The Best Holiday Cocktail Recipes

The Best Holiday Cocktail Recipes

In the endless iterating that goes into devising a menu for a holiday dinner, it’s stupidly easy to forget the drinks. There will always be wine and beer, sure, and the cooler is stocked with canned seltzer, but digesting too much information about the best appetizers and flakiest pie recipes means cocktails can fall by the wayside. No longer. Below, find Eater editor-approved recipes for cocktails that will add evermore festive feelings to every holiday gathering.

Philadelphia Fish House Punch

Bobby Flay, Food and Wine

At a recent holiday party, my partner decided to make this historic Philadelphian recipe — because why not share a bit of Philadelphia history with your loved ones while they’re a captive audience? This is your house, after all. Despite the countless bottles of wine that began to stack up, the colonial-era Fish House Punch — named for the Schuylkill Fishing Company of Pennsylvania (aka the Fish House), the oldest continually operating social club in America — was an undeniable hit. All night long, people kept asking questions about the punch, namely how many they could have before things went a little sideways. The answer is: two, three tops. Made with rum, Cognac, peach brandy, and a whole lot of lemon and sugar syrup, it is both delicious and a doozy. — Dayna Evans, Eater Philly editor and Eater staff writer

Angostura Flip


There are two schools of thought on a post-dinner drink: You could go for a bracing digestif to “aid digestion,” or you could indulge in a liquid dessert that swaddles you in sugar, fat, and everything nice. I’m notoriously bad at decision making, so I tend to split the difference with an eggy flip tinged with something bitter. Together, a whole egg and syrup (in this case honey syrup) build a comforting base, while an entire 1.5 ounces of cocktail bitters (as opposed to the usual dash or two) ensure you don’t entirely fall asleep in your glass. Angostura is a great option, delivering some classic holiday spice, but any style of cocktail bitters would probably work, as would an amaro. Dry shaking (shaking the liquid ingredients without ice) is key to achieving a frothy texture, and don’t forget the half-ounce of whiskey, which punches up the rest of the flavors. — Nick Mancall-Bitel, editor

The Grandfather

Mr. Boston

Several members of my husband’s family are Manhattan drinkers, so I expect that my decision to serve the Grandfather cocktail during Thanksgiving appetizers will be a hit. It’s a riff on the classic drink with a hint of fall, courtesy of the addition of Applejack, an apple brandy. It’s smooth and well-balanced. It’s also quite boozy, so I’ll probably look for a slightly lower-proof option to tide us over after that initial round. I’ve had success with a bourbon and ginger ale bar (with various sodas and mixers) in the past, as well as Smitten Kitchen’s fall sangria; maybe this year we’ll go with her (ok, still pretty boozy) apple cider Old Fashioneds. — Missy Frederick, cities director

Northern Gin and Juice

A cocktail so simple it doesn’t need a recipe, this is just a glass of apple cider with a glug or two of gin stirred in. It’s seasonal, greater than the sum of its parts, and so simple it’s perfect for a holiday party. Friends in Maine introduced me to it years ago while we pressed apples and prepped to ferment the juice into hard cider over the course of days and weeks; meanwhile, we drank the sweet, fresh stuff with gin. It tastes like an apple orchard bumping up against a forest full of pine and juniper trees — which they sometimes do in the Pine Tree State. I don’t keep track of proportions; season to taste. — Adam H. Callaghan, interim Eater Seattle editor

Concord Crush

Maggie Hoffman, Serious Eats

As fall fills up with apples and pumpkin and maple, I always forget Concord grape is also a fall flavor, especially in the Northeast. And while you may be more familiar with the Concord as the backbone of store-bought grape juice or jelly, the Concord Crush (originally developed at Gramercy Tavern) proves the fruit can be far more elegant than its typical uses. The fresh grapes provide sweetness, tang, and some tanins to the drink, which can also be made with gin; it’s a welcoming change from the sea of Hot Toddys out there. — Jaya Saxena, correspondent