Hosting a party during the holidays means planning recipes that will please everyone. So, this season we’re taking it back to the basics and serving up simple, classic winter cocktails that are sure to appease the pickiest guests. Aside from flavor profile, presentation is everything! It can be difficult to determine which type of glassware is best suited for a specific cocktail. Not to worry, we’ve created this recipe guide to help you prepare for your party in a snap.
First up, an elegant and easy cocktail (plus, one of my personal favorites), the French 75.
French 75 // serves 1
- 1 oz Cognac (while I typically prefer V.S.O.P, I opted for Conjure on a whim because of the packaging, ha!)
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
- lemon peel, for garnish
Shake the cognac, lemon juice and sugar with ice. Strain into a flute and top with champagne. Garnish each flute with a lemon peel.
Despite being served on the rocks, this cocktail always reminds me of winter and cooler weather. The rich and smooth cream, mixed with coffee liquor are a little indulgence that everyone will want to try.
White Russian // serves 1
- 1 oz Vodka
- 1 oz. Kahlua
- 1 oz. heavy cream
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and mix until well combined. Serve over a large ice cube in a highball glass.
This traditional Italian dessert drink will be the talk of your party. Affogato translates into “drowned” and that’s exactly what happens to the silky gelato in this after-dinner delight. Covered in a hot shot of espresso and boozy amaretto mixed with stout, you can skip the desert and serve this grown-up float instead. I’m pretty sure your guests won’t mind!
Affogato Speciale // serves 1
- 1 scoop vanilla gelato
- 2 oz. Amaretto
- 1 (2 oz.) shot espresso
- 6 oz. chocolate stout
- orange rind, for garnish
Place ice cream in a tall glass. Pour liqueur, espresso, and stout over top. Garnish with an orange rind, and serve with a spoon.
1. champagne flutes | 2. citrus peeler | 3. cocktail napkins 4. lowball glasses | 5. ice mold tray | 6. decanter tag | 7. pilsner glasses | 8. ice cream scoop | 9. long spoons
With winter and the holidays comes snow. Warm your guests up with a Hot Toddy! It’s a relatively healthy and flavorful cocktail that has been around for hundreds of years. Be sure to purchase a quality alcohol since this is more of a sipping drink.
Hot Toddy // serves 1
- 2 oz. Brandy, Dark Rum, or Single-Malt Scotch Whiskey
- 1 tsp. honey or agave
- 1 large lemon wedge
Prepare a snifter by rinsing it with boiling water and pouring the water out. Add the honey or agave and the lemon wedge. Pour in one ounce of hot water and stir until the sweetener has completely dissolved. Add the spirits and top it off with another ounce or two of boiling water. Stir and garnish with a lemon wedge.
I love the look of Sidecars! If you’re willing to spend a little more time on presentation, this is your official party drink this season. I have to admit, they taste even better than they look. Sugar the rims of your glassware prior to guests arriving; this will speed your preparation and allow you more time outside of the kitchen to socialize.
Sidecar // serves 1
- 1 ½ oz. Cognac
- ¾ oz. Cointreau
- ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a sugared rim cocktail glass (a martini glass works best). Garnish with an orange peel.
Last but not least, you can’t host a holiday party without eggnog! I’ve learned not to mess with the classic recipe. This cloud-like frothy and festive drink is a wintertime favorite that I crave every year. Making a big batch is a no brainer and creates less serving time for you. Pour the cocktail into a punch bowl and allow guests to ladle their own portions. Don’t forget to leave out cinnamon and nutmeg for a delicious garnish.
Classic Egg Nog // serves 10 – 12
- 8 large eggs, separated
- ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup Brandy
- 1 cup Dark Rum
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- freshly ground nutmeg or cinnamon
In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, brown sugar, and salt until thickened and pale in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in cream and milk, followed by the brandy, rum, and vanilla. In a separate large, clean bowl, whip egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Gradually add granulated sugar and continue whipping until firm, glossy peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer cream mixture to a large serving bowl and fold in egg whites with a rubber spatula. Ladle portions into glasses and sprinkle with freshly ground nutmeg or cinnamon.
1. cocktail glasses |2. honey dipper stick | 3. linen cocktail napkins | 4. martini glasses | 5. gold sugar rim (!!) | 6. cocktail shaker | 7. ladle | 8. cocktail napkin | 9. snowflake brandy glass
Which recipe would you be most likely to try? Any favorites I should add to the list? Good luck planning and preparing for the holidays! I hope this can help alleviate a little stress for you.
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photography by sarah gibson for coco+kelley // recipes from vintage cocktails and winter cocktails