5 Easy Holiday Cocktails

What comes to mind when you think of the holiday season? Spending time with loved ones? Spreading love and happiness? Maybe a playful snowball fight? Well…I’m going to be honest with you, I think about food. Food, more food, and drinks – lots of drinks! Whether you enjoy all the excitement that comes with the holidays or you’re just trying to make it through a dinner with your in-laws, there is always a reason for a good drink.

So, I’ve whipped together a few of my favorite traditional low-stress holiday beverage recipes just for you! Stay with me now because we’re going to cover a lot of bases with just five drinks. Wine, brandy, vodka, kahlua, schnapps, rum, gin, and whiskey! I’m just going to go ahead and recommend you don’t try out all of these drinks at the same time.

As we all know, holiday cocktail recipes (and many holiday dishes) incorporate tons of spices. Let’s be honest, it can get a little pricey! A little tip before we get started, My Fresh Basket has a spice section that will become your new best friend. We have loose spices for your convenience from Spiceology- meaning you can buy the exact amount of spices you need without breaking the bank! This will be a life saver for our first recipe, mulled wine, AKA: spiced wine.

Mulled Wine

Mulled wine is everyone’s warm and fuzzy friend this time of year. If mulled wine has not been an attendee at your family gathering or holiday party, then it definitely needs to make an appearance this year! There are hundreds of recipes out there for different mulled wines. They usually involve some combination of holiday spices, orange, apple, and of course, wine! I tend to like mine a little less sweet. Thus, I tend to choose recipes that omit apple cider. This one, from Gimme Some Oven is my personal favorite.

Yield: 4-5 Servings (Depending on how generous you’re being)


1 (750 ml) bottle of dry red wine*
1 orange, sliced into rounds
1/4 cup brandy (optional – but is it really?)
1/4 cup honey or sugar
8 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
optional garnishes: citrus slices (orange, lemon and/or lime), extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise


Combine all ingredients in a non-aluminum saucepan, and bring to a simmer (not a boil — you don’t want to boil the alcohol out!) over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours. Strain, and serve warm with your desired garnishes.

You can also place the oranges, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise in a cheesecloth. Then simply strain and pull out the bundle when ready to serve.

*Our Beverage Baron, Drew, suggests Sutter Home red blend if you are looking for the least expensive option or Cabriz red blend for something a little smoother.

Want something even simpler? At My Fresh Basket, there is St. Christopher Glühwein available. Simply boil a pot of water, take it off the heat, and place the entire Glühwein bottle in the pot for about 10 minutes. Then serve!

Peppermint White Russian

Is it really Christmas time without peppermint? The answer is no! Just caution on the safe side with this version – it can be a little deceiving. Lets just say, I would recommend not mixing late night cookie baking with drinking White Russians! Unless Santa likes his cookies a little on the burnt side with forgotten ingredients. Recipe from The Marvelous Misadventure of a Foodie.


¾ oz Kahlúa
¾ oz Vodka
¾ oz Peppermint Schnapps
Half and half

For the Garnish: (optional)
Crushed candy canes
Clear corn syrup


Fill an old fashioned glass with ice (rimmed with crushed candy cane, if desired). Pour in Kahlúa, vodka and Peppermint Schnapps.Top off the glass with half and half to fill.

To Garnish Glasses:

Lightly dip the edge of glass into corn syrup, then dip the glass into crushed candy canes to garnish.

Hot Buttered Rum

Okay so we’ve made this one easy for you. My Fresh Basket already has our own recipe for hot buttered rum available in the freezer section! Just grab a container (or two) and some rum, and you’re good to go! Another bonus: if you skip the rum, this one is a treat for the kiddos too.


1/4 orange
4 oz boiling water
2 oz rum
3-4 tablespoons My Fresh Basket Hot Buttered Rum Mix
Whipped cream


Squeeze 1/4 of an orange into glass. Add 4 oz boiling water, 2 oz rum, 3-4 tablespoons batter. Top with whipped cream and nutmeg.

Cranberry-Orange Gin Fizz with Thyme

Because we can’t leave out cranberry!! This is a fun cocktail if you’re trying to be a little fancier, but still on the simple side. Maybe you’re the youngest of all the cousins and need to prove that you really have matured from the toothless little girl they always see when they look at you. Not that I’m speaking from experience….cough cough. Anyways, make sure to serve this one in a classy glass for maximum effect! This recipe is from One Sweet Mess.


1 ounce gin
1/2 ounce Cointreau or Triple Sec
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 ounces cranberry juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
Cranberry Sprite


Add gin, triple sec, and thyme to a cocktail shaker. Muddle the thyme to release the essential oils. Add cranberry juice, orange juice, and a handful of ice to the cocktail shaker. Give the mixture a few good shakes. Pour over ice and top with cranberry sprite.

Hot Toddy

Okay okay. So a little more honesty here, this past year I have developed an appreciation for whiskey. Which means my all time favorite beverage when the snow starts to fall is a Hot Toddy. But, of course, I can’t just follow the traditional route. So I had to go and concoct my own recipe. You can easily adjust this recipe to your own tastes. And this recipe is straight out of my head with a little help from the Internet!


1oz bourbon
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
¼ cup Boiling-hot water
1 herbal tea bag – my favorite is Pukka Revitalise
A ridiculously adorable holiday mug


Steep tea in hot water for 2-3 minutes. Mix in honey and lemon juice. Pour in bourbon. Cozy up by the fire and enjoy!

Want More?

You’ll find all of these ingredients right here at My Fresh Basket! But wait, the fun doesn’t stop there. Do you want to learn how to make (and drink) our Beverage Baron’s favorite cocktails of the season? Join us for our holiday cocktail class, “Dine and Drink: Getting into the Holiday Spirits”. Want to miss this fun 3 hour experience on December 3rd! Just make sure you are prepared for a wonderful evening of holiday cheer (and yes, that means taking a Lyft or having a designated driver). See ya there!

Written by Nikki Schroeder – Social Media Marketing and Events Intern