4 Festive Cocktails We’re Whipping Up This Holiday Season

The perfect winter cocktail is the pinnacle of any successful holiday party. But while we’re always up for a spiked hot cocoa or hot toddy, there are only so many times we can make the same old cold-weather drinks before our guests get bored.

That’s why, this year, we’re shaking things up with unique (and delicious) festive drinks for all our soirees. In celebration of the season — and the new Ocean Spray® Pink Lite Cranberry Juice Drink — we rounded up four inventive winter drink recipes you can easily make at home: from a spiced mulled wine that will warm you up on the coldest of nights to a not-your-grandma’s take on eggnog. Click through to check out each recipe, and get ready for your holiday parties to be extra lit this year.

Sugar Plum Spice Mulled Wine
Serves 8 to 12

Eleven months out of the year, we don’t give sugar plums a second thought. But during the winter, it tops our list of recognizable holiday sweets. Brew a batch of this sugar plum spice mulled wine when it’s too cold to do anything much more than snuggle up in cozy blankets and gather around the fireplace. The dried plums and raw sugar make the drink sweet and smooth while the ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper spice things up.

1 bottle Rioja (other red wines will do as well)
1 1/2 cups prunes
1 cup raw sugar (to taste)
1/4 cup candied ginger
3 cinnamon sticks
2 whole pieces nutmeg
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp black peppercorn
1/2 cup amber rum
1/4 cup orange liqueur

1. Add wine, 1 cup prunes, 2/3 to 3/4 cups sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, and peppercorns to a large pot.

2. Simmer mixture for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Don’t let it reach a boil.)

3. While the mixture is simmering, roll the remaining prunes in sugar to give them a frosted appearance, and skewer them with a cocktail pick. Set aside.

4. Remove the mixture from the heat, add rum and orange liqueur, and balance the prune skewers for garnish. Serve while warm.

Designed by Vero Romero.

Very Merry Pink Cranberry Sangria
Serves 3 to 4

Summer might be synonymous with rosé, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy it when it’s cold out, too. This sangria updates the pink wine with tart berries and spiced simple syrup. Our favorite part: the bright-pink color and delicious flavor from the new Ocean Spray® Pink Lite Cranberry Juice Drink, a light and refreshing beverage made with a blend of red, white, and pink cranberries.

For the spiced simple syrup:
2 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
8 allspice berries
6 cloves
3 whole star anise pods

For the cocktail:
2 cups rosé
4 cups Ocean Spray® Pink Lite Cranberry Juice Drink
Spiced simple syrup to taste
1/4 cup orange liqueur
Fruits for garnish (apples, oranges, pears, cranberries)

For spiced simple syrup:
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan, and bring mixture to a boil.

2. Remove liquid from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before straining out the solids. (Pro tip: Use within 5 to 7 days for optimal freshness.)

For the cocktail:
1. Combine rosé and Pink Lite Cranberry Juice Drink in a carafe or bowl.

2. Add spiced simple syrup and orange liqueur.

3. Garnish with fruit of choice and serve.

Designed by Vero Romero.

Partridge In A Pear Tree Spiked Cider
Serves 3 to 4

On the first day of Christmas, we highly recommend serving your guests this fresh take on the classic cold-weather drink. This version, made with bourbon, vanilla bean, and sweet pear, is ideal for those family get-togethers when you need a drink that will please the whole crowd — even your aunt who made it very clear that your ham was overcooked.

For the vanilla bean syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dried, halved pears
1–2 vanilla bean pods

For the cocktail:
10 oz pear juice
Vanilla bean syrup to taste
1 1/2 oz strained lemon juice
8 dashes bitters
4 oz bourbon
Fresh pear, thinly sliced

For the vanilla bean syrup:
1. Add water to a saucepan and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat to medium, and gradually add sugar, stirring until completely dissolved.

3. Add pears, stir, and reduce to a simmer. (Do not allow the mixture to boil.)

4. Next, slice open the vanilla bean pods and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and pods to the syrup and keep simmering for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before straining out the solids. (Pro tip: Use within 5 to 7 days for optimal freshness.)

For the cocktail:
1. Add pear juice and vanilla bean syrup to a saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Remove liquid from the heat, and then add lemon juice, bitters, and bourbon.

3. Garnish each glass with pear and serve.

Designed by Vero Romero.

Eggnog Pumpkin Alexander
Serves 4

Toast the end of yet another successful holiday dinner party with this decadent dessert cocktail, a modern twist on the classic eggnog. With hints of gingerbread and pumpkin spice, this treat will give everyone instant flashbacks to the candy-filled holidays of their childhood — but this time, there’s no one lecturing them for indulging their sweet tooth so late at night.

6 oz full-fat eggnog
6 oz cognac
2 oz pumpkin puree
4 oz white chocolate liqueur
Grated nutmeg

1. Add eggnog, cognac, pumpkin, and liqueur to a cocktail shaker.

2. Shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds, then strain the liquid into a coupe.

3. Grate nutmeg on top and serve.

Designed by Vero Romero.

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