Festive cocktails and mocktails for your holiday gathering

Serve up some holiday drinks that feel festive with hints of wintery flavors like cinnamon and clove. Mull, dash, infuse, then pour these alcoholic and non-alcoholic concoctions and spice things up (literally) during your holiday gatherings this season!

By: Noël Russell + Save to a List

Mull it

In my opinion, mulled drinks make any gathering feel festive. You might be one of the lucky ones who’ve sipped mulled wine or cider by the fire. But even so, you’ve likely only scratched the surface of all the beverages that can be enhanced by the magic of mulling – a process which involves heating a liquid and adding sugar, fruit and/or spices.

This holiday season, try mulling your favorite whiskey or rum with a handful of cloves, cinnamon sticks, dried orange peel, and cardamom pods. Or, toss an assortment of spices into a pot of pear cider or pomegranate juice and let it simmer. Intimidated by making your own mulling mixture? Opt to order the ultimate combo from Oaktown Spice Shop and get cooking!

Dash it

Bitters might be the most underestimated upgrade to your bar. Not only do bitters allow you to get creative without a lot of work, they can transform adored sunny-season recipes into new fall and winter favorites. 

Makeover your must-have margarita recipe by adding a few dashes of smoked bitters or revamp your beloved Boulevardier with a couple drops of spiced cranberry bitters. If you end up catching the bitter bug like I did, Bitters & Bottles has you covered with bunches more to experiment with.

Infuse it

Infusing your most-loved spirits is another underrated bar boost. Try adding dried citrus peels and cinnamon sticks to your preferred agave spirit or rum. Or, soak some sliced apples and vanilla beans in a delicious bourbon. 

To start, sterilize a few jars by washing them with soap and water and then placing them in boiling water for 15 minutes. Or, stick them in the dishwasher on the "sterilize" setting. This step should kill bacteria and ensure you have a clean container that won't add unwanted flavors to your brew.

Next, fill the jars with winter flavors like cloves, sliced pears, or even cacao nibs. Cover the mix with your spirit of choice, and tuck the jar away for a few days. Infusion times vary by ingredients, so do some online research on timing before you get started. 

Tip: Find a concoction that strikes your fancy? Make a few extra jars to give away as holiday gifts!

Swap it

Want to impress friends, family, and yourself with the joy of sipping libations without the worry of designated driver assignments? There are some wonderful non-alcoholic spirits that allow everyone the opportunity to enjoy a holiday drink. 

Opt for Monday gin and add some Pinterest-worthy festive garnishes in your holiday G&T. Or, sub Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey in your next Maple-Bourbon Smash. No need to slow your roll when you’re slanging booze-free beverages all night long. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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