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Whine Pairings: 9 Festive Cocktails and Kid-Friendly Versions

Need a good list of drinks to get you through the holidays? Look no further! Here are 9 festive cocktails that'll pair greatly with the all the whining, or um, merrymaking

Published on: November 20, 2015

The holidays are almost here and while most celebrations focus on the scrumptious food, it would be wrong to leave out festive drinks. This is our collection of great holiday drinks featuring both a grown-up version and a kid-friendly option for all your entertaining options. They might even inspire you to throw a kid-friendly cocktail party!

Here are nine Holiday (mock)-cocktail concoctions that will delight both young and not-so-young merrymakers.


Photo credit: Rebecca Mongrain

1. Orange you glad to have this recipe?

Oranges are in season right now and candying them make for a delightful and light drink. The candied orange sparkling bubbles and be made non-alcoholic with the simple substitution of sparkling cider for sparkling wine. This drink is perfect for holiday brunches.

Candied orange sparkling bubbles

Serves 6


  • 1 bottle of sparking white wine, chilled (for a non-alcoholic version use sparkling cider, sparkling white grape juice or sparking water)
  • 2 mandarin oranges, thinly sliced
  • 6-8 sprigs of rosemary, for garnish
  • 1 cup of sugar, divided


1. Cut oranges into thin rounds (rinds and all)

2. Pour 1/2 cup of sugar over the cut orange rounds, cover and set aside in the fridge overnight.

3. Pour remaining sugar onto a small, flat plate. Wet rims of champagne glasses and dip rims into sugar. Set aside.

4. Pour wine (or non-alcoholic alternative) into a large glass pitcher along with sugar soaked oranges (reserve a few for garnish) and their juice. Stir throughly.

5. Pour orange/wine mixture into sugar rimmed glasses and garnish with candied oranges and rosemary sprig.

Photo credit: Rebecca Mongrain

2. An apple a day...

A wassail is a traditional hot mulled cider which was drunk as part of a wassailing, a Medieval southern English drinking ritual intended to ensure a good cider apple harvest in the following year. Wassail literally, ‘be you healthy’ and this wassail punch will ensure a good, healthy feeling. Bourbon gives this punch a delightful taste for an adult punch. The kids won’t know what they are missing when you omit it from their drinks. 

Wassail Punch

Serves 6-8


  • 6 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, plus additional for garnish
  • 6-8 whole star anise, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Bourbon (leave out for non-alcoholic version)


1. Combine ingredients (except bourbon) in a large dutch oven.

2. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 2-3 hours.

3. Add bourbon, if using and serve hot. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and star anise.


Photo credit: Rebecca Mongrain

3. Comforting cranberry cider

Comforting hot cider is perfect for winter parties with its’ economical cost and ease to make. This cranberry mulled cider adds in the flavor of a northwest favorite, cranberries. The addition of rum helps bring out the flavors of both the apple cider and the cranberry juice. Garnish with whole cranberries for great colors.

Cranberry Mulled Cider

Serves 6-8


  • 8 cups cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1 naval orange, sliced
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 oz rum (optional)
  • Orange slices, rosemary and cranberries for garnish


1. Combine all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for at least an hour.

2. Garnish with orange slices, rosemary and cranberries. Serve warm.

Photo credit: Rebecca Mongrain 

4. Simple bliss

The holiday bliss cocktail is elegant and yet so simple. Better saved for a smaller gathering, your guests will be delighted with the blissful feeling they get from this drink.

Holiday Bliss

Serves 1


  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz cranberry juice
  • 1 1/2 oz gin (optional)
  • 2 oz chilled ginger beer
  • rosemary sprig
  • orange slice, for garnish
  • sugared cranberries, for garnish 


1. Combine simple syrup, cranberry juice and gin (optional). Swirl.

2. Pour over ice and top with ginger beer.

3. Serve garnished with rosemary, orange wedge and sugared cranberries.

Photo credit: Rebecca Mongrain

5. Dancing sugar plums 

Visions of sugar plums dance in our heads during the holiday season along with nutcrackers and fairies. This sugar plum punch can be elevated for an adults-only part by switching out the sparkling white grape juice with plum wine or champagne. The bubbles are sure to captive all festive merry-goers. 

Sugar Plum Punch

Serves 10-12


  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups frozen cranberries
  • 2 plums, sliced (dried or fresh)
  • 2 bottles sparkling white grape Juice, chilled
  • 4 cups cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup lime juice


1. Beat egg whites until frothy. Dip 1/2 cup of cranberries and plums in egg whites before rolling in sugar. Allow to dry on a wire rack for an hour or so. Place fruit on a toothpick for garnish.

2. Combine sparkling grape juice, cranberry juice and lime juice in a punch bowl with ice. Add remaining frozen cranberries to bowl and stir.

3. Serve in festive glasses with cocktail fruit picks over ice.

Photo credit: Rebecca Mongrain

6. Holiday classics

Every gathering needs a classic drink and the classic eggnog recipe is just that. Make a big batch for the family while reading holiday favorites or watching, Frosty the Snowman. The addition of dark rum will make this an adult favorite.

Classic Eggnog

Serves 8


  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split and seeds removed but saved
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark rum (optional)


1. Combine milk, cream, cinnamon, vanilla (bean and seeds) along with nutmeg in a saucepan.

2. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat once it is boiling and allow to steep.

3. Using a stand mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick ribbons form. Slowly whisk in milk and continue to mix until smooth. If using rum, add and stir.

4. Refrigerate overnight or up to three days.

5. Immediately before serving, beat eggs whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold into eggnog until combined. Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Photo credit: Rebecca Mongrain

7. Perfect, peppy peppermint 

Candy canes are usually reserved for hot chocolate drinks and while they are delicious with chocolate, they are also great on their own. This peppermint shake highlights the peppermint flavor without letting it take over and makes a great dessert for any holiday dinner party.

Peppermint Shake

Serves 1


  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup mint chip ice cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • whipped cream
  • mint leaves
  • peppermint candy
  • peppermint schnapps (optional)


1. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, blend vanilla and mint chip ice cream with milk.

2. Stir in peppermint schnapps, if desired.

3. Pour into milkshake glass and top with whipped cream, mint leaf and peppermint candy.

Photo credit: Rebecca Mongrain

8. Crazy for cranberries

Cranberry hot punch will shine at your holiday open house and will leave your house smelling divine. The orange slices, cranberries and cinnamon smell just like the holidays and will warm up your guests on cold days.

Cranberry Hot Punch

Serves 6


  • 4 cups cranberry juice
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup cup orange slices
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • rum or bourbon (optional)


1. Pour cranberry juice, orange juice and apple cider into a large dutch over. Combine with cranberries, orange slices, sugar, cinnamon sticks and ground cloves.

2. Simmer for an hour or so. Add rum or bourbon if using.

3. Serve warm and garnish with fresh cranberries, cinnamon stick and an orange wedge.

Photo credit: Rebecca Mongrain

9. Have yourself a merry little...cup of gingersnap hot chocolate

The smell of ginger really shines in the gingersnap hot chocolate drink. A crowd pleaser, this is the drink to make for all your caroling friends. They’ll appreciate flasks of hot chocolate as they roam the neighborhood bringing delight to people’s homes.

Gingersnap Hot Chocolate

Serves 4


  • 4 cups milk
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • dark rum (optional)
  • whipped cream
  • Gingersnaps or Gingerbread Cookies, for garnish


1. Heat milk in a medium saucepan over low heat.

2. In a separate bowl, combine cocoa, sugars, cinnamon, allspice and ginger.

3. Whisk into the milk until combined.

4. Serve with whipped cream and top with ground cinnamon and a ginger cookie.

Photo from: 20 Thanksgiving Desserts and Treats for Families

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