Updated: Mar 14
In the holiday season, it can be fun to experiment with seasonal food and drinks. Yet, finding the right holiday cocktail can be difficult.
There are many articles about holiday cocktail recipes available online – this is not one of them. Instead, read below for tips on how to craft a holiday-themed cocktail that you’ll enjoy at any festive occasion.
Choose Ingredients Wisely
Are there some types of liquor you simply can’t stand? A garnish that makes you grimace?
To craft a holiday cocktail that you’ll really enjoy, you’ll want to avoid any ingredients that don’t float your boat. It can also be helpful to avoid ingredients you’ve never tried or things you’re not sure will go well together. If not, you can set yourself up for disappointment. Worse comes to worst, you might even need to pour the drink down the drain if it’s unpalatable.
If you’re making a spur of the moment drink, it can also be helpful to check which ingredients you already have on hand before you start. Otherwise, you might get halfway through making a drink and realize you’re missing a critical ingredient, like trying to make a margarita without tequila!
Incorporate Holiday-Specific Elements
One way to increase the fun when building your dream holiday cocktail is to emphasize any spices, colors, or other elements unique to the holiday season. For instance, maybe try using Curacao in a Hanukkah-themed cocktail to capture the holiday’s signature blue color or make peppermint schnapps part of a Christmas-specific drink.
That being said, each ingredient or flavor you use doesn’t necessarily have to fit the theme or be related to your holiday of choice. Incorporating just one or a few elements of the season or festive occasion is just fine.
Holidays that take place in colder seasons can also use temperature to their advantage. While you may prefer a hot toddy to keep you warm in cool weather, it might be less appealing in the warmer months.
Know Your Abilities
If you are like me, and not a master mixologist, it can be helpful to start with only a few main ingredients to keep things simple.
Last Halloween, I tried to make a themed cocktail but overestimated my mixology skills. The result? A drink I didn’t particularly enjoy. I tried to create a citrus-themed drink to incorporate Halloween’s signature orange color, but the ingredients did not go well together. Ultimately, I couldn’t determine what was missing or how I might improve it. Your mileage may vary, but I have found it can be best to start with simpler recipes and then work your way up to more complicated concoctions.
Consider also what equipment you have available and feel comfortable using. While there are ways to make do if you don’t have a cocktail shaker, other tools might be more difficult to find substitutes for.
Consider Drink Volume
Are you making a holiday cocktail for yourself or preparing a whole batch for more than one person? Some cocktails can be easily scaled up or down, but others use precise measurements that can be hard to adapt.
If you’re preparing a drink for a smaller number of people, there is typically more flexibility on how to craft a holiday cocktail.
On the flip side, some items, such as mulled wine, sangria, and seasonal punch can be more easily prepared in big batches to allow for multiple servings or for a group.
Ultimately, crafting a holiday cocktail you’ll enjoy all comes down to personal preference.
Trying something new can be a great way to learn what you like and expand your repertoire. If it doesn’t turn out well, at least you know for next time!
We hope that these tips will help you craft a holiday cocktail you’ll enjoy.
Please feel free to reach out to us at info@winewithourfamily to tell us about your favorite holiday or themed cocktails!
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