The holiday season is full of decisions, so when it comes to pouring cocktails, make your life easier and stick with crowd-pleasing standards.
Not only a festive choice for winter, but also the unofficial cocktail for people with colds, the hot toddy is the perfect antidote to cold-weather blues: hot water, lemon, bourbon, lemon and cinnamon or star anise.
If you want to get fancy, make your own eggnog with eggs, milk and sugar. Otherwise, pop open a carton and simply add your choice of bourbon, brandy or rum. Bonus points for a sprinkling of nutmeg.
Whether you call it glühwein, glögg or plain old mulled wine, few drinks can fill your home with as welcoming an aroma as hot red wine, cinnamon, cloves and citrus.
Like a snowball in a glass, a Brandy Alexander is on the simpler end of the spectrum for a shaken cocktail: just shake equal parts brandy, crème de cacao and heavy cream with ice.
Hot Buttered Rum
Long before Americans started adding butter to their morning cup of joe to make bulletproof coffee, they were melting it in their holiday cocktails to make hot buttered rum. Quickly simmer water, butter and winter spices, then add your favorite rum.
Match your cocktail to your cookies with this concoction of lemon, honey, ginger and bourbon.
Give the people what they want: hot apple cider with a hearty splash of bourbon or rum. Serve punch-style to keep life simple.
If you prefer on-the-rocks drinks, add holiday cheer to your glass by infusing vodka with peppermint: just steep candy canes in decent vodka for half an hour, strain and serve over ice.
Spiked Hot Chocolate
Serve dessert in a cocktail glass by adding whiskey to your favorite hot chocolate recipe — for best results, avoid the powdered stuff.
Classic Champagne Cocktail
When it comes time for Auld Lang Syne, most folks want to break out the champagne. Make it slightly more festive by adding bitters, sugar and cognac.