Wedding Planning

Simple Toasting Tips & 10 Holiday Cocktails

Nothing goes with a holiday party (or a wedding reception) like cocktails and toasts. Break out the cocktail shaker and warm up your mixology skills with these 10 intoxicating drinks! 

If you want a cocktail with dinner, you probably don’t want a drink that’s super sweet. There are already so many flavors on a holiday table that you should aim for something subtle and refined. Above, this gin cocktail is called ‘The Fixer,’ as it promises to heal all that ails you during your family gathering. It’s light and crisp and ever-so-slightly herbal.

At holiday occasions, the champagne is usually flowing freely. Make good use of yours by mixing it with Cointreau and peach bitters. The result is a slight citrus sweetness that will pair well with turkey and rich cornbread stuffing.

Got a holiday party where you need to take care of a crowd?  This fall version of sangria (below) is a lot of fun and easy to make!

After dinner you probably need a strong drink to get you through rounds of charades and avoiding political arguments with your relatives (thank you so much SNL, for one of your best moments in awhile).  The drink below is the answer to all of your problems. A potent combo of peaty scotch, rum, ginger, and citrus juices, consider it a present to yourself.

These two cocktails are just plain pretty, and definitely the sweetest ones in this post.  The drink above balances honeyed bourbon with grapefruit and lime. The deliciously pink libation below is an unruly combination of citrus vodka, cranberry juice, and a homemade cinnamon-clove syrup.

We love holiday fruit flavors like cranberry and red currant. Make your own sparkling cocktails with these to create simple concoctions.

More of a beer fan?  These two cocktails are for you. The first is a holiday version of the Moscow Mule (above) and the second is a delicious brunch drink complete with red chili peppers, tomato and fruit juices, and an extra-hoppy IPA.

Worried about the possibility of delivering a toast?  Here are some surefire ways to delight the crowd:

Take a few deep breaths and smile warmly.  If it is an impromptu toast at a party, you aren’t going to have the chance to rehearse. So, quickly organize your thoughts and relax as much as possible before speaking.

Introduce yourself. If you don’t know everyone in the room, it’s polite to mention who you are and why you are relevant. For example, mention that you are the bride’s brother if you are giving a wedding toast, or a family friend if you are at a party.

Keep it short and to the point.  A minute doesn’t seem like a long time until you start speaking in public. Don’t ramble or get caught up in trying to wax poetic.  Most toasts that are well-received and appreciated are those that are brief and simply worded.

Go for charm, not humor. While everyone believes they are truly hilarious, few people actually are.  Especially if you are delivering a toast at a wedding, whatever funny story you want to tell might be at the expense of the bride or groom. Rather than aiming to be the funniest speech of the night, endeavor to be the most charming one. Tell an anecdote that makes people smile, and end on a positive note.

Remember to close with a concluding statement. People need to know your toast is over and it’s time to raise their glass. End with something like, ‘And now let’s toast…’ or ‘Raise your glasses and wish…’  The crowd will smoothly follow your cue and your toast will end successfully!

Credits:  Straight Up   |   Five O’ Clock Cocktails   |   The Effortless Chic   |   Loving Cup   |   Honestly Yum   |   This Girl Walks Into a Bar   |   Garnish With Lemon   |   Chasing Delicious   |    Sugar & Charm   |   Stir & Strain