Metro Weekly

5 Perfect Holiday Cocktails to make the season merry

From a Hazelnut Bourbon Eggnog to a Blueberry-Sage Old Fashioned, we stir up some amazingly delicious cocktails

Christmas Cocktails – Photo by Craig Bowman

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are here and that 2020 is (finally!) coming to an end. In a normal year, we could all be celebrating the magic of the season and enjoying these wonderful cocktails together with our friends and family. While that is hard to do this year, we hope the new year fills your life with love, your heart with hope, and our world with peace. Cheers!

Hazelnut Bourbon Eggnog

This very modern Hazelnut Bourbon Eggnog (Thanks to TikTok’s @Sadd_Papi) is going to become your new favorite version of the classic holiday cocktail.


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 3/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (or extract)
  • 6 egg yolks, whites reserved
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg for garnish


  1. In a blender, mix the first six ingredients. Set aside.
  2. Beat your egg whites in a stand mixer until they are shiny and hold stiff peaks. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together and place over a pot of simmering (not boiling) water. Whisk continuously for about 5 minutes until the mixture is light and frothy and doubled in size. Be careful not to overcook the egg mixture.
  4. Allow the egg mixture to cool for about 10 minutes and then stream in the milk mixture and stir.
  5.  Gently fold in about half of the egg whites and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  6. Serve in a pretty rocks glass with a dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Holiday Sangria

If your bubble is a little bigger, mix up a pitcher of this Holiday Sangria and you’ll bring joy to all of your quarantine buddies!


  • 1 bottle sparkling apple cider
  • 1 bottle of good red wine (a fruity Pinot Noir or even a Malbec or Syrah)
  • 1 cup good brandy
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 apple, cubed
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary, plus more for garnish


In a large pitcher or punch bowl combine everything. Stir to mix, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Serve over ice garnished with fresh rosemary sprigs.

The Yuletide Moon

The Yuletide Moon is a gorgeous cocktail making the rounds on social media. This drink has so much flavor and would be perfect in a big-batch punch. It has quickly become one of my favorites.


  • 5 fresh cherries, pitted
  • 1.5 oz good red wine (something juicy like a Grenache or Sangiovese)
  • 1 oz bourbon
  • 3 Tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • Orange peel


  1. Juice the orange and pit the cherries.
  2. Place the cherries into a cocktail mixing glass and muddle (smash) them well.
  3. Add your orange juice, maple syrup, red wine, and bourbon. Mix again.
  4. Pour into an old fashioned glass with a handful of ice.
  5. Stir then garnish with the orange peel.

Blueberry-Sage Old Fashioned

My Blueberry-Sage Old Fashioned is perfect for sipping by a fire and is worth breaking out the good bourbon (or, if you’re like me, that top-shelf rye).


  • 1/2 oz blueberry-sage simple syrup
  • 2 oz of your favorite bourbon or rye
  • 3 dashes of Angostura (or your favorite) bitters
  • Fresh blueberries and sage leaves for garnish


To make the simple syrup: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 12 ounces of fresh or frozen blueberries, 2/3 cup of fresh lemon juice, 1/3 cup of water, and 1 cup of sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a simmer. Muddle the berries, mashing them in the pot. Add the sage. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the stove, cover, and let it sit overnight. Strain the blueberry mixture, pressing down hard on the berries with a muddler or the back of a big spoon. You can then refrigerate and use this syrup for up to a month.

  1. Add the blueberry syrup and bitters to a large rocks glass. Stir to combine.
  2. Add ice and whiskey.
  3. Stir again gently until well mixed.
  4. Add fresh blueberries and a large sage leaf to garnish.

You can also make a great holiday punch with the blueberry-sage syrup. Stir all of your strained syrup, a bottle or Prosecco, and 2.5 cups of good gin in a small punchbowl with ice.

White Christmas Martini

This White Christmas Martini is super simple and a wonderful alternative to the traditional New Year’s Eve champagne toast. Serve it in a tall flute with a shimmering sugar rim.


  • 2 oz Smirnoff vanilla vodka
  • 2 oz Godiva white chocolate liqueur
  • 1 oz white creme de cacao
  • 1 oz heavy cream (or half and half)
  • Karo syrup (or honey) and coarse sanding sugar


  1. Pour the Karo onto a small plate and pour the coarse sugar into a shallow dish. Dip the rim of the flute into the syrup; then dip the rim into the sugar and coat evenly.
  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the vodka, white chocolate liqueur, creme de cacao, and half-and-half. Shake vigorously and strain into the prepared champagne flute.
  3. If cocktails aren’t your thing, there are some terrific holidays beers out there. One of my current favorites is Bell’s Old Fashioned Holiday Ale. Aged in bourbon barrels with dried cherry and orange peel, it’s perfect for all-day drinking.

Questions? Text to Craig at 202-217-0996 or email

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