‘Tis the season for holiday parties, family gatherings, engagements, and celebrating the end of another year—and no winter soirée is complete without a boozy beverage. Whether you’re partial to citrusy flavors and whiskey or tequila with a spicy kick, there are scores of festive cocktail recipes to choose from. So we’ve narrowed it down to a few of our favorite options using just five ingredients or fewer.
The good news is you don’t have to be an experienced bartender to make a delicious drink at home—all it takes is a few ingredients and the right tools. If you’re new to making cocktails, we recommend using the MixMate Cocktail Shaker Set with Stand and the Crate & Barrel Set of 6 Cocktail Picks. Looking for new drink glasses to impress your party guests? Go for the Schott Zwiesel Classico Highball Cocktail Glasses and the History Company F. Scott Fitzgerald “The Paris Years” Cocktail Coupe Glasses.
Read on for the best winter cocktail recipes and everything you need for seamless mixology at home.
Best Holiday Party Cocktail: Espresso Martini
Recipe courtesy of Owen’s Craft Mixers.
The espresso martini is one of the year’s trendiest drinks, and for good reason. It’s a sweet and boozy treat—with a caffeine kick that will help you make it through all of the holiday festivities. Served in a classic martini glass, this drink is perfect for retro-style cocktail parties and New Year’s Eve celebrations, but it also adds a fun kick to engagement celebrations and bachelorette parties.
What You’ll Need:
What to Do:
In a shaker, combine 2 oz Absolut Vodka (or vodka of choice), 4 oz espresso martini mix, and ice to chill. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with three coffee beans.
Take the work out of the cocktail thanks to this pre-made nitro-infused mixer. Made with cane sugar and monk fruit extract, It’s sure to curb your sweet tooth and caffeine craving at once. Plus, your lactose-intolerant guests will be pleased to learn that it’s also dairy-free.
Price at time of publish: $14
What’s a cocktail without the perfect glass? This duo is classy, chic, and worthy of a Gatsby-esque holiday party. Bonus: the rounded shape and the sturdy, flat foot of these 1920s-inspired glasses will help you avoid any spills.
Price at time of publish: $38
Best for a Cozy Night In: Off the Pitch Cocktail
Recipe courtesy of Old Parr.
If you could put the feeling of cuddling up by the fireplace on a snowy winter night into cocktail form, this is it. This zesty cocktail is like an old fashioned with a twist, featuring ingredients like a classic whiskey blend and spicy mango garnish.
What you’ll need:
What to Do:
Make cordial with .75 oz mango liqueur, .75 oz ginger liqueur, and .5 oz lime juice. In a shaker, add 1.5 oz Old Parr Scotch Whiskey (or whiskey of choice), the mixed cordial, and top with ice. Shake and strain into an ice filled glass. Cut spicy mango into small cubes and garnish using a cocktail pick.
Make cocktails of all kinds like a pro with this fully stocked shaker set. It comes complete with 11 different tools—including the shaker, a strainer, a mixing spoon, the stand to hold it all, and more—so you’ll have everything you need to serve up some festive holiday libations.
Price at time of publish: $34
Keep your whiskey chilled in style with an oversized cube or sphere of ice. The food-grade, BPA-free silicone material is flexible and easy to use—just chill in the freezer ahead of time and you’ll have fancy cocktails served up as soon as guests arrive.
Price at time of publish: $15
Whether it’s sweet or savory, a garnish is the perfect finishing touch on a cocktail, and it’s a fun and easy way to make any drink stand out. These sleek stainless steel cocktail picks can be used to skewer olives, citrus peels, cherries, or even a decorative flower.
Price at time of publish: $6
Best for Holiday Dinners: Winter Paloma
Palomas are a fan-favorite of tequila drinkers, so why not put a holiday twist on the classic drink? With pomegranate and cranberry, this winter-inspired version is a festive option for dinner parties and cocktail gatherings of all kinds.
What You’ll Need:
What to Do:
In a shaker, combine 1.5 oz tequila, 2 oz cranberry juice, 1 oz pomegranate juice, and ice. Pour mixture into a glass over ice, then top with soda water and stir. Garnish with a lime or lemon wedge. Add a couple of pomegranate seeds to the mix for added texture and garnish.
Every cocktail has a specific glass to match, and Palomas are best enjoyed in a highball glass like this one by Schott Zwiesel. Featuring a classic design and chip-resistant crystal, you can count on these glasses to last through the holiday season and beyond.
Price at time of publish: $12+
Looking for even more cocktail recipes to try at home? You need “The Encyclopedia of Cocktails,” which features a vast assortment of need-to-know drinks. Between the 1,000+ recipes and the history breakdown of each classic cocktail, this handy little book is perfect for amateur bartenders. Plus, it makes a great holiday gift!
Price at time of publish: $28
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Chloe Caldwell is a Commerce Writer for Brides who specializes in shopping and lifestyle topics. She has more than five years of journalism experience writing about all things fashion, beauty, travel, and wellness.