Holiday Wine Cocktails

It’s quite likely that after a time-warping night around the globe, hopping in and out of chimneys, Santa and the missus like to unwind with a nice holiday cocktail—something sweet and fun to celebrate another successful year of joy-spreading and whatnot. As the holidays approach, and you feel like you’ve stopped at every gift shop from Malibu to Laguna, a little Christmas cheer in a glass might be in order for you, too.

Get creative in the cocktail kitchen with some of these cheery classics with a holiday twist.  You can wow your friends, or simply wow yourself with a gift that goes down easy. Each one features a wine-based ingredient that will add some magic to your mixing this season.


Winter Wonderland Cosmo

1 ½  parts vodka

¼  part orange liqueur

1 part white cranberry juice

¼ part Riesling

Cranberries for garnish

Shake with ice and double strain into a martini glass. Top with Riesling.

This cosmo concoction is a festive, slightly less sweet take on a staple bar drink. It’s so delicious, you might feel like you’re on the nice list. White cranberry juice adds milder flavor, and the cloudy while color makes this drink look like it’s frosted with a snowy glow.


Vieux Carre Christmas

3/4 part rye whiskey.

3/4 part Cognac or port wine (fortified red wine)

1/2 part sweet vermouth (fortified red wine)

¼ part Fernet Branca (or Mente, if you love peppermint)

1 tsp Bénédictine liqueur

1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

1 dash angostura bitters.

Peppermint Stick for garnish

The Vieux Carre is a challenging and rewarding drink, and we’re pushing it a little further with a festive splash of complex Fernet.

Dubious? Whiskey holds up to minty flavors surprisingly well.  This stiff whiskey drink will warm you up, and with the intensity of flavors packed into the bitters, vermouth and Fernet, notes of herb and spice mellowed by your favorite rye will help you have a merry little Christmas. Fernet definitely packs a punch, so experiment with how much you enjoy the flavor profile, and you can reduce the vermouth accordingly if you’d like to add more. Stir this one over ice and serve on the rocks.


Joyeux Noel ‘75

1 part gin

½ part lemon juice

2 parts champagne (or sparkling white wine)

3 dashes of rosemary infused-simple syrup

It’s like a French 75, but better. Make your fresh rosemary syrup by brining 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, and at least ¼ cup of rosemary leaves to a slow boil.  Simmer for a minute, then remove from heat to rest for about a half hour. Strain the leaves out.

Then, mix the gin, lemon, and syrup in a shaker of ice. Shake, shake, shake. Pour into a champagne flute and top with your favorite bubbly. Swap out the lemon garnish for a spring of rosemary. It’s aromatic and positively festive.
Experiment with your syrup to add some other interesting flavors, like sage or star anise, which are sure to dance like sugarplum fairies with the gin.


Cheers you and yours this holiday season!