More than anything, I’m looking forward to spending time with friends and extended family this holiday after our “quarantine Christmas” of 2020. And with more socializing comes the chance to try new cocktails in all the flavors of the holidays, from gingerbread to candy cane.
I’m sure there will be nights when I will ho-ho-ho through a cocktail (or two), but there there will be other times when I need a clearer head: to finish shopping through our many holiday guides, or wrap presents, or create holiday memories with the kids. So I’ve not only found cocktails in all the main holiday flavors but also delicious and sophisticated no-alcohol mocktails that are perfect whether you’re taking a break from alcohol for the night or longer, as our own Kristen did a year ago.
So, say cheers, and get ready to toast the holidays with these 14 holiday cocktail and mocktail recipes for the holidays.
Top photo: Gingerbread White Russian recipe from Half Baked Harvest
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Candy cane cocktail and mocktail holiday recipes
Cocktail: As a candy-cane connoisseur (ok, I just steal them off the Christmas tree), I feel qualified to say that this Candy Cane Martini recipe from The Redhead Baker would send me to peppermint heaven. I really appreciate the ingredient substitutions since I hate having to run out for just one thing. And there are also instructions for whipping up a larger batch of this deliciousness when sharing with a few friends.
Mocktail: I love this Candy Cane Christmas Mocktail recipe from This Vivacious Life in part because it looks so much like the martini above! If I were hosting a party, I’d make a pitcher of each so that both drinkers and non drinkers can have their own version without broadcasting whether or not they’re drinking.
Pomegranate cocktail and mocktail holiday recipes
Cocktail: I’m always reminded it’s pomegranate season because my daughter spatters red juice all over the kitchen as she seeds her favorite fruit. But, I really won’t care about this after just one Christmas-colored Pomegranate Prosecco Smash. How Sweet Eats’ recipe is fruity and bubbly with the pretty sprig of rosemary to dress it up for the holidays.
Mocktail: Juicy and refreshing but with some grated ginger to warm things up, this Pomegranate Orange Mocktail recipe from Nom Nom Paleo is both alcohol and added-sugar free. I mean, I already get enough added sugar the entire month of December.
Gingerbread cocktail and mocktail holiday recipes
Cocktail: Along with candy canes, I crave gingerbread at this time of year, so I’m smitten by this Gingerbread White Russian recipe from Half Baked Harvest. Super easy to pull together with common liquor cabinet ingredients; the gingerbread men are optional, but they’re not optional to me.
And if you aren’t up for making your own homemade gingerbread syrup with Half Baked Harvest’s easy instructions, grab some of this Gingerbread Syrup from Torani. It’s highly rated and perfect for spicing up your cocktails as well as your morning coffee. ($15 at Amazon or buy direct from the Torani website)
Mocktail: If you’d like to sip on something while helping the kids assemble the gingerbread house, this Gingerbread Martini Mocktail recipe from This Vivacious Life is a great option.
Cinnamon cocktail and mocktail holiday recipes
Cocktail: Bourbon, maple syrup, and cinnamon combine in the most warming Cinnamon Whiskey Sour recipe from Cookie and Kate. Only four ingredients and a good shake-shake-shake and Ms. Claus (me) will be hanging by the fireplace for the night.
Mocktail: The no-alcohol version of this Orange Cinnamon Moscow Mule looks fantastic and gets its cinnamon-y spice kick from the addition of cinnamon simple syrup. Please note if you aren’t familiar with it: Ginger beer does not contain alcohol (and it is delicious!)
Looking to elevate your bartender game? This shiny and sleek Optima copper shaker from Frontgate will make you feel like a very fancy pro when you whip up your cocktails and mocktails at home. ($69)
Mulled wine cocktail and mocktail holiday recipes
Cocktail: This seasonal Mulled Wine recipe from Well Plated by Erin comes together in the slow cooker, so you don’t have to do anything but add the ingredients and then let it alone. Erin also provides info for how long you can safely store leftovers and–get this–how to turn any remaining mulled wine into a frozen slush dessert! Sign me up!
Mocktail: You may be thinking what I was thinking: With a name like Mulled Wine, surely there is no way to turn that into a non-alcohol beverage! I was wrong as is clearly shown in this Easy Non Alcoholic Mulled Wine recipe from Mindful Mocktail. Using either no-alcohol wine or a blend of juices, this beverage also slowly comes together in the slow cooker. Great for an afternoon après sledding gathering.
Chestnut cocktail and mocktail holiday recipes
Cocktail: I’ve never had a chestnut in my life, so I have no idea if this is a common holiday flavor for most people. But, given the song, I’m willing to bet a few of you associate chestnuts with December. And now that I’ve found this Chocolate Chestnut Cocktail recipe from A Cookie Named Desire, I’m going to have visions of it dancing in my head. Make sure you order some of Torani’s Marron Syrup to get the chestnut flavor.
Mocktail: If you love the one from Starbucks, then this Chestnut Praline Latte recipe from Mom Makes Dinner is a great at-home copycat. I’d appreciate this a lot since I can control the sweetness better at home than the one I get from the barista. And Kelley even includes her own recipe for marron syrup in case you want to DIY that too!
Eggnog cocktail and mocktail holiday recipes
First, a disclaimer: I know some people make homemade eggnog with great success (thank you to my brother-in-law who gives me a bottle of Alton Brown’s luscious aged eggnog almost every year), but as someone who is content with just a glass or two all season (and a child who is allergic to eggs AND milk), I will never go through the trouble to make an entire vat of the stuff. So for this post, I’ll be sharing a cocktail and mocktail recipe made with your favorite store-bought eggnog of your choice. For us, we’re lucky there are even delicious vegan versions out there now!
Cocktail: Anything called the Mrs. Claus Cocktail sounds ideal for a pre-Christmas night watching our favorite holiday movies. This cocktail from KJ & Company combines eggnog with two other liqueurs for a very easy and delicious holiday cocktail.
Mocktail: I know pumpkin spice season is said to be over (boo), but it’s okay to bring it back for this pretty Spiced Pumpkin Eggnog Mocktail recipe from This Worthy Life. Pumpkiny goodness mixes with creamy eggnog for a mocktail worthy of two seasons.