☞ Boozy Beverages ☜

These cocktails are enormously popular throughout the holiday season, thanks to their festive colors and seasonal ingredients. To keep things simple, offer 1 or 2 cocktail choices and pre-mix a batch just before your guests arrive.

A cranberry margarita in a short glass with a skewer or sugared cranberries and orange zest across the top.
Jeanine Thurston
1 of 10

Cranberry Margarita

This cranberry margarita makes a spiked cocktail for any occasion, whether Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a summer afternoon. The swizzle sticks aren’t essential yet add a little lovely bling.
Two glasses of orange-colored Christmas cocktail with orange twists on the glasses.
Anita Mangan
2 of 10

Christmas Cocktail

This Christmas cocktail is a festive combination of Campari, Prosecco, simple syrup, and fresh lemon and clementine juices. Serve with a twist of orange.
Two eggnogs in glasses with a gingerbread star on the lip and a rim of cinnamon.
Natasha Breen
3 of 10

Easy Eggnog

This easy eggnog is made with melted ice cream, bourbon, dark rum, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The ice cream makes it rich and easy to toss together. A Christmas cocktail classic.
A tall cool glass of a winter mojito made with rum and a sugar syrup of rosemary, thyme, sage leaves.
Lizzie Munro
4 of 10

Winter Mojito

This winter mojito combines dark rum, a simple syrup infused with herbs, lime, and soda for a twist on the traditional cocktail. We’ll happily raise a glass to drinking this all year long.

☞ Toasty Tipples ☜

Whether you host an outdoor gathering or live in a cold climate, folks love to wrap their hands around a toasty mug of holiday cheer. Make a big batch of spiced cider or mulled wine and keep it warm in your slow cooker all evening. (I’m all about easy at this time of year.)

Three glasses of glogg (mulled wine) with orange slices and cinnamon sticks.
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Swedish Christmas Glögg

Glogg is Scandinavian mulled wine served at Christmas. This version combines port wine, brandy, whiskey, raisins, almonds, orange zest, cinnamon, and cardamom.
Two glasses half-filled with Kentucky coffee and an open bottle of bourbon between them.
Ben Fink
6 of 10

Kentucky Coffee

Kentucky coffee is an after-dinner drink made with strongly brewed coffee, cream, sugar, and bourbon. It’s a superb holiday sipper, and so easy to make.
Spiced cider with a cinnamon stick and orange zest, in a stemless wine glass.
Angie Mosier
7 of 10

Spiced Cider

There is very little on this earth better on a cold night than combining warm apple cider and bourbon with a blend of exotic spices. The smell fills the room, and more than a couple of these will put you on your butt. Believe me.

☞ Holiday Sippers for Every Age ☜

Even if you don’t have any peewee guests, you’ll likely have friends who are avoiding alcohol or have offered to be designated drivers for the evening. Most of the recipes above can be modified to be alcohol-free, or those below are designed to be booze-free as written. They’re a cup of cheer for anyone, any age.

Two flutes filled with homemade sparkling juice topped with lemon twists on a marble surface.
Paul Sobota
8 of 10

Homemade Sparkling Juice

This homemade sparkling juice combines a ginger-spiked grape and apple juice syrup with carbonated water or seltzer for an easy and festive non-alcoholic beverage.
A white enamel pot filled with chai spiced apple cider and two cinnamon sticks.
Marie Reginato
9 of 10

Chai Spiced Apple Cider

This chai spiced apple cider calls for nothing more than apple cider, your favorite chai tea, and a cinnamon stick. Quick liquid comfort.
Two glasses of lime soda and one glass of angostura orange.
Susan Bell
10 of 10

Lime Soda

This lime soda is an easy summer alternative to plain old water made with lime juice, soda water, and a little salt. Natch, there’s always the option of adding a splash of something stronger and turning it into a cocktail.

☞ Snacks and Nibbles ☜

If your guests are drinking, then there’s a good chance they’ll be hungry, too. A spread of easy snacks and handheld bites is the way to go for a cocktail party. Some The One’s my favorites include:

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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