15 Beers and Cocktails to Spice Up the Holidays

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15 Beers and Cocktails to Spice Up the Holidays

With the holidays quickly approaching there are plenty of ways to spice up those traditional gatherings of friends and family. While many cocktails require tons of ingredients, here are a few drinks that include ingredients from your pantry and are a snap to make.

We like to think simple is better when it comes to holiday drinks, and the best part is you can even save or print these recipes later and enjoy them for years to come. Enjoy!

 

VODKA

The spirit of choice for most sweet cocktails. The right vodka is smooth and enhances the drink. Like many of you, we love a nice warm drink to cuddle up with on those frigid winter nights. We also really wanted to make a fun drink that can serve as a martini alternative.

Everyone loves those fancy flavored vodkas you can get in the store, but who knew that making the same thing only takes a few easily available treats and a bit of patience. Our Candy Cane Cocktail recipe is so easy you will wonder why you haven’t been making it for decades.

Next, we bring the heat with our Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate. A dazzling mix of cinnamon and pungent chili powder make drinking this a sweet and spicy match made in heaven! Put this drink out for Santa, and he will reward you with a couple extra presents. Hopefully, he won’t get too tipsy to drive his sleigh home!

And last but not least we have a classic flavor combo: mint and chocolate. Specifically, Oreos. Who doesn’t love Oreos? They are America’s favorite cookie. And our recipe has you combining piping hot chocolate with these amazing flavors and a bit of spirit to make your head spin. Keep extra ingredients on hand, your family will want seconds!

Candy Cane Cocktail
Candy Cane-infused vodka martini to sweeten your holiday party.
Ingredients
  1. 2 oz candy cane vodka
  2. 1 oz peppermint schnapps
  3. 1 oz maraschino cherry juice
Optional
  1. 1 oz lemon lime soft drink
To make Candy Cane sugar
  1. Place two candy canes in a chopper or blender and process into a granulated sugar.
  2. Rim cocktail glasses.
Make your martini
  1. Add candy cane vodka, peppermint schnapps, maraschino cherry juice and ice to a shaker
  2. Shake-shake-shake
  3. Strain into a rimmed cocktail glass
  4. If you’d like a little fizz to your drink add a little lemon lime soda
Notes
  1. If you want a quicker version of candy cane-infused vodka, crush the candy canes and mix with vodka in a mason jar. Leave for at least 15 min.
  2. Otherwise leave candy canes in vodka for at least 2 days for a stronger candy cane flavor.
Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate
Serves 1
Mexican hot chocolate with an added twist of vodka in lieu of tequila for a smoother spike
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup milk
  2. 3 tablespoons Abuelita chocolate
  3. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  4. Pinch of cinnamon
  5. 2 oz vodka
  6. whipped cream
Instructions
  1. Combine milk, chocolate, chili powder and cinnamon in a saucepan over low heat until chocolate brick is dissolved. Alternatively, heat in the microwave in 30 second increments.
  2. Add combination into shaker and add 2 oz of vodka
  3. Pour into glass
  4. Top with whipped cream
  5. Lightly dust with cinnamon and nutmeg
Spiked Oreo Hot Chocolate
Silky Oreo and white hot chocolate drink spiked with a smooth vodka.
Ingredients
  1. 1 oz vodka
  2. 1 cup of your choice hot chocolate (white hot chocolate is preferred, but we get it if white isn’t your thing)
  3. 3 Oreos
  4. Optional marshmallows for garnish
Instructions
  1. Add vodka, hot chocolate, and Oreo mint cookies to a blender.
  2. Blend mixture then reheat.
Notes
  1. You can add a bit more kick with some vodka-infused whipped cream.

 

WHISKEY

Ahh, whiskey, that soothing brown liquor that warms the heart and loosens the mind. Long shunned in favor of white spirits or beer, whiskey, along with other brown spirits, are making a comeback in popularity.

Our two recipes include a classic Manhattan that will never steer you wrong and a quick, easy way to spice up your coffee after Christmas dinner.

The secret to our spiced Irish coffee is the spices — nutmeg and cinnamon. They give the drink complexity and layers of flavor that linger on your tongue long after the sharp bite of the whiskey falls off. This drink has been a favorite during long winter nights at the office!

 

Classic Manhattan
Serves 1
Just your typical Manhattan to sip before a roaring fire.
Ingredients
  1. 2 oz whiskey (bourbon or rye)
  2. 1 oz vermouth
  3. 2 dashes of Bitters
  4. 1-2 maraschino cherries
  5. Ice
Instructions
  1. Stir in bourbon, vermouth and bitters well with ice and top it all off with a cherry.
  2. Some prefer to add a few teaspoons of cherry juice.
Spiced Irish Coffee
Ingredients
  1. 1 & 1/2 freshly brewed hot coffee
  2. 1 oz whiskey
  3. 1 tablespoon sugar
  4. Cream to taste
  5. Nutmeg and cinnamon to taste
  6. Optional: top with whipped cream
Instructions
  1. Prepare coffee as normal, stir in cream, sugar, whiskey, and spices.
  2. Add whipped cream or milk froth if desired.
Notes
  1. If you do not normally take cream and sugar, add cinnamon instead.

CHAMPAGNE

What drink says “celebration” better than Champagne? Maybe Jager bombs, but that is a different kind of celebration entirely.

And that is exactly what the holidays should be: a celebration of friends, family, health, and presents! (We love presents, if you hadn’t guessed already.)

Our first recipe will have you dreaming of a warm Mexican beach even though it is negative twenty and your car is snowed in. Winter Sangria…what is this madness you say? Oh, but you have to try it, it is soooo good. Yum!

Pomegranate and Apple Sangria
Ingredients
  1. 2 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  2. 2 cups apple cider
  3. 750ml bottle champagne, chilled
  4. 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Instructions
  1. Add the apples to a large pitcher reserving about 1/2 cup for garnish.
  2. Add apple cider and chilled Champagne.
  3. Stir.
  4. Fill the pitcher with ice.
  5. Pour the sangria into glasses and top with sliced apple and pomegranate seeds.
Notes
  1. Non-alcoholic version: You can easily make this a non-alcoholic sangria by removing the Champagne and subbing seltzer water or club soda.


GIN

Aqua Vita, the water of life, or gin by its more common name, is a complex, sordid and winding spirit. This spirit is a love-hate relationship for many. The wonder fresh smell of juniper berries is incredibly intoxicating. Gin is a drink that is meant to be mixed; it comes to life with the combination of herbs, fruits, and spices. It’s no wonder that it was once used as medicine in childbirth. Now, there are very few limits to the hundreds of ingredients a distillery can use. Some gins have as few as three or four botanical flavors, others can use as many as 31. Flavors range from cucumber and rose to lavender, lemongrass and black pepper.

The Winter Cranberry Martini is a slightly sweetened but refreshing twist on a classic martini. Plus, the addition of the rosemary is a twist to die for.

Our last recipe is a bit less adventurous and has been around for ages. A French 75 will appeal to a wide variety of palates and temperaments if people aren’t on board with your crazy winter sangria idea. Cheers!

Winter Cranberry Martini
Winter fusion of fresh rosemary and cranberry.
Ingredients
  1. 2 oz gin
  2. 1 oz 100% cranberry juice
  3. 1 oz vermouth
  4. Pomegranate seeds
  5. Rosemary (garnish)
Instructions
  1. Add: ice, gin, and cranberry juice to a cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake to chill.
  3. Pour into a chilled martini glass and garnish.
Notes
  1. The scent of rosemary will provide a wonderfully fresh contribution to the martini.
French 75
A delicious light and airy take on a spritzer.
Ingredients
  1. 2 oz gin
  2. 1 teaspoon of superfine sugar
  3. 1/2 oz lemon juice
  4. 5 oz brute Champagne
Instructions
  1. Shake well with ice in cocktail shaker
  2. Strain into a glass half-full of ice
  3. Top off with Champagne

BEERS

And last but not least, a staple of all holiday celebrations: a delicious, ice cold beer.

The number of craft beers popping up in the recent years are staggering and it can be hard to keep up. Here are a few of our favorites that go well with warm holiday cheer and heavy family feasts.

Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale

A great intro beer for people who have yet to tray a winter or Christmas ale. This year marks their forty-first annual Christmas Ale and is only some from November to mid January. Many rave about the consistancy and the uniquness of their holiday ales and the ingredients are kept top secret. The recipes change every year so make sure you get your hands on a couple of these before they are sold out.

Lagunitas Brown Shugga’

A deep, full body brown ale made with dark brown cane sugar. Originally created by accident, it has become one of this craft brewer’s top selling items. It pairs scrumptiously with a slice of pie after dinner.

Deschutes Jubelale

This festive winter ale is a great substitute for after dinner coffee if you are feeling a bit frisky. It has strong toffee notes with a hint of fruitiness and a strong hoppy bite at the end to clear your palate for the next delicious sip. One of our favorites!

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

This warm Christmas ale is a flavor trip you won’t soon forget. Notes of marzipan, licorice, mint, apricot and molasses combine in perfect symphony to give this ale a complex and intoxicating mix of flavors.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Once only available in Ohio, this Christmas ale is coveted by Midwesterners everywhere. While the recipes changed with the different local suppliers, the overall strength of the ale has remained. The fresh taste of honey cinnamon and ginger are perfect for that turkey or roasted duck.

Original Sin Elderberry Cider

While we all love the refreshing drinks for the holidays, I did not have cider until I moved to the Midwest when I was 11. The first time I had this cider I fell in love. It was tart, light and refreshing with wonderful notes of elderberry that leaves a juicy ripe flavor that isn’t to light or too sweet. It’s perfect with cheeses before a meal or while relaxing during a game of cards.

Leprechaun Pomegranate Cranberry Cider

Ciders have been exploding in popularity lately, but a lot of them can be cloyingly sweet to the point where you feel like your teeth are going to fall out. Not so with the Leprechaun Pomegranate Cranberry Cider. The folks over there managed to balance the sweet, luxurious flavors of these two winter fruits with a crisp clean cider taste that doesn’t overpower. A great way to get your pre-dinner buzz going before your aunt starts talking politics.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HOLIDAY DRINK? DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL SECRET RECIPE THAT YOU ONLY PULL OUT ONCE A YEAR AS TO NOT RUIN THE MAGIC?