Once your home is decked out for the holidays and your gifts are purchased, it’s time to start party planning. You may have spent hours perusing Pinterest for baked goods you can razzle and dazzle your guests with, but have you thought about the holiday drinks you want to serve? As you prep for family dinners and holiday gatherings with friends, don’t forget to plan ahead for a few cocktails and mocktails to help lighten the mood. Whether you’re entertaining your favourite neighbour or having dreaded Aunt Bertha over for the mandatory annual visit, we’ve got 5 easy-to-make drinks that can brighten any festive occasion.

Festive Cocktails and Mocktails

Salted Caramel Espresso Martini

  • 1 oz. Kahlua Salted Caramel
  • 1 oz. Absolut Vodka
  • 1 oz. espresso
  • Coffee beans for garnish

Perfect for brunch and for those long days when you need a bit of a caffeine kick! Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in the ingredients before giving it a good long shake. Shake well for 10 seconds and pour into a martini glass. If you like it very frothy, shake it for a few seconds longer. Garnish with a few coffee beans. You could use fresh coffee instead of espresso but the latter works best.

Coconut Eggnogtini

  • 3 oz. Coconut Holiday Nog
  • 1.5 oz. Malibu rum
  • Cinnamon powder for the rim
  • Nutmeg powder for garnish
  • Coconut chips for garnish (optional)

Add a bit of a twist to the traditional eggnog by using the dairy-free coconut eggnog (you can easily use regular eggnog as well). This is a stirred cocktail, so you can pile the ingredients into any vessel filled with ice and stir well before pouring it into a martini glass. To take it up a notch, rim your martini glass with some sweet cinnamon powder by placing the martini glass upside down on a plate filled with a layer of water before placing the same glass upside down on a plate with cinnamon powder. You should have a nice brown rim and can now pour your cocktail into the glass. Sprinkle with a pinch of nutmeg powder and a few coconut chips.

Mommy’s Mocktail

  • 6 oz. sweetened lemonade
  • 1 oz. Sprite or soda
  • 1 oz. grenadine
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 oz. water
  • Sprinkles for garnish
  • Fresh herbs (rosemary or lavender work well!)

Can’t forget the kids attending the parties, right? This easy mocktail is sure to keep the kids happy. You can rim the glasses ahead of the party so that it’s easy to serve. To rim the glasses, place them upside down on a plate of honey and water (they should be mixed well) and then place them on the plate of sprinkles. Let it sit and harden a bit before serving. When you’re ready to serve, add the chilled lemonade and stir in the grenadine. Top with a splash of Sprite or soda. Feel free to garnish with any herbs you have lying around!

Cognac Hot Chocolate

  • 5 oz. pre-made hot chocolate
  • 1 oz. Remy Martin Cognac
  • 1 oz. Galliano vanilla liqueur
  • Dollop of whipped cream
  • Lindt chocolate and sprinkles for garnish

For a decadent twist, serve this boozy hot chocolate for dessert or as a nightcap. Stir the Cognac and Vanilla liqueur into the prepared hot chocolate and layer on the whipped cream. Garnish with chocolates and sprinkles! The best part of this recipe is that you can easily serve it without the alcohol. It’s all about the garnish, isn’t it?

Winter Lemonade

  • 6 oz.  President’s Choice Italian Soda
  • 2 oz. Drambuie
  • Frozen cranberries for garnish
  • Fresh herbs (rosemary or lavender work well!)

For an easy drinking and refreshing cocktail, try this winter lemonade. Add a couple cubes of ice and the Drambuie into a rocks glass before topping it off with Italian Soda. Garnish with cranberries and herbs before serving it to your guests. Once again, this can be served without the Drambuie if you’re looking for a non-alcoholic version.

While you could easily serve wine or beer, cocktails always add a bit of flair to any gathering, so why not shake up a drink or two this season? When you do your next grocery run, you might want to stock up on a few extra ingredients and pop by the liquor store as well!

Wishing you and your family a very merry holiday! Cheers!

Yashy Murphy is a marketing professional who refused to let go of her pre-baby lifestyle. As parents, she and her husband have continued to travel the globe and to explore everything there is to do in Toronto along with their two young, travel-seasoned kids. You can follow their adventures, and misadventures, on BabyandLife.com, where you’ll also find inspiration on where to eat, drink and have fun with kids in Toronto!