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
With a hint of spicy ginger liqueur and a dash of fresh pomegranate seeds, this cocktail couldn’t be simpler or more festive.
Originally crafted for the Golden Globes, this sparkling cocktail brings a little spice, a nice pear flavor, and a whole lot of glam.
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.
Another cocktail crafted for Awards season, bubbles are dressed up for the holidays with spiced blood orange syrup.
Sangria Cocktail Recipes
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.
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
Speaking of punch, this whiskey punch — with apple cider, smoky lapsang souchong tea, citrus, and cloves — brings all the holiday feels.
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.
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)!
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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