12 Indulgent Cocktails for Your Holiday Menu

Volcan de Mi Tierra Espresso Martini cocktail
Volcan de Mi Tierra Espresso Martini cocktail by Katie Auth. Images courtesy of credited sources.

The dozen recipes below fall into several categories, from decadent seasonal drinks to sophisticated riffs on classics.

People are champing at the bit to start their vacations and gather with friends and family to celebrate end-of-year holidays. They want top-shelf guest experiences to share with their loved ones, and quality seasonal cocktails presented with a flourish are a crucial element.

These cocktails will put your guests in a festive mood and provide you and your bar the team the opportunity to wow them with indulgent garnishes that capture the flavors of the season.

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Frozen Hot Chocolate cocktail at Refinery Rooftop

Frozen Hot Chocolate (serves 4)

Created by the team at Refinery Rooftop; Image: Jenna Murray/IGC Hospitality

  • 4 oz. Tito’s Vodka
  • 4 oz. Marie Brizard Chocolate
  • 2 oz. Chocolate syrup
  • 2 oz. Coco López
  • 6 oz. Ice (by weight)
  • Shaved chocolate to garnish

Blend all together and garnish with shaved chocolate.

The Smashed Pomegranate cocktail at Estiatorio Milos

The Smashed Pomegranate

Recipe and image courtesy of Estiatorio Milos

  • 2 oz. Tanqueray Gin
  • 1 oz. Fresh pressed pomegranate juice
  • 0.75 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • Rosemary Syrup to taste
  • Pinch of Greek Sea Salt
  • 4 to 5 rosemary needles
  • One egg white
  • Rosemary sprig to garnish
  • 3 Pomegranate seeds to garnish

Combine each ingredient in mixing glass. Dry shake. Add ice to mixing tin, shake vigorously with ice. Double strain into Martini glass. Garnish with rosemary sprig and/or three pomegranate seeds.

For the Rosemary Syrup:

  • 32 oz. Fine sugar
  • 32 oz. Water
  • 7 to 8 Rosemary stalks

Combine sugar and water, heat until dissolved. Add rosemary stalks and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove rosemary, fine strain and bottle. Keeps for 7 days.

We Got the Beet cocktail at Honey Salt

We Got the Beet

Recipe and image courtesy of Honey Salt

Pour all ingredients except ginger beer into shaker, add ice, and shake vigorously. Add Ginger Beer to shaker then strain over fresh ice onto rocks or Collins glass. Garnish with one sprig of fresh rosemary (swirl rosemary around edges before serving).

Winter Sage cocktail by Buddy V’s Ristorante

Winter Sage

Recipe and image courtesy of Buddy V’s Ristorante

  • 3-4 Sage leaves
  • 6-8 Pomegranate pearls
  • 2 oz. Hendrick’s Gin
  • 0.5 oz. Alchemist Apple Spice
  • 1 oz. Apple juice
  • Sage leaf, cinnamon stick and pomegranate pearls to garnish

Muddle sage and pomegranate pearls in a shaking tin. Add wet ingredients, shake with ice, and pour over an ice sphere or square in an Old Fashioned rocks glass. Garnish with sage leaf, cinnamon stick and pomegranate pearls.

Volcan de Mi Tierra Espresso Martini cocktail by Katie Auth for Volcan De Mi Tierra

Volcan de Mi Tierra Espresso Martini

Created by Katie Auth; Image: Volcan De Mi Tierra

Shake ingredients together on ice. Strain into coupe.

Cranberry Highball cocktail by Katie Auth for Volcan De Mi Tierra

Cranberry Highball

Created by Katie Auth; Image: Volcan De Mi Tierra

  • 1.5 oz. Volcan De mi Tierra Cristalino
  • 1 oz. Cranberry/apple shrub
  • 0.5 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 0.25 oz. Cinnamon syrup
  • 0.25 oz. Simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 dashes Apple bitters
  • Soda to top
  • Dehydrated lemon wheel and cranberries pushed through rosemary sprig to garnish
  • Shave nutmeg and cinnamon to garnish

Shake first seven ingredients together on ice. Strain into highball glass, top with soda, and garnish.

Gingerbread Old Fashioned cocktail by Katie Auth for Volcan De Mi Tierra

Gingerbread Old Fashioned

Created by Katie Auth; Image: Volcan De Mi Tierra

Stir all ingredients together. Pour into rocks glass over ice. Garnish and serve.

Laphroaig Roasty Toasty cocktail by Miguel Buencamino

Laphroaig Roasty Toasty

Created by Miguel Buencamino; Image: Laphroaig

  • 1.5 parts Laphroaig Select
  • 1 part Creme de Cacao
  • 0.5 parts Maple syrup
  • 1 part Heavy cream
  • 4 drops Cocoa bitters
  • ½ teaspoon Cocoa powder
  • 1 Toasted marshmallow to garnish
  • Sprinkled cocoa powder to garnish

Combine Laphroaig Select, cream, creme de cacao, bitters with ice. Shake then double strain over crushed ice in a rocks glass. Top with a toasted marshmallow and sprinkle cocoa powder over top.

Laphroaig Lonestar cocktail by Miguel Buencamino

Laphroaig Lonestar

Created by Miguel Buencamino; Image: Laphroaig

  • 2 parts Laphroaig Select
  • 1 part Pedro Ximenez Sherry
  • 3 dashes of Aromatic Bitters
  • Lemon twist to garnish
  • Cherry on rosemary sprig to garnish

Combine all ingredients except garnishes into a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into rocks glass with ice. Express lemon peel onto the top of the glass. Garnish with the rosemary and cherry.

Do it for the Graham cocktail by Trademark Taste+Grind

Do it for the Graham

Created by the team at Trademark Taste + Grind; Image: Jenna Murray/IGC Hospitality

  • 1.5 oz. Aged cachaça
  • 0.5 oz. Marie Brizard Dark Chocolate liqueur
  • 1.5 oz. Coconut milk
  • 5 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Dash of vanilla (vodka or extract)
  • Golden Grahams to garnish
  • Marshmallows to garnish

Shake all ingredients. and garnish with Golden Grahams and marshmallows.

​​​​Holiday in Rio cocktail at Winnie's Jazz Bar

Holiday in Rio

Created by the team at Winnie’s Jazz Bar; Image: Jenna Murray/IGC Hospitality

  • 1.5 oz. Avuá Cachaça Bálsamo
  • 0.75 oz. Pineapple juice
  • 0.5 oz. Lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz. Simple syrup
  • 4 dashes Absinthe
  • Pinch of Maldon salt
  • Cucumber wheel to garnish

Shake with ice and pour into a glass.

Black Apple Manhattan cocktail at North Italia

Black Apple Manhattan

Recipe and image courtesy of North Italia

Combine all ingredients above in a cocktail mixing glass and stir together. Serve in a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an apple disc and Luxardo cherry.

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