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Ok, so you’ve laid in a supply of wine, beer, and sparkling water. Maybe even some hard cider and fun sodas. But what makes a holiday gathering – Christmas, New Year’s, the Festivus for the Restivus, an open-house brunch — special is a cocktail. For a smaller gathering, you may want to make the drinks in small batches on demand in a shaker. For a larger group, a pitcher cocktail is just the thing — make-ahead and a big batch.

Champagne filling a long-stemmed glass for a French 75.

Now, the choices begin. Citrusy? Sangria? Herbaceous? Gin, vodka, bourbon? So many ways to go. Find the right drink to welcome your guests. Also, think about offering a mocktail, as not everyone is a tippler (or they may need a break from the booziness of the season). Read on for 22 tempting holiday cocktail recipes!

Cocktail Recipes for the Holidays: What makes a holiday gathering – Christmas, New Year’s, an open-house – special is a fabulous cocktail. 

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22 Easy Holiday Cocktails

Vodka Prosecco Cocktail

Vodka Prosecco Cocktail

Herby and sparkling and refreshing – a great cocktail at any time of year (perfect for brunch)!

Manhattan Cocktail in a rocks glass.

Manhattan Cocktail

This classic cocktail instantly makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a swanky bar, or maybe even gone back in time. 

Boulevardier Cocktail in a small glass.

Boulevardier Cocktail

The classic cocktail made with whiskey or bourbon, sweet vermouth and Campari, garnished with a cherry and/or an orange twist!

Woman holding two Cosmo Cocktails in long-stemmed glasses.

Cosmo Cocktail

Just because Sex in the City has ended doesn't mean we can't still love this classic pink cocktail!

Sparkling Mint Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail

Sparkling Mint Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail

This pink Champagne drink is the most festive way to kick off a gathering, with all kinds of sweet-tart flavor.

Pitcher Red Cocktail for the Holidays

Red Pomegranate Pitcher Cocktail for the Holidays

This pitcher drink is a stunning color, nicely citrusy and the tiniest bit tart. Perfect when you are hosting a crowd, and want to offer something special without stirring up individual drinks!

Espresso Martini topped with coffee beans and a slice of orange rind.

Espresso Martini

This drink was apparently invented to wake you up, and "bleep" you up!

Old Fashioned in a rocks glass.

Old Fashioned Cocktail

A simple recipe for the timeless, classic cocktail.

Woman holding a Mojito in a tall glass.


This refreshing and perennially popular rum and fresh mint cocktail is a perfect summer sipper.

Basil Ginger Lemon Saketini

Basil Ginger Lemon Saketini

This is one refreshing cocktail.

Cranberry Orange Shrub / Katie Workman / / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

Cranberry Orange Shrub

This slightly sweet, slightly tart fruity drink can be made as a mocktail or a cocktail, and is perfect for holiday gatherings.

Pisco Sour with Prosciutto and Melon

Pisco Sour

How to make the classic shaken Peruvian cocktail at home!

Woman grabbing a long-stemmed glass of French 75.

French 75

This popular classic cocktail is sparkling and citrusy, and can spark up any festive gathering or brunch.

Orange Champagne Mule

Orange Champagne Mule

A citrusy, sparkling cocktail, perfect for brunch, pairing with appetizers, or just drinks with friends.

Blood Orange Pomegranate Screwdriver / Katie Workman / / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

Blood Orange Pomegranate Screwdriver

Not harder to make than a regular screwdriver….but oh, the color!

Two Pomelo Palomas in small glasses.

Pitcher Pomelo Palomas

Citrusy, refreshing, and customizable with your choice of alcohol. Not to mention drop-dead gorgeous, this big batch drink is perfect for a party.

Orange White Wine Campari Sangria in glasses and a pitcher.

Orange White Wine Campari Sangria

Bright, and delicious, the prettiest orange, this refreshing cocktail is perfect year round.

Hot Toddy in a glass mug.

Hot Toddy

Let's all take precautions and pre-emptively bolster our immunity with a hot toddy, a warm cocktail to get us through the winter.

Pomegranate Orange Mocktail with Mint / Carrie Crow / Katie Workman /

Pomegranate Orange Mocktail with Mint

No booze in this refreshing drink.

Homemade (Eggless!) Egg Nog

Homemade (Eggless!) Egg Nog

This is the classic holiday drink, with all of the creaminess and flavor, but skipping the raw eggs.

Pitcher pouring Coquito into a glass.


Creamy and coconutty and boozy, this Puerto Rican Eggnog (without the egg!) is a holiday staple that turns a gathering into a party.

Frozen Pomegranate and Citrus Cocktail

Frozen Pomegranate and Citrus Cocktail

Frozen red happiness in a glass.