Festive Cocktails and Soothing Drinks to Liven Up Your Holiday

Festive Cocktails and Soothing Drinks to Liven Up Your Holiday

Add some cheer to your holiday parties this year with fun cocktails and cozy coffee drinks.

Party prep time! Fancy bar carts are the “in thing” this year so be certain to have it stocked with all the appropriate ingredients for your special cocktails. If you don’t have a cart, designate a counter or buffet top to be your cocktail station. Plus, line up gleaming stemware, napkins, and stir sticks. Then dress up your bar space with a fresh bouquet of flowers. (Tip: order your bouquet a day early, so the blooms have time to fully open.)

It’s always fun to have a signature cocktail to make your party extra special so test out our three winter cocktails below. So you don’t have to constantly play bartender, have small, framed menus with the cocktail ingredients listed and the “how-to” instructions, so guests can mix up their own drink.

Cocktail hour will be memorable when you feature these easy, make-ahead delicious drinks:

Festive Cocktails and Soothing Drinks to Liven Up Your Holiday


  • 1 cup vodka

  • 1 cup white cranberry juice

  • ¼ cup blue curacao

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • Ice cubes

  • Lime peel twist (optional)

In a large cocktail shaker, combine vodka, white cranberry juice, blue curacao, lime juice, and ice. Shake. Strain into four chilled martini glasses. If desired, garnish each serving with a lime peel twist. Serves 4.


  • 3 cups orange juice

  • Champagne

  • 1/4 cup cranberry juice

  • Skewer of fresh cranberries

Divide orange juice among 8 glasses. Top with champagne and a splash of cranberry juice. Garnish with fresh cranberries. Serves 8.

Festive Cocktails and Soothing Drinks to Liven Up Your Holiday


Prep: 15 minutes

Marinate: 4 hours

Chill:  up to 3 days

  • 1 1/2  cups pomegranate seeds (from 1 large pomegranate)

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup brandy

  • 1  750-milliliter bottle sparkling wine such as Prosecco, Cava, Asti Spumante, or brut champagne, chilled

In a bowl, place pomegranate seeds and enough brandy to cover. Cover the bowl and let stand at room temperature 4 to 24 hours. For each Sparkler, pour 5 ounces of sparkling wine into a champagne glass. Add a few brandied seeds. Note: Prosecco is a variety of white grape grown in the Veneto region of Italy, and also gives its name to the sparkling wine made from the grape. Makes 6 (3/4-cup) servings.

After dinner is complete and desserts are served, pair your holiday treats with these cozy sippers.

Festive Cocktails and Soothing Drinks to Liven Up Your Holiday


Prep: 30 minutes

  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1/2  cup coffee liqueur

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee powder or 4 teaspoons instant coffee crystals

  • Heavy cream (optional)

  • Ground cinnamon

  • 8 long cinnamon sticks (optional)

In a heavy large saucepan, stir together the eggs, milk, heavy cream, Kahlua, honey, and espresso coffee powder. Cook and stir over medium heat for 20 minutes or until mixture just coats a metal spoon and thermometer registers 170°F; do not let boil. Top hot eggnog with whipped cream, if desired, and sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Serve with cinnamon sticks.  Makes 8 (1/2 cup) servings.

Nonalcoholic version:  Prepare as above, except omit the coffee liqueur. Increase the milk to 2 1/2 cups.

Festive Cocktails and Soothing Drinks to Liven Up Your Holiday


Melted Nutella. Need we say more? Our updated version of hot chocolate is made in a slow cooker, just for kicks and convenience. This drink can be held for one hour on low.

Prep: 10 minutes

Slow Cook: 5 hours to 6 hours on low

  • 8 cups half-and-half or light cream

  • 1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread

  • 1/2 cup caramel dessert sauce

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons instant espresso coffee powder

  • Whipped cream

  • Additional caramel dessert sauce (optional)

In a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker whisk together half-and-half, chocolate-hazelnut spread, the 1/2 cup caramel sauce, the cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Cover; cook on low for 5 to 6 hours, whisking once or twice during cooking, and again before serving. Serve topped with whipped cream and, if desired, drizzle with additional caramel sauce. Makes 12 (3/4 cup) servings.

Alcoholic version: Add hazelnut liqueur (Frangelico) to each mug before adding the hot drink.

Festive Cocktails and Soothing Drinks to Liven Up Your Holiday


Prep: 10 minutes

Slow Cook: 5 hours to 6 hours on low

  • 1 cup premium unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup hot water

  • 4 cups half-and-half or light cream

  • 4 cups whole milk

  • 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate pieces or 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

  • 1/2 cup raspberry liqueur

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

  • 1 cup whipping cream

  • 2 tablespoons chocolate-hazelnut spread

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • Fresh raspberries (optional)

  • Shaved chocolate (optional)

In a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker combine cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Stir in the hot water until the mixture forms a paste. Whisk in half-and-half and milk. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. (Do not boil.) Add bittersweet chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. If necessary, skim “skin” from the surface; discard. Serve immediately or keep warm, covered, on warm-heat setting or low-heat setting for up to 2 hours. To serve, stir in vanilla and raspberry liqueur.

Meanwhile, in a chilled bowl combine whipping cream, chocolate-hazelnut spread, and 2 teaspoons sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Pipe or spoon cream mixture onto cocoa. If desired, garnish with fresh raspberries and shaved chocolate.  Makes 12 (1/2 cup) servings.

©2016. Meredith Corporation. Used with permission.