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Simple Entertaining… Holiday DIY Cocktails

By Lauren Holstein

The holidays are full of parties, celebrations, and catching up with family and friends. With so many different events happening in such a short time, what can you do to make your event pop? 

I recommend throwing a do-it-yourself cocktail party! This interactive event allows people to make drink combinations, strategize with other guests, and leave with a new favorite recipe.

Here’s a beginner's guide to mixology:

When deciding on holiday cocktail options, I offered my guests the options of tequila, vodka, and fireball so that they could choose based on their preferences when selecting the base for their cocktails.

The first festive holiday cocktail I suggest is a version of a Skinny Paloma. The recipe calls for:

  • 12 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
  • 3 ounces tequila or vodka
  • Lemon or limes
  • Grapefruit-flavored sparkling water
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt (on the rim)

To make the Skinny Paloma, start by adding tequila or vodka, grapefruit juice, and a teaspoon of lime juice into a glass with ice. Then, stir to combine everything. Finally, add a splash of sparkling water and garnish with a lime or lemon wedge!

The second cocktail is a Sparkling Cranberry (or Pomegranates) with Lime. The recipe calls for:

  • 1.5 ounces vodka or tequila
  • 3 ounces cranberry juice
  • A splash of lime juice
  • Lime La Croix sparkling water
  • Fresh cranberries, sugared cranberries, or pomegranates

To make this cocktail, add vodka or tequila, cranberry juice, and lime juice into a shaker with ice. Then, shake it up! Next, pour the mixture over ice and top off with sparkling water. Toss a few cranberries, sugared cranberries, or pomegranates into the glass and garnish with a lime or lemon slice!

The final cocktail is a hot toddy, which requires the least customization but brings the most kick. The recipe calls for:

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 large sliced orange
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 4 1.5 ounces of Fireball

To make, place all ingredients (minus the Fireball) into a large pot bringing it to a boil. After boiling, reduce the temperature and let everything simmer. Uncovered the pot for 10-20 minutes or until the cranberries begin to soften. Since this cocktail is meant to be served hot, it can be kept in a crockpot or on the stove simmering. When it is time for serving, add a shot of fireball to 4 glasses and then add 1 cup of apple cider on top. To garnish, add fresh cranberries and orange slices. 

Since guests will be helping themselves to create the cocktails, make the directions extremely clear! I suggest laying out the cocktail’s ingredients in different stations to differentiate the options. Next, write out each cocktail’s instructions step by step. It would also be helpful to include a picture of the cocktail next to the instructions. Place those instructions in front of their respective stations along with the glasses that are meant to be used for each cocktail. Be sure to have enough ice buckets, ice, and ice scoopers along with other tools, such as spoons, toothpicks, or shakers, also laid out nicely in each station. Garnishes or fruits per designated cocktail can be displayed in little bowls.

Hopefully, this sparked some ideas on how you can make personalized to taste beverages (or even food) part of the main event. Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!