Easy Holiday Party Cocktails

It’s Holiday Party Season and perhaps you have decided to host a gathering of pals. T’is the season! Entertaining friends is a lot of fun (no need for that taxi ride home!) but just what cocktails should you serve to these guests? We have some suggestions for you! These three cocktails are easy to make but tasty enough to impress your guests. We have chosen these cocktails assuming that you have four or more people over. So please be responsible and don’t make a batch of boozy cocktails just for yourself.

Holiday Cocktails | Bartender Atlas
Photo: Jessica Blaine Smith

Manhattan
All your favourite movie characters drink this so why shouldn’t you?

What you’ll need:
Rye or Bourbon Whiskey
Sweet Vermouth
Angostura Bitters
An orange or two

Pour 2 parts whiskey into a pitcher. Follow that with one part sweet vermouth. Now add one half part water. Throw the pitcher in the fridge about an hour before your guests show up. Cover it with plastic wrap to keep it fresh. When your guests arrive, pour 2-3 ounces into whatever glass you want and add two dashes of bitters and a little piece of orange peel (with as little of the white pith on it as possible).

Holiday Cocktails | Bartender Atlas
Photo: Jessica Blaine Smith

Sidecar
This one is a little more fun, because your guests get to participate.

What you’ll need:
Brandy (Cognac if you feel fancy)
Cointreau (Grand Marnier if you feel fancy)
Lemons (about 1 for every two guests, per drink)
Sugar or simple syrup
Ice cubes
Lemon squeezer (doesn’t have to be fancy)

Set up a bar area. This can be a section of kitchen counter or a table set up in a corner (or centre) of the room. The key here is that you make the first drink and show your guests how to do it, so they can help themselves to a second (or help newly arrived guests) and you get to enjoy your own party. Set up your bar with a shaker set, a strainer and some ice. Combine 2oz Brandy, .75oz  lemon juice (about half a lemon’s worth of juice) and .5oz Cointreau in the shaker with ice and shake hard for about 12 seconds. Strain into whatever glass you decide on for the night. If someone thinks their drink is too tart, there is sugar or simple syrup that they can add. It will be fun watching your friends shake while wearing earrings that are shaped like Christmas lights. Festive.

Holiday Cocktails | Bartender Atlas
Photo: Jessica Blaine Smith

Doctor Salmon’s Punch
Taken from David Wondrich’s outstanding book “Punch” this is one of the more simple punch preparations I know of and you get to say “Doctor Salmon” to a room full of people.

What you’ll need:
6 Cups of Brandy
1.5 Cups of Lime Juice (It will take you about 12-15 limes to get this much juice)
1 cup sugar.
4 cups water
Fresh Nutmeg (do not just buy a pack of dusty powder from the grocery store)

Combine the water, lime juice and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Then add the Brandy and mix that in well. Grate your nutmeg over top and ladle it out to your guests. Or pour it from a pitcher, whichever works for you. If this drink is too strong, just add some ice to your glass.


About The Author: Josh Lindley
Co-Creator at Bartender Atlas
Josh Lindley has been bartending in Toronto since 2007. In that time he has watched the city grow from drinking slushee Cosmopolitans into crisp creations made from locally grown ingredients. He still likes beer though. Before working for Hendrick's Gin as a Brand Ambassador he was bar manager at Campagnolo and a hired gun at Bar Isabel. He has contributed to many magazines, tv shows and newspapers with his recipes and opinions. Currently pouring at Chantecler, he enjoys being an ambassador to Toronto and talking about horror movies and music.
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