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Cocktail Hour: These 4 Holiday Cocktails Will Get You in the Festive Spirit

These cocktail professionals share their favourite festive alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails

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By Bon Appetit US | November 17, 2023 | Recipes

A holiday cocktail can go in just about any direction, depending on the occasion, the crowd, or, hell, even just how your day’s been going. Which is why for our Holiday Issue this year, we asked some of our favorite booze professionals to make us, well, whatever they wanted to make us for the holidays. And they delivered. Below, we’ve got a recipe to fit whatever vibe you’re feeling.

The Fireside Move

Amaro Cocktail by Joseph Stinchcomb. Image via Pexels.

We use orgeat quite a bit at the restaurants. Traditionally it’s an almond syrup, but we’ve made it with everything from walnuts to pistachios. It gives a beautiful toasted nut flavor to a cocktail. Here I used pecans because they remind me of the family pecan tree at my grandparents’ house in Fayetteville, GA. Roasted pecans. Warm baking spices. Citrusy, caramelly Amaro Montenegro. A bit of spicy rye whiskey. They all work well together to create a cocktail that feels toasty. That’s what I love in a winter drink. —Joseph Stinchcomb, beverage director at Saint Leo, Oxford, MS

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The Sparkling Pre-Midnight Move

Sparkling wine cocktail by Chelsea Gregoire. Image via Pexels.

Everyone loves something sparkly for the holidays. And by adding absinthe—which is higher proof and packed with warm flavors—even the least fancy glass of bubbly feels special. Whatever bubbly you have on hand works: Champagne, Prosecco, cava…any of these will bring the party and leave whoever you’re toasting feeling wonderful. —Chelsea Gregoire, owner and consultant at Drinkable Genius

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The Non-Alcoholic Move

Hōjichai by Julia Momose. Image via Pexels.

I originally created this as a nonalcoholic pairing for a dessert course. The roasted, earthy notes of the hōjicha (roasted green tea) carry the warming toasted baking spices for a comforting low-caffeine wintertime brew. Now I make this for my husband and myself at home all the time. I love it with shortbread cookies and coffee cake in the morning or with ice cream at night. My parents are back home in Japan and I sent my mom this recipe for a gathering they had last year. She made a big batch and kept it warm in the Crock-Pot for guests to serve themselves. There’s no situation where this wouldn’t be good. —Julia Momose, creative director, Kumiko, Chicago

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The Not-So-Snowy Move

Tequila, Beer, and Citrus Cocktailby Tiffanie Barriere. Image via Pexels.

I want a holiday cocktail that brings me to the pool. I’m that person (usually joined by all my cousins) who drinks tequila at Christmas. Here I make it even beachier with fresh citrus juice, a little bit of red pepper jelly heat and a generous pour of crisp Mexican-style lager. When it comes to the beer, I’m all about Victoria or Pacifico, but I’ll let you go with whatever brand you like, just as long as it’s light and takes you straight to the cabana. —Tiffanie Barriere, drinks educator at The Drinking Coach

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This story originally appeared on Bon Appetit.