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A Mixologist’s Guide: Tasty Holiday Drinks Recipes

Get your holiday on with a round of spirited and nonalcoholic recipes that are a drinksmaster's guaranteed party hits.

1 / 16

Yule Mule

Mixologist Elayne Duff, brand ambassador for Diageo Reserve, calls this drink “the perfect alternative to the heavy, rich flavors of traditional holiday cocktails.”

How to make it:
• 1 and 1/2 ounces vodka (Duff recommends Ketel One)
• 1 ounce ginger beer
• 1/2 ounce cranberry juice
• 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
• Orange bitters

1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
2. Pour vodka, cranberry juice, fresh lime juice and orange bitters over ice and stir.
3. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a lime wedge.

If you’re not a mixologist, give Costco’s boozy eggnog a try. 

2 / 16

Zacapa Perfect Manhattan

“The ultimate classic with a twist,” says Duff. “Instead of a Manhattan made with whiskey, this cocktail uses the rich flavors of Zacapa Rum 23, a barrel aged rum hailing from Guatemala.”

How to make it:
• 1 ounce Zacapa 23 Rum
• 1/3 ounce dry vermouth
• 1/3 ounce sweet vermouth
• 1 dash of bitters
• 1 teaspoon of honey syrup
• orange twist for garnish

1. Combine Zacapa Rum 23, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, bitters, and honey syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice.
2. Shake well and strain into a martini glass.
3. Garnish with orange twist.

3 / 16

Jolly Don

“The perfect drink to toast to any holiday festivity,” says Duff.

How to make it:
• 1/2 ounce tequila (Duff recommends Don Julio Blanco)
• 1/2 ounce peach puree
• 1/4 ounce cane sugar simple syrup
• Champagne (Duff recommends Moet Imperial Champagne)
• Raspberries

1. Combine tequila, peach puree, cane sugar simple syrup, and splash of champagne into a champagne flute.
2. Garnish with a raspberry.

4 / 16

Merry Berry

“The ultimate adult indulgence,” says Duffy.

How to make it:
• 1 ounce Baileys Original Irish Cream
• 1/2 ounce chocolate raspberry vodka (Duffy recommends Godiva)
• 1/4 ounce anisette liqueur or absinthe
• 3 fresh raspberries

1. Shake all ingredients and strain into shot glass.
2. Finish with dollop of whipped cream.

5 / 16

Toasted Marshmallow

“Sure to impress guests at your holiday soiree,” says Duffy.

How to make it:

• 3/4 ounce of chocolate vodka (Duffy recommends Godiva)
• 3/4 ounce of Smirnoff Fluffed Vodka
• 1/4 ounce Baileys Original Irish Cream

1. Shake and strain into shot glass.

2. Finish with dollop of marshmallow fluff.
3. Rest small chocolate bar square and small graham cracker on top.

6 / 16

Mulled Wine Punch

How to make it:
• 2 × 25 fl oz. (750 ml) bottles red wine
• 12 fl oz. (370 ml) ruby port
• 12 fl oz. (370 ml) water
• 2 level tbsp. sugar
• 8 tsp. lemon juice
• 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
• 1/2 tsp. cinnamon or 1-in. (2.5-cm) cinnamon stick, if preferred
• 4 cloves
• 1 large ripe orange, sliced


1. Take a large saucepan with a lid and add all of the other ingredients, bar the orange, and stir.
2. Heat the wine gently, but do not allow to boil. When it starts to simmer, turn the heat down a little to keep the wine hot.
3. If serving the mulled wine from a tureen or other heatproof bowl, fill with hot water to warm through. Wipe dry just before adding the wine. Add orange slices just before serving.
4. Use a ladle, or a small jug, with a lip to transfer the hot liquid to the glasses or cups easily. Keep a cloth handy for drips.

7 / 16

Basic Liqueur Coffee

How to make it:

• 1/2 fl oz. (15 ml) preferred alcohol
• 5 fl oz. (150 ml) hot black coffee
• 1/2 tsp. sugar
• whipping cream
• grated chocolate for topping (optional)


1. Pour chosen alcohol into the cup or heatproof glass. Add the coffee. Stir in the sugar, as this helps keep the cream and coffee layers separate.
2. Whip the cream until thick but still of a pouring consistency. Gently pour over the back of a teaspoon to float on the black coffee.

8 / 16

Berry Martini

How to make it:
• 9 oz. (250 g) mixed berries
• 1 & 1/2 tbsp. confectioners’ (icing) sugar
• juice of 1/2 lemon
• 5 fl oz. (150 ml) water
• 8 fl oz. (240 ml) vodka
• 3 fl oz. (90 ml) crème de cassis
• 6 bay leaves


1. Blend the fruit in a food processor, then push it through a sieve to remove any seeds.
2. Mix the purée with the rest of the ingredients, stirring to create a smooth mixture.
3. Chill the mixture. Make a slit in each bay leaf from the edge to the center vein. Pour out the berry martinis, then adorn each glass with a single leaf before serving.

9 / 16

Bourbon Triple Sour

How to make it:
• 1 fl oz. (30 ml) bourbon
• 1 fl oz. (30 ml) triple sec
• 1 fl oz. (30 ml) lemon juice
• 1 tsp. sugar syrup
• ice
• 1 slice of apple
• 1 green olive


1. Place the liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker with some ice. Shake to blend the ingredients. Strain into a glass and add apple slice and olive to garnish.

10 / 16

Rose Sparkle

How to make it:
• 1 fl oz. (30 ml) Southern Comfort
• 1/2 fl oz. (15 ml) strawberry liqueur
• 3 fl oz. (90 ml) Champagne
• 1 fl oz. (30 ml) tonic
• 4 strawberry chunks
• 3 orange chunks


1. Mix the Southern Comfort and strawberry liqueur together. Pour into a flute. Add the Champagne and tonic and stir. Finally, add the fruit chunks with a spoon to avoid spills.

11 / 16

Champagne Cocktails

How to make it:
• 1/4 pint (150 ml) brandy
• 6 sugar cubes
• 9 oz. (250 g) raspberries (frozen are fine if fresh not available)
• 1 × 25 fl oz. (750 ml) bottle Champagne or sparkling wine
• 1/4 cup (55 g) superfine (caster) sugar


1. Pour in 1 fl oz. (30 ml) brandy into each of six Champagne flutes, then pop in the sugar cube. Add a generous amount of raspberries to each flute, then top up with Champagne or sparkling wine.

12 / 16

Bloody Caesar

How to make it:
• 1 fl oz. (30 ml) vodka
• 5 fl oz. (150 ml) clamato juice
• 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
• 1 dash Tabasco® sauce
• pinch salt and pepper
• celery salt
• 1 celery stick
• 1 lime wedge


1. Rim a tall glass with celery salt and fill with ice. Pour the vodka, clamato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco® sauce, and salt and pepper over the ice. Garnish with the celery stick and lime wedge. Alternatively you could make a Bloody Mary, simply by replacing clamato juice with tomato juice and follow the recipe above.

13 / 16

Mocha Magic (Nonalcoholic)

How to make it:
• 1 & 1/4 cups (1/2 pint/300 ml) freshly made strong black coffee
• 4 tbsp. chocolate-flavored syrup
• light brown sugar, to taste
• 5/8 cup (1/4 pint/150 ml) heavy cream, lightly whipped
• mini chocolate flake bar and coffee beans, to garnish


1. Pour the coffee into two heatproof glasses and stir in the liqueur. Add sugar to taste, stirring until it has dissolved.
2. Top each coffee with large spoonfuls of whipped cream. Sprinkle over the chocolate flake and add a coffee bean to each glass. Serve at once.

14 / 16

Hot Wassail (Nonalcoholic)

How to make it:
• 4 cups (1 3/4 pint/1 liter) unsweetened apple juice
• 4 cups (1 3/4 pint/1 liter) unsweetened pineapple juice
• 2 cups (3/4 pint/500 ml) cranberry juice
• 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 3 whole cloves
• 10 lemon slices


1. Place all the ingredients into a large saucepan and heat until simmering. On a low heat, simmer for at least 10 minutes before serving in a heat-proof glass with a slice of lemon.

15 / 16

Mango, Peach, and Apricot Fizz (Nonalcoholic)

How to make it:
• 1 ripe mango
• 1 ripe peach
• 2 large ripe apricots
• 2 & 1/4 cups (18 fl oz./500 ml) ginger ale
• fresh mint or lemon balm leaves, to garnish (optional)


1. Peel the mango and cut the flesh away from the central seed. Roughly chop the flesh and put it into a blender or food processor. (Alternatively, if you are using a stick blender, put the mango in a large tall jug).
2. Cover the peach and apricots with boiling water and leave for about 30 seconds, then drain and cool under cold water. Slip off the skins and roughly chop the flesh, discarding the pits. Add the flesh to the mango in the blender or food processor.
3. Pour enough of the ginger ale over just to cover the fruit, then process until smooth. Pour in the remaining ginger ale and process again.
4. Quickly pour into tall glasses, preferably over crushed ice. Decorate with fresh mint or lemon balm leaves, if you like. Serve immediately with wide straws or swizzle sticks.

16 / 16

Banana and Lime Smoothie (Nonalcoholic)

How to make it:
• 1 banana
• 3/4 cup (6 fl oz./180 ml) pineapple juice
• juice of 1/2 lime
• finely grated zest of 1 lime (optional)


1. Peel the banana and cut it into small chunks. Place it in a blender or food processor.
2. Add the pineapple and lime juices. For a stronger citrus flavour, also add lime zest to taste. Whizz until the mixture is smooth, but do not overblend.
3. Pour into a tall glass. Sprinkle with additional lime zest, if desired.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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