Simple Ways to Turn Classic Cocktails Into Tasty Holiday Libations

Learn how to turn classic cocktails into seasonal libations by following a few, simple ingredient updates. A great way to utilize existing "standard bar stock" for impromptu holiday gatherings.

 
 
Standard Old Fashioned → Holiday Old Fashioned
 

Holiday Upgrades 

1 1/2 oz Bourbon or Rye whiskey, 

2 dashes Cardamom Bitters, 

1 tsp Dark Brown Sugar

Few Dashes of Water, 

Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cubes*

Garnish: Blood Orange Peel, Luxardo Cherry

Traditional 

1 1/2 oz Bourbon or Rye whiskey,

2 dashes Angostura bitters,

1 Sugar Cube,

Few Dashes of Water,

Ice Cubes

Garnish: Orange Peel, Cocktail Cherry

 

Preparation: 

*Make Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cubes several hours prior. Mix 8 oz water with 1 Tbsp Madagascar Vanilla Extract; pour into ice cube tray and place in freezer until set. Click here to become a vanilla expert.

 

Place sugar in old fashioned glass and saturate with bitters, add a dash of plain water and blood orange peel. Muddle until dissolved. Click here to learn how to muddle. Fill the glass with a few Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cubes; add in whiskey; then toss in the Luxardo cherry.

 
 
 
Standard White Russian → Holiday White Russian
 

Holiday Upgrades

 1/2 oz Coffee Liqueur

Splash Room Temp Espresso (or Strong Coffee)

1 2/3 oz Vodka

1 oz Half & Half

Dark Chocolate Ice Cubes*

Garnish: Peppermint Stick

Traditional

2/3 oz Coffee Liqueur

1 2/3 oz Vodka

1 oz Half & Half

Ice Cubes

 

Garnish: None

 

Preparation

*Prepare Dark Chocolate Ice Cubes several hours prior. How to make 'em: Fill ice cube tray with regular water. Melt 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, drizzle into ice cube tray nooks; place in freezer and leave until set.

 

Pour coffee liqueur and vodka into a rocks glass with a few Dark Chocolate Ice Cubes. Pour cream on top; stir slowly.

 
 
 
Standard Cosmopolitan → Holiday Cosmopolitan
 

HOLIDAY UPGRADE

1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

1 oz Pomegranate Juice

1/2 oz Triple Sec

1 1/2 oz Orange Peel Infused Vodka

Garnish: Sprig of Rosemary

Traditional

1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice

1 oz Cranberry juice

1/2 oz Triple Sec

1 1/2 oz Vodka Citron

Garnish: Lime Wedge, Lemon Slice

 

Preparation

*To Make Orange Peel Infused Vodka: Place fresh orange peels into a mason jar with vodka, seal. Leave in a dark place for 3 weeks.

 

Add all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and double strain into large cocktail glass, then garnish.

 
 
 
Standard Negroni → Holiday Negroni
 

Holiday Upgrade

1 oz Gin

1/2 oz Campari

Splash Cherry Juice

1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth

Splash Ginger Ale

Garnish: Spearmint

Traditional

1 oz Gin

1 oz Campari

1 oz Sweet Vermouth

Garnish: Orange Peel

 

Preparation

Stir all ingredients in a glass with ice, strain into a chilled coupe glass, garnish.

 
 
 

Click here to learn more about Brisan's expertise in: