'Tis the Season for Holiday Cocktails

The holidays are a time for celebration, packed with parties and intimate gatherings with friends and family. The focus is typically on the fare, with turkeys and roasts and all the trimmings, while libations are often a second thought. Make your next holiday party an event to remember by crafting cocktails in tune with the season. Get creative with warming spices and seasonal flavors like pumpkin and peppermint and get your party off to a delicious start. 'Tis the season for holiday cocktails!

Candy Cane Cocktail

Candy canes are only available on store shelves once a year, so you might as well take advantage of every chance you get to indulge in them. Perfect as a dessert cocktail, this sweet treat combines vanilla rum, white chocolate liqueur and peppermint schnapps. Add a shot of each to a cocktail shaker full of ice, shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a candy cane or crushed candy cane rim.

Hot Buttered Rye

The holidays coincide with cool temps in most parts of the country, which makes them the perfect time for warm drinks. A diversion from the traditional hot buttered rum, this drink uses rye whiskey instead of rum. Combine the whiskey with hot water and ginger liqueur in a heat-safe glass or mug. Use your Vitamix machine to whip up a decadent topping made with heavy cream and a touch of maple syrup. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Gingerbread Martini

Here's a fabulous idea for your next holiday party: Gather some friends to make gingerbread houses while you sip on gingerbread martinis. Prepare the martini glasses by chilling them in the freezer, then dip the rims in ginger liqueur and crushed ginger snaps. In a martini shaker filled with ice, combine ginger liqueur, vanilla-citrus liqueur, coffee-flavored rum and a little honey and heavy cream. Shake well and pour. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg.

Pumpkin Punch

This cocktail can make an appearance at all your holiday gatherings, from Halloween to Christmas. A few days before you want to serve it, put your dark rum of choice in a ball jar with a few cinnamon sticks, shaking it gently every day. Once the infusion is strong enough, discard the cinnamon sticks and combine the rum with pumpkin puree, condensed milk and bitters. Make a batch in a punch bowl for a crowd or mix up single servings for a smaller gathering. Serve in traditional punch glasses or martini glasses and garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

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