By CINDY COOPWOOD and KELLI WILLIAMS • Photography by RORY DOYLE
Festive seasonal cocktails to kick off—or cap off—your holiday gatherings
What better way to celebrate our favorite family gatherings than with seasonal fall and winter cocktails? With a nod to the autumn harvest, apples feature prominently in several of these festive libations. Kick off your Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving with a refreshing Apple Cider Spritz, or cap off a holiday dinner with a Warm Apple Crisp. Others will warm your bones after chilly nights Christmas caroling or trimming the tree. Cheers to a happy holiday season!
It may be called “after-ski” wine but this festive libation is also perfect to warm up after a round of Christmas caroling or the local parade!
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 bottle of any type of red wine
In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon stick.
Heat the mixture until boiling and then turn it down to simmer.
Squeeze the orange over the pot to capture the juice and place the orange’s peel and the cloves in the liquid. Let the mixture simmer for half an hour, to thicken slightly.
When ready to serve, add the entire bottle of wine and heat the mixture until it begins to steam.
Ladle the drink into glasses and serve!
Pumpkin Spice White Russian
Sometimes the easy way just works! We love the hack of using store-bought pumpkin spice creamer in this twist on the classic White Russian!
3 ounces good quality vodka
3ounces pumpkin spice creamer
1.5 ounces Kahlua, or your favorite
whipped cream and pumpkin
pie spice for garnish
For the rim:
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons crushed
For the rim, mix pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, and crushed graham crackers on a plate. Dip the rim of your glasses in water and then into the graham cracker mix to coat.
For the drink, add vodka, pumpkin spice creamer, and coffee liqueur into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake to combine.
Pour the mixture into rimmed glasses, and top with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice to serve!
This recipe serves 2, and only takes a few minutes to prepare. This creamy pumpkin drink makes the perfect fall cocktail!
Tip: How to whip heavy cream: Pour the cream into a chilled metal bowl. Add powdered sugar to taste—we used about 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar per cup of cream. Using a hand mixer, start whipping the cream until it forms stiff peaks. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Apple Cider Aperol Spritz
This Aperol spritz cocktail is the perfect fall cocktail and a great way to kick off all your special autumn occasions from Friendsgiving to Thanksgiving to fall dinner parties!
1 ounce Aperol
3 ounces apple cider
3 ounces Prosecco
sliced apples, cinnamon sticks, and thyme leaf for garnish
club soda as needed
Add ice to a stemless wine glass until it is almost full.
Pour the spiced apple cider, Aperol and Prosecco into the glass. Top off the mixture with a splash of club soda to fill the glass.
Give it a stir and garnish with a slice of apple, cinnamon stick and a thyme leaf. Enjoy!
Cranberry Christmas Punch
Nothing could be simpler or more family-friendly than this refreshing non-alcoholic holiday punch.
1 64-ounce bottle cranberry juice
2 cups orange juice (low acid is best)
2 cups lemon-lime flavored soda
1 orange, sliced
1 lime, sliced
sugar to taste, optional
Place slices of orange and lime in bottom of large punch bowl or pitcher. Mix all punch ingredients together and pour on top. Serve ice cold.
Tip: Make ice cubes with punch instead of water to prevent the punch from being watered down. The punch will stay cold without being watery.
Tip: For an adult version of the holiday punch, a bottle of chilled champagne or Prosecco may be added or substituted for the lemon-lime soda.
S’mores Hot Chocolate
Kids and adults alike will love this elevated childhood favorite. It’s perfect for a cozy night around the fire or for a night of watching Christmas movies!
graham cracker crumbs
Preheat oven to broil and have a sheet pan handy.
Make your favorite homemade recipe or keep it simple and use a store-bought mix. To assemble, fill each mug with hot chocolate, and top with a generous handful of marshmallows. Carefully set mugs on the baking sheet in the oven and broil marshmallows until browned, watching carefully not to let them burn.
Carefully remove from the oven, and quickly drizzle with chocolate sauce and top with graham cracker crumbs. Enjoy while warm—mugs should cool quickly for handling. If desired, serve with additional graham crackers and chocolate bars for even more s’mores flavor!
Warm Apple Crisp
A perfect dessert drink all fall and winter long.
6 ounces hot spiced apple cider
1½ ounces RumChata
1 ounce whipped cream vodka
grated nutmeg (or pumpkin pie spice) and cinnamon stick for garnish
Warm a mug by filling with hot water. When mug is warm to the touch, pour out the water. Add hot cider, RumChata, and whipped cream vodka.
Stir to mix. Garnish with grated nutmeg and a cinnamon stick.