The holiday season is approaching and that means the busiest time of the year for some people. Whether you're hosting or not, I'm sure you're getting ready for family arriving from all over, menu prepping, organizing and decorating the house and of course the sometimes dreaded holiday gift shopping (I've learned to stick to online shopping!). The list of things to do in preparation can seem never-ending, but when the actual holidays arrive, it's time to just relax, enjoy the time with family, and de-stress with a nice, well-deserved holiday drink in hand.
Some of these traditional holiday drink recipes like hot chocolate and eggnog are great on their own (some even kid-friendly), but for the adults, adding a little booze can always make things a little better!
1. Double-Chocolate Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate is loved by children and adults and it's one of the most popular winter and holiday time drinks. Making it homemade isn't as difficult as you may think and the taste is much better than any commercial product!
This recipe uses bittersweet and milk chocolate (semisweet would work too) and is combined with hot water, milk, and heavy cream. It's decadent and rich and adding little Jack Daniel's whiskey is the perfect alcohol to pair with this hot chocolate.
2. Mulled Cranberry Juice
The use of cranberries is really popular during the holiday season. Cranberries are tart but have a beautiful and festive red color that really brightens up the table. I love nonalcoholic cranberry drinks and mocktails, but adding vanilla vodka to cranberry juice along with mulling spices, makes this the perfect Christmas party and New Years' drink!
You can also turn this into a mulled wine by adding red wine in place of the vanilla vodka. Your holiday party will be popping with this festive holiday cocktail.
This is a great recipe to make ahead of time and it stores in the refrigerator up to three days.
3. Hot Buttered Rum
I think it's pretty obvious which alcohol goes well with this holiday treat.
This buttery and creamy drink is filled with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves and tastes great on it own without the alcohol-the kids might even like this grown-up classic cocktail (without the alcohol) too! However, to make this drink for adults only, add a splash of rum for a boozy warm cocktail!
I've always been fascinated with the idea of eggnog, with or without alcohol. I remember watching an episode of Martha Stewart's cooking show when I was little and watching her whip up by hand a bunch of raw eggs and cream and pouring the finished mixture into a gigantic silver punch bowl. Now that I think about it, maybe I was a little more fascinated by her liquor ratio-she uses bourbon, spiced rum, and Cognac!
Well, if you are a little skeptical to drink homemade eggnog with raw eggs, then this recipe is perfect. It is a little different from Martha Stewarts' because the eggs are cooked gently to kill off any bacteria and then strained to remove any cooked egg bits. Add either bourbon, dark rum or Cognac (or all three!) and a sprinkle of nutmeg to this thick and custard-like drink.
4. Apple Cider
I start to crave apple cider right when autumn hits and the cool weather makes its way in. And if you live in the northern states like I do, Mother Nature finally made up her mind and recently gave us the colder weather! Well, even if she's a little mixed up, that doesn't stop folks from enjoying their favorite wintertime drinks.
One of my favorite family traditions is coming home from church on Sunday and heating up fresh apple cider in the Crock Pot. We sit by the fire, talk and drink our cider; there's really nothing better.
Hot cider is one of those drinks that's just so comforting on its own, but can taste even better with some liquor! This cocktail recipe has a little bourbon and ginger beer (or ginger ale) added in.
This is easy to make enough for one person or whip up a whole pitcher for the holidays! Be sure to add in some freshly grated nutmeg, allspice, or even a star anise to your hot cider to add another element of flavor.
I'm sure you've had chai tea or a chai tea latte from your favorite coffee shop during the winter season. Chai tea is full of flavor and spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and peppercorns and is great hot or cold.
Change things up a bit and try out this martini recipe using chai tea mix, half and half and vodka (preferably vanilla or ginger vodka). This Christmas cocktail is elegant and great for holiday entertaining. Serve it in a martini glass along with a cinnamon stick for garnish.
6. Christmas Punch
Christmas Punch is an easy and fruity drink to make for a lot of guests and it's very similar to sangria. You can make a pitcher, or even double the recipe to fill a punch bowl.
This punch is flavored with cranberry, orange juice, pomegranate juice and Sprite. Fruit like pomegranate seeds, orange slices and fresh cranberries are added in to make this drink look extra festive and bring in some holiday cheer.
Pairing this punch with white rum or vodka is suggested (and sometimes necessary during the holidays!), but it will also taste great without the alcohol.
Helpful tip: Pour in the soda right before serving so you do not lose the fizz and bubbles. Find the recipe here.
7. Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate
Classic hot chocolate is amazing (especially homemade), but if you're looking to be a little different and adventurous, white hot chocolate is a good way to go. Did you know that white chocolate doesn't contain any cocoa powder? This drink is made with cocoa butter, milk solids, sugar and a few other ingredients.
White chocolate does make a delicious hot chocolate and I remember I went through a faze when I was younger where I only wanted white hot chocolate from any bakery or coffee shop. It is a little sweeter, but still really good.
This recipe is decadent and filled with fall and winter flavors like pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice. Add in a splash or two of Kahlua (coffee-flavored liqueur) and I'd say this festive holiday cocktail is near perfect!
8. Irish Coffee
Coffee is one of those things that's pretty much a necessity in łife! It keeps people going and energized and is just so delicious. Like most people, I do consider myself to be just a little obsessed with coffee, who isn't? It's a great way to start the day and to get going. I especially love to drink a cup at the end of a good meal or with dessert.
You can even make coffee extra special as a boozy dessert! Pour whiskey, strong brewed coffee and sugar into a glass. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of fresh nutmeg or cinnamon. This is the perfect end to any meal!
9. Stout Hot Chocolate with Ice Cream
This hot and cold drink reminds me of another dessert type drink called affogato. A scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato is placed in a glass and hot espresso is poured over the top. It's amazing!
This drink is a little more holiday-appropriate (and spiked) and instead of pouring hot espresso over vanilla ice cream, a mixture of homemade hot cocoa and reduced down chocolate stout beer is used. I think anyone would be happy to have this cold-weather drink in front of them.
10. Gingerbread Latte
Isn't this drink so festive? The gingerbread latte from Starbucks is actually one of my favorite holiday time drinks, especially when it's in one of their beautifully designed cups. Making it homemade is even better and actually really simple. The ingredients to make this latte are similar to those found in gingerbread cookie dough.
Brewed coffee is combined with a delicious mixture of milk, cinnamon, ginger, molasses, maple syrup and vanilla extract. You can add a little hazelnut liquor to this mixture for an extra nutty flavor. Or as this recipe suggests, whip up some heavy cream with vanilla extract and the hazelnut liquor and top your latte with it. This drink is perfect for dunking gingerbread cookies.