20 May 2023

Festive whiskey cocktails to impress

Whether you’re looking for an after dinner drink to spice up the party or a festive spin on your favourite wintertime tipple, here are six whiskey cocktails to get you in the Christmas spirit

Gingerbread fizz

Gingerbread Fizz
Photo by Shawn Xu on Unsplash

This festive gingerbread drink from Kitchen Stories has our mouths watering! Mix up a batch of these holiday whiskey cocktails and serve alongside a pile of homemade gingerbread cookies. 

Makes: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • Ice cubes, for shaking and serving
  • 2 tablespoons of Irish whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of gingerbread syrup
  • 150ml of ginger ale
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine (optional)
  • 1 gingerbread cookie, for garnish
  • ¼ of a lemon, for garnish

Method:

  1. To prepare your chosen glass, finely crumble a gingerbread cookie onto a plate. Rub the quarter of a lemon halfway around the edge of the serving glass. Roll the lemon-coated side through the crumbled gingerbread and set the glass aside. 
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the whisky, lemon juice and gingerbread syrup, and shake vigorously. 
  3. Strain the chilled mixture into your glass filled with ice. Top up the remaining part of the glass with ginger ale. 
  4. If desired, add a red wine float by carefully pouring the red wine over the back of a spoon into the drink – you should see a gradient effect of the wine on top and the whisky cocktail underneath. 

Top tip

If you don’t have the cocktail equipment to hand, you can use a protein shaker or an empty jam jar.

Santa's Whiskey Flip

Add a festive twist to a classic whiskey cocktail with this recipe by The Spruce Eats

Makes: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of cinnamon-infused bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon of amaretto liqueur 
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream (optional)
  • Ground nutmeg for garnish

Method:

  1. Add the whisky amaretto, egg and cream into a cocktail shaker and dry shake vigorously – no need to add ice to shake at this stage
  2. Fill the cocktail shaker with ice and shake again for 30 seconds. 
  3. To serve, strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass, and dust with a couple of pinches of nutmeg. 

Top tip

While it’s not necessary, adding heavy cream will give your Christmas cocktail a good base. 

Cranberry Bourbon

Fruity holiday whiskey cocktails are less common than indulgent, creamy recipes but no less delicious. This cranberry flavoured drink from A Couple Cooks is a must-try this festive season – it has the perfect combination of sweet and tart flavours balanced by the whiskey, vermouth and cranberry juice. 

Makes: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons of bourbon
  • 4 tablespoons of sweet red vermouth
  • 8 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons of unsweetened (or no added sugar) cranberry juice
  • 2 tablespoons of simple syrup
  • Ice, for serving
  • Fresh or frozen cranberries and rosemary, for garnish

Method:

  1. Add the whisky, vermouth, orange juice, unsweetened cranberry juice, ice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker, and shake until cold. 
  2. Strain the mixture into lowball glasses filled with ice.
  3. To service, garnish with fresh or frozen cranberries and a sprig of rosemary. 

Top tip

To make your own simple syrup for this cocktail, simply place equal parts water and sugar into a saucepan (so, if you’re using ½ cup of sugar, add in ½ cup of water). Heat the sugar and water over a medium heat and whisk to help dissolve the sugar. Make sure to cool the syrup to room temperature before using it to make your fruity festive cocktails. 

Candy Cane Julep

Julep
Photo by Adam Jaime on Unsplash

Bring your favourite summer whiskey cocktail into the festive season with a wintery spin, concocted by Total Wine. The best part? This cocktail recipe is easy to whip up and only requires four ingredients!

Makes: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • Ice
  • 60ml bourbon
  • 30m mint syrup
  • 1 candy cane, for garnish

Method:

  1.  In a cocktail shaker, pop in the ice, bourbon and mint syrup, and shake for 15 seconds. 
  2. Strain the mixture into a martini glass and garnish with a festive candy cane. 

Top tip

If you can’t find any mint syrup handy, make the mint syrup like you would normal sugar syrup – simply add in a few mint leaves and use a strainer to pour the mixture through at the end. 

Bourbon eggnogg

Image care of @subtletiki

A dreamy, creamy eggnog cocktail is exactly what you need for those festive parties and gatherings. This recipe from Delish has a generous helping of bourbon – it’s one of the most irresistible holiday whiskey cocktails that everyone will enjoy.

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 480ml milk 
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 240ml heavy cream
  • 80ml bourbon

Method:

  1. In a saucepan over a low heat, combine the cinnamon, milk, nutmeg and vanilla extract, and slowly bring the mixture to a low boil.
  2. While the mixture begins to boil, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until the yolks are pale in colour. Slowly add the hot mixture to the egg yolks in batches/stages to temper the eggs and whisk until combined. 
  3. On medium heat, transfer your mixture back into the saucepan and cook until it is slightly thick and coating the back of your spoon. Take care to make sure the mixture does not boil. 
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the bourbon and heavy cream until combines. Pop your eggnog in the fridge until it has chilled. When it’s ready to serve, garnish your cocktail with cinnamon and a generous helping of whipped cream. 

Top tip

If you’re worried about keeping your mixture from boiling in step three, try using a thermometer if you have one – your mixture should reach 70ºC before moving on to the final step. 

Boozy bourbon peppermint hot chocolate

Spice up your hot chocolate this winter – this boozy peppermint hot chocolate by Beautiful Eats & Things is ideal for cosying up by the fire and watching your favourite Christmas film. 

Makes: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 475ml or 2 cups of milk
  • 50ml bourbon
  • ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 candy canes, and extra to garnish
  • Mini marshmallows, whipped cream and chocolate syrup, to garnish

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan on a low to medium heat, add the milk and let it simmer. 
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the cocoa powder, bourbon, vanilla and sugar, and mix it all together.
  3. Pour the mixture into two cups. Add the candy canes to each cup and let your hot chocolate sit for a minute or two to absorb the mint flavours of the candy canes. 
  4. Garnish with plenty of whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate syrup and any leftover candy canes. 

Top tip

For more of a minty flavour, add a couple of drops of peppermint oil.