15 Holiday Cocktails for All Your Boozy Needs

Step up your cold-weather fancy drink game

by Stephanie Kaloi


I’m going to be real with you guys: when it comes to booze, I’m not the world’s most knowledgeable person. In fact, I can only tell you a few things: I like wine (a lot), I like bubbly drinks, and I’m a big fan of putting greenery in my drinks, if only because it’s pretty. Having said all of that, I’m also a big fan of holiday cocktails in the autumn and winter because hello? I was born in Louisiana and have spent most of my life in the South, and I get cold really, really easily. If I’m visiting friends or family and my kid is safely occupied, I’m totally okay with pouring a boozy, cold-weather appropriate drink in an inconspicuous mug and settling down to watch the sunset while wearing my comfy wool socks.

Each of these drinks could be served at a wedding or in your living room, which means they’re all perfect. I tried to not skew too heavily on sangria (see also: my aforementioned love of wine), but guys, what can I say? When it’s autumn, it’s autumn, and few things speak to me like a glass or mug of something feisty and red. There’s something for Halloween, something for Christmas, and most definitely something for all the days in between.


Autumn Sangria with Apples, Pomegranates, and Figs via Heather Cristo

Sangria is one of my all-time faves, and the ingredients—apple wedges, figs, pomegranate seeds, chilled Prosecco, brandy and pomegranate juice—make this one is perfect for Halloween or Thanksgiving (and all the days in between).


Apple, Cranberry, and Ginger Vodka Cocktail via Drop Dead Gorgeous Daily

Fizzy drinks FTW, right? Maybe so, maybe no, but if you’re into fizz you’ll love this delightful mix of apple and cranberry juices and vodka. Plus, clearly you can accessorize with cute straws.


Pomegranate Rosemary Spritzer via A House in the Hills

This drink is beautiful to behold and sounds equally beautiful to experience, considering it brings together glitz and glam (aka Prosecco, aka the champagne I can afford, and some of autumn’s best offerings (pomegranates, heeeeey).


Apple Cider Sangria via The Kitchn

Oh look: more sangria! This one is ideal for Thanksgiving or for kicking off the holiday season right, and I totally encourage you to indulge. I picture myself drinking this around 8PM on a wintery night, wrapped in a blanket on my porch. It’s worth noting that I live in the South, so my “wintery night” is New England’s brisk autumn afternoon.


Apple Cider Moscow Mules via Sugar and Charm

Full disclosure: prior to writing this post, I had no idea what a Moscow Mule was, but I really love the bronze cups these seem to always be served in so I’m down for this drink. If you’ve been apple picking and still have a ton of cider left, this is the drink for you—but store-bought cider will work just as well.


Hot Rasapple-Rum Cider via HGTV

Ladies and gents, welcome to the drink that will keep you toasty when the outside world is trying to do the opposite! This cocktail combines apple cider, rum, Chambord, orange zest, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom. Mmmm.

halloween26 - A giant pumpkin spilling dry ice makes a spooky Halloween punch bowl. - Photo credit: HonestlyYUM (can also be used on wire)

Pumpkin Punch via Honestly Yum

Before you get all “Pumpkin Punch?! But October is almost over” let me remind you: pumpkins are basically a late September through late November staple, and you can drink pumpkin anything whenever you want (see also: pumpkin juice over breakfast, a la Harry Potter). Speaking of, I like to call this one grown-up pumpkin juice, and I’ll be making it several times this year.


Apple Cider Mimosas via The Cookie Rookie

Mimosas are my all-time favorite drink ever, because anything with champagne and juice is an instant win for me. I’m easy! It’s never occurred to me to blend apple cider and champagne, but I like the sound of it.


Harvest Sparkle via Fed and Fit

This drink is allegedly on the healthier side of things, which is cool, and includes cider spice-infused honey (did you know that’s a thing? Because I didn’t), smoky whiskey, and (surprise!) champagne or Prosecco, because… obviously.


Tullamore DEW Hot Toddy via Chilled Magazine

This is your standard hot toddy, made with Tullamore DEW, aka blended Irish whiskey that’ll keep your toes hopping even when the rest of you just wants to be tucked under as many layers as humanly possible. Promise!


La Llorona Martini via Muy Bueno Cookbook

This cocktail is another kind of Halloween themed (especially if you retell the creepy story that comes with the recipe), kind of anytime themed drink that I would actually love to try while hanging out near a Christmas tree.


The Grinch-Tini via The Cookie Rookie

Ho ho ho-ly moly, this drink a) is green, b) has sprinkles, and c) is named after The Grinch! This is easily the most festive cocktail of the bunch, and if you’re into all that is minty and bright (and a little sweet), it’s your jam.

Gallery Catering - Moon River - signature drink for an Evening at Tiffany's (1)

Coco Snowball Cocktail via Food.com

What happens when you mix vodka, rum, and blue curacao? You get an icy blue dream of a drink that will keep the chills away. At least, those caused by the weather.


Mr. Hyde Potion via HGTV

Vodka + Lavender syrup + Blackberries? I’m sold! This drink sounds delish, and it’s also extra beautiful.


Sex on a Snowbank via Nellie Bellie

If rolling around in the snow naked doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, maybe drinking this icy rum and coconut concoction does. Or hey: you could try to the former after downing one or two (or five) of the latter, if you want to.

Stephanie Kaloi

Stephanie is a photographer, writer, and Ravenclaw living in California with her family. She is super into reading, road trips, and adopting animals on a whim. Forewarning: all correspondence will probably include a lot of punctuation and emoji (!!! ? ? ?).

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  • emilyg25

    This is one of my favorite winter cocktails: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2014/12/fairytale-of-new-york/

    It has mulled syrup and whiskey!

    • kate

      YEP! and that mulled syrup is fantastic in myriad other cocktails too and probably even for other uses i haven’t though of yet. totally worth making even just for the cocktail options though, IMHO.

    • Lawyerette510

      Oh that Deb of Smitten Kitchen, I have yet to drink a bad cocktail from her site.

  • Bsquillo

    Every year I look at these and go “OOH, PRETTY,” then realize we don’t have any cocktail-making-stuff, and then just say, “Welp, looks like it’s straight bourbon again!” Which…is not a bad system for getting in the holiday spirit.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Pretty sure that’s the M.O. of at least half the staff! Except me. Because I have the taste buds of a 13-year-old. aka Bailey’s on the rocks. :)

    • Jess

      I have a whole bar of cocktail-making stuff. My go-to remains bourbon on the rocks. This is what I will forever call “winning”

  • Eenie

    A personal finance post AND a booze post in one day? APW – you know the way to my heart. I love making rosemary simple syrup and mixing it with prosseco, so I really want to try the Pomegranate Rosemary Spritzer.

    • eating words

      Rosemary simple syrup + prosecco? Why have I never thought of that?! Now I know what to do with our leftover wedding prosecco.

      • Eenie

        Delish. About 1-2 Tablespoons per wine glass. Adjust depending on your sweetness preference. I only drank this for NYE last year.

        • Jess

          Last NYE I only drank Elderflower Prosecco cocktails. This year, Rosemary Prosecco cockatails. It’s a theme.

          • Eenie

            How did you make the elderflower prosecco? I loved angry orchards elderflower cider. I need to switch it up this year.

          • eating words

            St. Germain and prosecco is awesome. You could probably also use elderflower syrup, but St. Germain is great.

          • Jess

            I found the recipe from a coffee table book, Speakeasy, out of the Employee’s Only bar in NY:

            2oz St Germain or other elderflower liquor (St Germain comes in a fancy bottle)
            4oz Brut Champagne, Prosecco, or Cava (I’ve used all of these, they are all great)
            2oz club soda (or just a splash, however you like it)
            Lemon slice

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  • Laura C

    If you like eggnog, best recipe ever. Plus it’s easy — you just dump a bunch of stuff in the blender. OMG, I want it now.

    Also one time I made a couple of these from the New York Times and they were good. Definitely made the apple smash and the milk punch, trying to remember if I did any others. But mostly I remember ending up pretty drunk on a Wednesday night (I had Reasons for making a bunch of cocktails on a weeknight, I promise).

  • eating words

    Yum, cocktails. Add to this list: hot cocoa with whiskey or even Campari (I know it sounds bizarre but seriously, just try it).

    • Lawyerette510

      Yes to hot cocoa + booze. Also, hot spiced cider + booze (especially whiskey or rum).

    • Jenny

      Also Cocoa with bailies, creme de menthe liqueur or Kailua (My tastes run like Maddie’s).

  • Thanks for a fall cocktail list that isn’t all hot chocolate and warm cider! I’m also in the south, and it’s 75 and sunny here right now– what am I going to do with hot chocolate? But one still wants one’s fall cocktails to taste of autumnal fruits and spices. These look delightful!

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