Happy Holidrinking: The Best Holiday Cocktails

Whether we’re ready for it or not, the holiday season is upon us. Since I love the part of the year and I think I’ve finally got this whole holiday season down to a science, I would like to discuss my favorite part. Most people think it’s all about the food or the presents or the parties that accompany it, but when it all comes down to it, holidays don’t really feel like holidays until cocktail hour.

Not only will these beverages taste delicious, but they’ll leave you feeling festive and happy, which is the perfect combination, especially when it comes to making small talk with that one aunt of yours that gets drunk and recites your most embarrassing childhood stories. Every family has one. Why do we keep inviting her?

Without further ado, I present thee, New Orleans, with a list of holiday cocktails that must find their way into your glass.

Original French 75

French 75 from Arnaud’s

If you are planning on hosting a few holiday parties this year, your Christmas dinners and New Year’s Eve parties, you have to start the night off with some light, mellow cocktails that will ease your guests into the party (there is no need for Jager at a holiday party, I am sure it is in the Bible somewhere). French 75s have been a popular drink since the early 1900s. The formula has been changed by different bars and regions, most use icy gin and some prefer warm cognac, let your guest be the judge. Just use 1 oz of gin or cognac, 3 oz of fresh lemon juice (or bottled, we won’t tell), 3 oz of champagne, and a dash of simple syrup. It is sweet and tangy but just enough to get the party going.

Rose Sangria with Cranberries and Apples


Um. Yum. I absolutely love sangria anytime of the year. This one is especially festive because of it’s color and addition of cranberries, cinnamon and star anise. This recipe yields many a’ serving of this delicious cocktail, so plan to either a) be incredibly wasted alone or b) get your family sloshed and get incredibly wasted together. After all, a family that drinks together, sings premature Christmas carols at the top of their lungs together.

Mississippi Bourbon Punch


This cocktail calls for muscadine wine, which, if you’re not familiar, is a fruit relative to the grape that thrive in warmer climates (aka, Louisiana!). Though muscadine wine tends to be on the sweeter side, this recipe calls for a dry wine, which will help to combat that sweetness, especially when paired with chilled bourbon and cut with the carbonation from the lemon lime soda. Impress your family this year with your knowledge on muscadine and get drunk while doing it!

Mulled Wine


It wouldn’t be the holidays without mulled wine. The combination of warmed red wine and Gran Marnier with the flavors of citrus and cinnamon will, not only clear your sinuses, but clear your troubles away. And by that, I mean when your grandma keeps asking when it’s your turn to tie the knot, you can just pretend you didn’t hear her over the loudness of your ballin’ ass BEVERAGE. Don’t forget the cinnamon stick and orange zest garnish.

Red Nose Punch


It’s like Rudolph in your glass. How cute is that? Combine the flavors of bourbon, your favorite lager beer, and cranberries and call it a damn day. Pour yourself a big ol’ glass of this and help Mom make dinner, because, so far, you’re nailing this whole dang holiday thing. Should you drop your a Christmas album?

The Witches’ Coffee


If your family is anything like mine, you like to brew a cup of coffee to go with your after-dinner dessert. Who says this cup has to be the standard milk and sugar concoction? Spike your cup with some rum and bring it to life with some raw sugar and heavy cream, and you’ve got yourself a kick in a glass in more ways than one. Pair this with a nice big slice of pumpkin pie or apple cobbler, and you’re on the right path to entering into that well-deserved food coma.

Personal Favorites

Pennsylvania Dutch eggnog – chilled or frozen

White Raspberry Sangria – Riesling + frozen raspberries + splash lemon lime soda

Pumpkin Spice Spiked Nog – eggnog + Pumpkin Spice Moonshine or Pumpkin Spice Vodka

Hard Apple Cider – apple cider + Fireball whiskey = #trust

Maria McClaire

Maria McClaire
Maria McClaire

In case you have never tried it before, port wine is a dessert wine. It has a robust smell, strong flavor (thanks to an average of 25% alcohol per volume) but an undeniable sweetness that will have you drinking more than you anticipated. Really, calling it dessert wine is almost an insult to how warm and silly drunk you can get off this kind of wine. There are different colors of port like there are different colors of wine, and we selected the Maria McClaire because it reminds us of the Sazerac with the use of 1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey, 2 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters, and 1 oz white port and a dash of Campari. This is a great cocktail to have after dinner if you aren’t in the mood for a coffee drink or to serve at a small holiday party. Don’t forget the orange twist!

Before heading over to your family’s tomorrow morning, swing by your local liquor store (or like, Walgreens, a gas station, Rouse’s, your neighbor’s house, etc) and pick up a bottle of your favorite poison to make one of the cocktails listed above. You won’t regret going in prepared. Plus, it’ll make all the pre-dinner snacking and indulging just feel like a weeknight drunken binge.

Happy Holidrinking and a Boozy New Year!

May your days be merry, bright, and boozy.

Have any other cocktails to add to the list? Shoot ’em like a shot of Jameson into our Comments Section!

About Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn currently lives in New Orleans and is thankful for that every morning upon waking. She has a Bachelor's degree in Film and Theatre that she proudly earned/bought from UNO. Apart from acting, Kaitlyn enjoys writing, pretending to be a yogi, and drinking multiple mimosas in one sitting.

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