Ah, the holidays. The time of year when the pressure mounts to find the greatest gifts, throw the best parties, and wear the ugliest sweaters [to said parties]. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a lil’ guide to help take away some of the stress of all that party planning—at least as far as delicious adult libations are concerned.
If your friends are craft beer aficionados, it can be daunting to try to figure out which brews are best for your crew. So why not throw a beer tasting party—potluck style? Have everyone bring a large bottle or six-pack of one or two of their favorite beers, then pour each beer into a “taster” glass (a.k.a. shot glass) for each guest. To make it really interesting, design some sort of beer scorecard; everyone can write down their remarks, and then take their card home for future use. Whoever’s beer gets the overall best score “wins” and gets a prize—and the loser gets to clean everything up (#sorrynotsorry).
Similar ideas to consider:
- A wine tasting party arranged by region or variety (bonus: it’ll give you a little prep for that very important New Year’s champagne toast coming up).
- A craft cider tasting—over the past few years, craft ciders have really taken off. There are all kinds of interesting choices out there, and if your crew isn’t that into beer or wine, this is a great alternative.
- A whiskey tasting—there are so many great small-batch distilleries popping up all over the state (and country), and with the cooler temps moving in, it’s the perfect time to warm up with a sampling of whiskies.
OK, let’s step back for a second. If the above sounds like it’s going to take too much planning and participation from your friends, we get it. Don’t worry: we’ve still got you covered. Behold—below we’ve put together a few cocktail ideas that you can use as your “signature” drink at your holiday shindig.
Mexican Hot Chocolate
Here are several recipes: https://www.yummly.com/recipes/mexican-hot-chocolate-alcohol
Combine 1oz Cognac, 1oz rum, 1oz lemon juice, 1oz simple syrup, and five dashes of bitters. Pour into a glass with a lemon wheel studded with cloves, and then pour boiling water on top to fill the glass.
Sparkling Cranberry Cocktail
Muddle a few cranberries with a sugar cube in a champagne flute, then fill with sparkling wine or champagne. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
Pour 2oz apple brandy, a splash of maple syrup, and three dashes of bitters into a shaker with plenty of ice. Shake and strain into an Old Fashioned glass, and garnish with an orange twist.
Pour 2oz Midori, ½oz lemon juice, and 1tsp simple syrup into a shaker with plenty of ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass with a maraschino cherry garnish. We promise that this sweet and fruity drink will lighten up even your biggest Grinch.
Having a party with non-drinkers and/or kids? How about setting up a hot chocolate or soda bar? There are all kinds of fun toppings and flavor add-ins you can mix with hot chocolate to kick it up a notch—no alcohol necessary. And who doesn’t love a good ol’ Shirley Temple or Roy Rogers drink?
Do you have a favorite winter cocktail you’d like to share? Please mention it in the comments! We’d love to hear your ideas.