22 Genius Cocktail Ideas to Shake Up the Holidays

‘Tis the season to be jolly.

By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on December 6, 2022

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—especially when you have a glass of something festive between your fingertips. After all, nothing gets the party started like a pitcher of creamy, rum-spiked eggnog or negroni-inspired sangría. Whether you’re making mixed drinks for you and a loved one or whipping up a punch bowl for a crowd, these recipes (including a couple of fantastic nonalcoholic numbers) will have you off to a running start. 

This sweet-tart wine punch, enlivened with fresh orange, lemon, and lime, was a favorite refreshment at the Junior League of Houston book club in the 1970s. Get the recipe >

It seems like divine intervention that the cocktail sweeping America is the negroni sbagliato (you know, with prosecco in it): The bubbly, cranberry-red tipple is festive enough for the holidays and boozy enough to help put up with your weird uncle. We’ve batched the viral drink—and added a bit of campy flair (rosé vermouth, come through!)—to dream up the world’s first sbagliato sangría. Get the recipe >

Caribbean Sorrel (Nonalcoholic)

Not to be confused with the tart leafy green of the same name, sorrel is what Jamaicans call hibiscus. In this nonalcoholic cocktail, the sepals of the deep pink flowers steep with soul-warming spices and sugar to make a heady, floral beverage. Get the recipe >

Freshly whipped cream gets folded into this rum-spiked ‘nog, giving it a fluffy, snowy feel. Get the recipe >

This cider concentrate makes your kitchen smell divine. For a quick, warming drink, spoon three tablespoons into a large mug and fill with just-boiled water. This recipe comes to us from Marisa McClellan, author of Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round. Get the recipe >

The first written account of the old fashioned—though one made with gin—appears in Jerry Thomas' 1866 bartending guide How to Mix Drinks: The Bon Vivant's Companion. The secret to ours is a “rich” simple syrup made from 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, rather than the typical 1:1 ratio. It makes for a less diluted, more textured drink. Get the recipe >

Fresh-pressed sugarcane juice mellows out this zippy ginger-lime rum cocktail. Get the recipe >

Gin, Campari, and lemon are an obvious match made in heaven, but adding an egg white helps mellow and integrate these flavors without muting them while contributing a wonderfully silky texture. Get the recipe >

This riff on the old fashioned cocktail will appeal to anyone who enjoys a scotch-based drink. It’s floral and nuanced, thanks to chamomile syrup, and subtly smoky from the Dalwhinnie 15 Year. Get the recipe >

Herbs make a bang-up gin pairing, and this martini variation laced with fresh, aromatic basil is no exception. Get the recipe >

Whiskey, tamarind, and a pleasantly bitter gentian-flavored liqueur combine in this elegant punch concocted by New York City cocktail bar The Dead Rabbit. Get the recipe >

Rye whiskey, caraway, and chai masala are a match made in heaven, as proven by this autumnal punch garnished with pear slices. Get the recipe >

Bright, botanical, and pleasantly astringent, the “No. 2” is the most enduring of the many so-called Corpse Revivers, a family of cocktails created in the 19th century named for its purported hangover-curing properties. Get the recipe >

Remember the Seabreeze cocktail? It was born of Massachusetts' wealth of cranberries and inspired this crimson punch made with gin, rosemary syrup, and champagne. Get the recipe >

The perfumy and refreshing blend of elderflower liqueur, dry vermouth, and prosecco makes this gentle cocktail a year-round standby. In the colder months, opt for fresh cranberries for a seasonally-appropriate garnish. Get the recipe >

This margarita-inspired drink draws its acidity and fruity sweetness from fresh lime juice and mandarin liqueur and its deep savory notes from fish sauce and chiles. Get the recipe >

We love this Irish whiskey-centric take on the classic triple sec-and-cognac sidecar cocktail, first credited to the Ritz Hotel in Paris. Get the recipe >

The peaty smoke of Connemara single malt Irish whiskey is offset by chocolate and citrus flavors in this darkly sophisticated nightcap (or party-starter). Get the recipe >

Based on the Blood and Sand, a famous Prohibition-era cocktail, this Irish tipple substitutes fruit-forward spirits for the original vermouth and adds blood orange juice. Get the recipe >

This supremely Instagrammable ruby-hued cocktail blends rum, lime, ginger, and beet juice. Get the recipe >

Up your entertaining game with this pitch-perfect sangría from one of America’s most storied Spanish restaurants. Get the recipe >

This fruity, slightly smoky gin and raspberry punch has just enough mezcal to make it interesting, without making it too pungent or cloying. The recipe comes from cocktail historian David Wondrich, author of Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl. Get the recipe >

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