Holiday Cocktails from Coast to Coast

By Tanya Edwards | December 18, 2014
Photo courtesy of Highball & Harvest at The Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grand Lakes

’Tis the season to create unique and warming cocktails, and we’ve culled some local gems from the pages of Edible Communities magazines to make your holiday gathering complete. Whether you’d like a new take on eggnog (there are a lot!) or a sparkling drink to toast the holidays, you’ll find something to please your palate while spreading good cheer.


Edible Phoenix — Champurrado
Phoenix, Arizona

Based on the traditional Mexican recipe for atole, this virgin hot drink mixes cinnamon sticks, masa (corn flour used for making tortilla), Mexican chocolate and fennel seed. Whisk together while heating and serve warm in mugs or tea cups.

Edible Front Range — Chocolate en Fuego
Front Range, CO

This must-try holiday drink recipe from famous Salt the Bistro mixes hot chocolate, resposado tequila and spicy cayenne, creating layered flavors playing sweet and spicy together. Be sure to use top quality hot chocolate.

Edible Reno-Tahoe — DIY Pine Schnapps
Reno & Lake Tahoe, NV

Infuse store-bought or homemade schnapps with piney goodness with this homey recipe that makes a great holiday gift in a sweet mason jar with a few tiny pine branches tied to it.

Edible Portland — Pear Anjou Cocktail
Portland, OR

Green Anjou pears, in season in winter and spring, are placed on the pedestal they deserve in this sophisticated cocktail that has notes of lemon and pinot gris syrup topped with vodka and brandy.

Edible Santa Fe — Poire William Champagne Cocktail
Santa Fe, NM

Refreshing and sparkling, this sophisticated cocktail is made with Poire William, also known as Bartlett, Pear brandy mixed with champagne. You can also use regular pear brandy, and garnish with a pear slice.

Edible San Luis Obispo — Black Cider Bourbon Cocktails
San Luis Obispo County, CA

Fresh apple cider from local Gopher Glen Apple Farm mixes perfectly with bourbon and bitters to make this bright cocktail. The thinly sliced apple and rosemary garnish make it holiday special.


Edible Indy — Clove Smoker
Central Indiana

Hide from the snow and curl up with this earthy cocktail made from Allspice dram — an allspice liquer that, when combined with Batavia arrack (a South Asian spirit similar to rum) and eggwhite or eggnog— creates a hearty winter warmer from Indianapolis craft cocktail favorite Libertine.

Edible Cleveland — Homemade Spiked Eggnog
Cleveland, OH

Take advantage of Ohio’s local dairies like Snowville or Hartzler and use fresh cream and milk for a simple homemade nog that will have you swearing off store-bought forever. Blend milk, cream, sugar and rum (a spiced rum like Cruzan 9 gives an extra layer of flavor) and serve in chilled champagne coupes with a sprinkle of grated nutmeg on top.

Edible Grande Traverse — Hot Wassail
Northwest Lower Michigan

This old school winter warmer will have you wondering why you haven’t tried wassail before. Warm a mix of sweet cider, pineapple juice, brandy and spices, then serve in mugs for a cozy treat.

Edible Milwaukee — Pomegranate and Cranberry Cordial
Milwaukee, WI

Pomegranate juice, grapefruit zest and local cranberries gives this new style holiday cocktail a refreshing pucker. Combine with honey vodka for a sweet and refreshing finish.


Edible Dallas & Fort Worth — Tod-Dee-Dah
Dallas & Fort Worth, TX

This Texas take on the Hot Toddy elevates a classic winter cocktail with locally made Herman Marshall Rye and homemade spiced simple syrup. Simply add mulling spices like nutmeg, cinnamon sticks and cloves — be creative!

Edible New Orleans — Milk Punch
New Orleans, LA

While her origins are up for discussion, milk punch was first seen in print in The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book in 1906. Noted as a New Orleans mainstay, bourbon milk punch is enjoyed as a soothing Bloody Mary alternative at brunch (or anytime really) in the Crescent City.

Edible Orlando — Doc Holliday
Orlando, FL

We love a drink in a copper mug! This extraordinary cocktail blends vodka, Barritt’s Ginger Beer, grapefruit juice and blueberry jam, shaken hard until slushy and served over a single cube in a festive mug.

Edible Upcountry — Hot Buttered Rum
Upstate South Carolina

There’s a darn good reason we’ve been warming up spirits for hundreds of years, and hot buttered rum is one of them. Warm butter (never use salted!) and spices, let set in the refrigerator, then add to warm rum and hot water in a coffee mug. Decadent!


Edible Rhody — Whisper in the Dark
Rhode Island

This spin on a classic Irish Coffee Irish whiskey features New Harvest’s house-made Irish cream, fresh mint and fresh brewed espresso that are layered with herbaceous notes of the Italian digestif Fernet Branca and pairs perfectly with dessert.

Edible Brooklyn — Christmas in a Cup
Brooklyn, NY

This New York City borough celebrates the season by toasting with a glass of Christmas in a Cup (a mix of red wine, allspice berries, cloves, brown sugar and orange zest) and the local legacy Fox’s U-Bet Egg Cream (a blend of chocolate syrup, whole milk and seltzer).

Edible Finger Lakes — Eggnog Martini
Ithaca & Finger Lakes Region, NY

This deceptively simple cocktail asks for only three ingredients, but sometimes simplicity is the best (and easiest). Just mix vanilla vodka with eggnog (add a splash of coffee liquer if you like), strain and serve up with a sprinkle of eggnog. For an extra festive touch, serve with mini candy canes as stirrers.