Party-perfect holiday cocktails
Whether you're hosting a holiday cocktail party for your 50 closest friends or warming up by the fire with your special someone and a steaming beverage, nothing gets people in the holiday spirit better than a couple of seasonal drinks.This year, skip the same old eggnog and tried-and-true mulled wine in favor of one of these stylish cocktails perfect for every occasion, from a casual night at home to a fashionable holiday fete.
Kahlúa peppermint mocha hot chocolate
For holiday caroling or an open-house brunch buffet, offer your guests something that will warm -- and wake -- them up. Heat two parts milk on the stovetop and whisk in one part drinking chocolate (such as Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa). Simmer for 30 seconds while stirring. Add one part Kahlúa Peppermint Mocha and garnish with peppermint stick and marshmallows for a grown-up holiday treat.
Hosting a holiday open house? Greet your guests at the door with a pitcher of seasonal mimosas made with one bottle of Chandon Brut Classic (or your favorite sparkling wine) and 16 ounces of freshly squeezed blood-orange juice. Use Sicilian oranges for an extra vitamin and antioxidant boost to ward off winter colds while you're celebrating. As an added bonus, if you can't decide how much sparkling wine you need to properly kick off your holiday party, use Domaine Chandon's party planner. The site features recipes and party planning tips to help you figure out how much food and libations to stock up on for your next soiree.
Spicy winter cider
You don't have to shelve the apple cider after Thanksgiving this year. If you want to make large-batch warm cocktails for a crowd without sacrificing your stovetop to splatters and splashes, use a drip coffee pot to make a spice-infused spiked cider that will warm you from the inside out. Place a coffee filter in the designated basket and fill it with a tablespoon of brown sugar, 1/8 teaspoon whole allspice, 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves, 1/4 cinnamon stick, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/4 pinch ground nutmeg and one orange, cut into quarters. Pour four cups of apple cider and 1/4 to 1/2 cup dark rum into the reservoir where you would normally pour the water, then watch your trusty Mr. Coffee brew you a delicious, festive beverage.
Cranberry champagne cocktail
Nothing says "holidays" like cranberry, and nothing says 'celebration' like champagne. Combine the two using food blogger Barbara Kiebel's cranberry liqueur recipe, which is perfect for holiday gifting or serving at your next cocktail soiree. It's oh-so-elegant and even easier to serve -- just fill a champagne flute with cava and top with as much liqueur as you like. Making liqueur from scratch might sound intimidating, but the hardest part about the recipe is stopping at just one.
If you're serving beverages to a teetotaling crowd or need to please the palates of the under-21 crowd, opt for a sparkling mocktail just as festive as their spiked counterparts. Food writer and recipe developer Sarah Caron makes a pomegranate spritzer for kid-friendly holiday parties by adding several cubes of ice to a glass and adding one parts pomegranate juice and two parts ginger ale.