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The 40 Best Holiday Cocktails

December 02, 2021

From classic Christmas quaffs and winter warmers to perfect party punches and mocktails, we’ve got recipes and pro tips for every toast you’ll make this season. Relax by the fire and let us handle the drinks.

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Photo: Jalynn Baker

Can We Get You a Drink?

As humorist David Sedaris says of his own clan, “no amount of physical contact could match the healing powers of a well made cocktail.” As this most unusual year draws to a close, we’re all for making the most of both — all the hugs, all the beverages! — and we’re here with expert assistance on the latter. So, ready your bar cart, prep the garnishes, invite over your nearest and dearest and raise a glass to the holiday season.

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Spiced Pear Sangria With Champagne

This elegant infusion is all about clever (and easy) prep: Throw its spiced-pear mixture together the night before you’re expecting guests to give the fruit time to soak up flavor. Just before party time, top off each serving with a bit of bubbly. Dispense modest “oh, it’s just a little something I had in the fridge!” responses as needed.

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Merry Mint-inis

If your vision of holiday cocktails is a Technicolor one, this is clearly the format in which to serve them. These eye-popping combos of gin, citrus, crème de menthe and peppermint syrup deserve the ornamental treatment, no? We mean that figuratively, mind you: Spring for durable, reusable plastic baubles to make the most of the look and minimize the risk of yuletide medical emergencies.

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Spiked Apple Cider

A dash of maple syrup balances bright apple brandy and lemon juice just beautifully in this celebration of fresh-pressed cider. Garnished with sliver-thin fruit slices and served in coupes you’ve chilled in the freezer (you’re chilling your coupes in the freezer before cocktail hour, right?), this evocative seasonal treat is the perfect welcome drink.

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