More than ever the holidays are the time to embrace the nostalgic and familiar. These festive drinks embody the season and range from deep and sultry to effervescent and uplifting.

Reprinted from Very Merry Cocktails, by Jessica Strand, with permission from Chronicle Books, 2020  – December 4, 2020

While big family gatherings aren’t in the cards for you this year, don’t let that stop you from making a celebratory, party-worthy cocktail. Even if it’s just you and close family and friends (socially distanced, of course, possibly wearing red-and-green-checked face masks tricked out with Rudolph-style noses), few things uplift spirits more than, well, spirits—mixed with seasonal ingredients in a cocktail that looks and tastes like the holidays.

These three drinks from Very Merry Cocktails, written by Jessica Strand and photographed by Ren Fuller (who shot much of our recent camping issue), fill the bill perfectly. Since you’ll likely be making these for a smaller group than you might otherwise, be sure to buy the best ingredients possible. Splurge, if you can, on top-shelf bottles, using high-quality crisp, dry sparkling wine, and make merry in the moment with gratitude and good cheer.

Bonus: The leftover honey and cinnamon syrup can be drizzled over waffles or pancakes or used to sweeten hot tea and other beverages.

The Western Holiday Bar

These Western brands can elevate these cocktails or round out your holiday home bar.

A Taste of the West on the Rocks

Courtesy of Garrison Brothers Distillery

Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon

This Texas bourbon has lovely toffee, oak, smoke, and caramel notes.

Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon, $85
   

St. George Pear Brandy

30 pounds of Bartlett pears go into every bottle of this exquisite eau de vie from the pioneering Bay Area distillery.

St. George Pear Brandy, $43
   

Oakland Spirits Co. Automatic Sea Gin

Someone’s going to ask for a G&T. Blow their mind with this gin made from locally foraged coastal botanicals.

Oakland Spirits Co. Automatic Sea Gin, $35
   

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs

This elegant crisp California bubbly will make a fine champagne cocktail.

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs, $39-52
   

Essential Cocktail Tools

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