Fresh strawberry for garnish

Strawberry puree:

  • Fresh strawberries
  • Sugar, if desired


  1. To make the strawberry puree, add the strawberries and sugar to a food processor or blender, and blend until it is a smooth consistency. Alter the amount based on the number of drinks you’d like to make. You’ll need 2–3 strawberries for each cocktail. For a slightly sweeter drink, add sugar.
  2. Add chilled vodka, strawberry puree and orange juice to a chilled Champagne flute, then top with Champagne.
  3. Garnish with a fresh strawberry.
Cocktail photos courtesy of Rick Williams

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