Salt & Wind Travel

The 20+ Classiest Cocktails For Holiday Parties

Sure, you can always serve a ton of bubbly and beer and everyone will be happy partiers. But we’re fans of bringing out our classiest cocktails during the holiday season. 

There are those times you should pull out something special, and there’s no time like the holidays to bring it. Whether served in a punch bowl, a fancified vintage glass, or straight-up, this list of the classiest cocktails has something for everyone. 

More Than 20 Of The Classiest Cocktails

Armed with this list of more than 20 terrific tipples in your cocktail arsenal, you’ll shake things up, be the perfect party host, or take the edge off the holiday season.

Sparkling Wine Cocktails

Pomegranate Ginger Sparkler Cocktail Recipe

Pomegranate Ginger Sparkler Cocktail Recipe

With a hint of spicy ginger liqueur and a dash of fresh pomegranate seeds, this cocktail couldn’t be simpler or more festive.

The Golden Night Cocktail Recipe

The Golden Night Cocktail Recipe

Originally crafted for the Golden Globes, this sparkling cocktail brings a little spice, a nice pear flavor, and a whole lot of glam.

French 75 Cocktail Recipe

French 75 Cocktail Recipe

Leave it to the French to come up with one of the most classic sparkling cocktails of all time. Sure, the Kir Royale is better known but, to us, there is nothing more perfect than the sweet, sour, bubbly, and unsuspectingly stiff drink that is the French 75 cocktail. 

Classic Kir Royale Cocktail Recipe

Classic Kir Royale Cocktail Recipe

Speaking of the Kir Royale, it’s one of the most food-friendly cocktails on this list so it’s perfection at a cocktail party. 

Blood Orange Pomegranate Sparkling Cocktail Recipe

Oscar Buzz Cocktail Recipe

Another cocktail crafted for Awards season, bubbles are dressed up for the holidays with spiced blood orange syrup.

Sangria Cocktail Recipes

White Wine Sangria Cocktail

San Sebastián White Wine Sangria Recipe

Like punch’s more chill sibling, sangria is always welcome at any party. This white version with apples, cinnamon, and citrus is as appropriate at a Fall dinner as it is at a holiday cocktail party.

Blood Orange Sangria Recipe

Blood Orange Ginger White Sangria Recipe

Okay, we like red sangria, but the white style is just a bit more food friendly and can be sipped in multiples. Here vibrant citrus combines with ginger for a twist on the classic. 

Bourbon Cocktail Recipes

Smoked Whiskey Apple Cider Cocktail Recipe

Smoked Whiskey Apple Cider Cocktail Recipe

Speaking of punch, this whiskey punch — with apple cider, smoky lapsang souchong tea, citrus, and cloves — brings all the holiday feels.

Pomegranate Ginger Apple Cider Punch Cocktail Recipe

Pomegranate Ginger Apple Cider Punch Recipe

If you want a punch that’s just as festive but lighter this is it. Here we combine pomegranate and apples in this punch that has been a major favorite this year. Pull out the vintage glassware and make a pomegranate seed ice mold and you’ll be the mose festive hostess around.

Pear Bourbon Cocktail Recipe

Ciderhouse Pear Cocktail Recipe

If you just can’t handle anymore apple anything but still love cider, check out this pear cider cocktail. Made with spiced pear liqueur, whiskey, and a flamed orange, one sip will transport you to the days of yore (even if we’re not entirely sure when yore was)!

Spiced Cranberry Whiskey Sour Cocktail Recipe

Spiced Cranberry Whiskey Sour Cocktail Recipe

Raise a glass, cocktail lovers — it’s the most wonderful time of the year! And, as for what should be in that cocktail glass, we’d propose this sweet-sour, frothy, colorful Spiced Cranberry Whiskey Sour Cocktail Recipe.

Man O' War Cocktail

The Man O’ War Cocktail Recipe

For something a little less obvious, turn to the classic whiskey cocktail, The Man O’ War. Named after a race horse, this cocktail is usually served during the Triple Crown but we like it any time of year

Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail

Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

To us, each of the most classic cocktails has an ideal setting in which to imbibe it. By our calculations Margaritas are best during warm weather, Bloody Mary cocktails alongside brunch, and Old Fashioned cocktails? Pretty much anytime a fire is roaring, snow is falling, and the ambiance is cozy, we want one of these in our hand.

Persimmon Old Fashioned Cocktail

Spiced Persimmon Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

Hang around here long enough, and you’ll quickly notice that we L-O-V-E us some persimmons. And when we get our hands on extra ripe hachiya persimmons, we make sure to stir up a few of these cinnamon-spiced and citrus-laced Old Fashioned cocktails.

Negroni Cocktail Recipes

Classic Negroni Cocktail Recipe

Classic Negroni Cocktail Recipe 

There are many Italian cocktails that we insist you sip when you travel to Italy. But, of all of the classic Italian cocktails, one we have the most affinity for is the Negroni. Make ahead by batching it — add 1-ounce water for each cocktail and chill until the party is on.

Citrusy White Negroni Cocktail Recipe

Citrusy White Negroni Cocktail Recipe

Say hello to our take on the white Negroni made with dry white vermouth, Cocchi Bianco aperitif, and a London-style (read: herbaceous and juniper-y) gin. The result is a cocktail that lives on the taste spectrum between a refreshing Gin & Tonic and a Vermouth & Soda.

Classic Negroni Sbagliato Cocktail

Classic Negroni Sbagliato Cocktail Recipe

The classic Negroni is bitter, sweet, and appropriately boozy. It’s a balanced cocktail that’s as sophisticated as it is seasonless. But we swap the gin for bubbles during the holidays because we love sparkling wine in winter. And because it can be made in batches, you don’t have to sit by the bar all night.

Other Gin Cocktail Recipes

Sage Bee's Knees Cocktail Recipe

Sage Bee’s Knees Cocktail Recipe

If sage if your thing, you’re going to want to give this sage twist on this classic cocktail a go. Just know this is best made to order so plan on serving this for a smaller gathering so you’re not bartender all night.

Spanish Gin and Tonic

Spanish Citrus Gin and Tonic Cocktail Recipe

When it comes to gin, there’s nothing more classic than a gin and tonic. And when made the Spanish way — with tons of ice in a balloon glass with lots of quality tonic — it feels more festive than ever.

The Martinez Cocktail

The Martinez Cocktail Recipe

This cocktail is similar to the Manhattan, and the Martini in that fans of it all tend to have their personal preference as to exact amounts of the ingredients, so go ahead, shake, taste, and personalize away!

Rum Cocktail Recipe

Pomegranate Daiquiri Number 3 Cocktail Recipe

Pomegranate Daiquiri Number 3 Recipe

Another cocktail you don’t see much this season? Daiquiris. Honestly, we’re not sure why. Give your favorite beach vacation cocktail a definitive wintry twist thanks to adding pomegranates.

Tequila Cocktail Recipes

Tequila Horchata Cocktail

Spiked Horchata Latte Cocktail Recipe

Sometimes you need to pull out a total wild card cocktail and that’s when this drink is in order. Made with homemade spiced horchata, coffee liqueur, and tequila, this is the drink a White Russian wished it could be.

Charred Citrus Margarita

Charred Citrus Margarita Cocktail Recipe

Charring the citrus gives this classic cocktail a more complex note. And, if you really wanted to up the smokiness and char, you could make it with mezcal instead of tequila.

More Entertaining Ideas

Want even more cocktail inspiration? Check out our favorite wine cocktails to toast the holidays. May we also suggest a few incredible appetizers for your next festivities?

Opening photo by Cameron Whitman

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