Whether it’s dinner for the whole family or tapas for a few close friends, those gourmet delights deserve a perfectly paired beverage. Kick off the holidays with a festive cocktail that celebrates the flavors of the season.
By creating a stylish drink station featuring all your spirits, mixers and glassware, you’re free to mingle with your guests and you won’t have to worry about party-goers rummaging for ingredients in your pantry. A bar cart makes it easy and can be moved around your space for easy access before, during and after dinner. Add some special touches to wow your guests. We love the idea of freezing skewered fruit for garnishes. Not only does it chill the drink without diluting them, it looks absolutely gorgeous!
A signature cocktail is a great way to serve a crowd with minimal fuss. From welcome drinks to a dessert punch, these recipes will inspire everyone to raise a glass.
A Sparkling Starter
Perfect for Thanksgiving, but delicious anytime, this Pomegranate-Cranberry Sparkler from Leah Bergman of Freutcake is a fresh and bubbly beginning to your gathering. And it’s easy to make in advance, so you can have a pitcher ready and waiting as soon as guests take off their coats.
Ingredients (Serves 6-8):
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
- Orange simple syrup (recipe below)
- Juice of one large orange
- Chilled champagne
- Pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional but highly recommended)
- Orange Simple Syrup
- 1 orange, peeled
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel orange rind in long strips and set aside. (You only want the orange portion of the rind only, not the bitter white pith.)
- In a small saucepan combine orange rind, sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat and stir with a wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow syrup to cool completely. Remove orange rind and discard. Chill simple syrup until you are ready to use it.
To Assemble the Sparkler:
- In a pitcher combine orange simple syrup, pomegranate juice, cranberry juice and orange juice. Stir to combine and chill until ready to serve.
- To serve cocktail, add a few pomegranate seeds to each champagne flute. Fill flutes 1/3 of the way full with juice mixture. Top with champagne.
The Crowd Favorite:
This versatile drink is the ultimate people-pleaser. Customizable for young and old, day or night, this Apple Pie Punch, adapted from Becky Hardin’s recipe on The Cookie Rookie, can be served warm or cold, with our without alcohol. It’s the perfect accompaniment to fall and winter foods and looks beautiful in the glass garnished with a slice of apple.
- 1 apple, chopped or sliced
- 1 quart apple cider
- 2 cups pear nectar
- 24 ounces ginger ale
- *Vodka (optional) Note: Flavored vodkas, such as Apple Pie or Caramel are also delicious in this drink
- Combine apple cider, pear nectar, and ginger ale. Stir well. Place apple slices inside pitcher.
- Pour over ice and serve! If you’re wanting to serve it warm, heat all of the liquid ingredients in a pot over a stove on low heat. Simmer for a few minutes until warm, place apple slices in the pot, and serve in mugs.
- To add alcohol, add 1.5 ounces vodka to each individual drink or 1 – 1½ cup to entire pitcher.
Photo from Room & Board