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Holiday favorites: Cocktails

A selection of winter cocktails including Holiday Sangria, far right. (Renee Comet Photography)

Champagne is the easy choice to celebrate the holidays. But an elegant cocktail shows you really care. Most these drinks, assembled for the most part by our brilliant Spirits columnist Jason Wilson, require a special trip to the liquor store. But they are worth the extra work, and your guests will thank you.

Novice mixologists will be drawn to holiday punches that can be made in batches. Try holiday Sangria complete with floating grapes (it's a custom in Spain at new year to eat 12 at midnight)
or this the ultra-easy cider wassail, a blend of pale ale, apple cider, brown sugar and spices. What else do you need to know?

Todd Thrasher's Provincial. (Jonathan Ernst for The Washington Post)

I like red and orange cocktails around the holidays. (Well, it's better than green.) An Aperol Sunset is a pretty tangerine color but tastes like grapefruit with a hint of bitters. And the Provincial will change your mind about Cosmopolitans. No longer the sickly sweet for girls in their Manolos, our version combines key lime, homemade cranberry juice and vodka.

Also pretty in pink is the El Presidente, popular in Havana in the 1930s and a favorite of then-President Calvin Coolidge. The drink combines aged rum, vermouth and grenadine. Use homemade grenadine; it's easier than it sounds.

Two more favorites: A pear Sazerac that replaces the traditional rye whiskey with pear vodka (preferably Grey Goose, which is less sweet than other brands) and Cold Buttered Rum.

And if you insist on champagne, there's the classic French 75, spiked with gin and garnished with a twist of lemon.

-- Jane Black

By Jane Black  |  December 24, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
 | Tags: Christmas, Cocktails, New Year's, Spirits, holiday favorites  
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Next: Holiday favorites: Breakfast


I'm serving a twist on the good ol' mimosa: you add a tsp of ameretto to the champagne and OJ. Almond and orange are a classic pair. Use fresh OJ, please.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 24, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

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