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24 Sep 2017


4'C Cloudy

By Gracie Carroll

15 Holiday Cocktail Recipes with Vodka, Bourbon and Whisky

By Gracie Carroll


The holidays are here and what better way to celebrate than by getting a lil’ merry with friends and family? Lately I’ve been really into trying to advance my cocktail-making-skills at home, and I’m excited to step up my game this holiday season by presenting guests with a few different holiday cocktails to choose from when I host everyone at #CasaGC on Christmas eve. Here I’ve pulled together 15 festive holiday cocktail recipes with vodka, bourbon or whiskey from a few of my favourite brands, including Crystal Head Vodka, Woodford Reserve and Stalk & Barrel. See below for some great inspiration to get you making your own holiday cocktails at home this year!

Holiday Cocktail Recipes with Crystal Head Vodka



Okay, so maybe a giant skull isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of holiday decor, but, you’ve got to admit it’s pretty badass, don’t you think? I love that Crystal Head Vodka is a high quality and Canadian vodka created by the legendary Dan Aykroyd and John Alexander that’s even blended with pristine water from Newfoundland! Check out 4 festive holidays cocktail recipes with vodka from their website below:

1. Crystal Tickled Pink



1.5 oz Crystal Head Vodka

3 oz. Prosecco

0.5 oz. cranberry juice

1 tsp. Maison 1883 Rose Syrup

How To Mix:

In a shaker filled with ice, add Crystal Head Vodka, cranberry juice and Maison 1883 Rose Syrup. Shake well and strain into a stemmed glass. Slowly top with Prosecco.

Garnish with a skewered blackberry and spring of rosemary.


2. Jingle Juice Holiday Punch



1 bottle (750ml) Crystal Head Vodka
1 bottle pink champagne or sparkling rosé
1 2-liter bottle cherry 7-up
Cranberries for garnish

In a punch bowl or large pitcher filled with ice, combine all of the ingredients. Stir well. Serve over ice and garnish with cranberries.


3. Candy Cane Cosmo



2 oz. Crystal Head Vodka

1 oz. peppermint schnapps

Sugar free cranberry juice

Candy cane garnish

How To Mix:

Combine all ingredients in a chilled glass and stir.

Garnish with a candy cane.

4. Crystal Holiday Mule



1.5 oz. Crystal Head Vodka

2 oz. ginger beer

0.5 oz. cran-raspberry juice

0.5 oz. simple syrup

How To Mix:

Mix Crystal Head Vodka, simple syrup and juice. Pour over ice and top with ginger beer.

Garnish with sugared cranberries and rosemary!

Holiday Cocktail Recipes with Woodford Reserve Bourbon

woodford reserve cocktails

Next up, we’ve got 8 amazing holiday cocktail recipes made with Woodford Reserve that have been created by some of Canada’s best bartenders! I love that they looked to Santa’s reindeers for cocktail inspiration, and below you’ll be able determine your ‘reindeer personality’  to see if you’re a strong leader like Dasher, laid back like Comet, or a social butterfly like Vixen. Read below to find your reindeer soul-mate and perfect holiday cocktail – plus you can use this as a fun reindeer game for grown-ups!

5. Dasher


As the lead reindeer, Dasher personalities are natural born leaders and successful in their careers. They lean towards classic cocktails that are spirit forward, a la Mad Men. A serious drink for a serious leader.


2 oz. Woodford Reserve
.5 oz. Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
.5 oz. Amaro Nonino
1 dash of Orange Bitters

How To Mix:

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass, fill with ice and stir. Strain into a rocks glass filled with one large ice cube or ice ball.

Garnish with a single skewered cherry.

*Created by Toronto bartenders Zak Doy from Rushlane and Kris Bahamondes from The Drake: together they’re known as the Wizards of the West.

6. Dancer


Dancer personalities are extroverts. They know everyone and can work a room like no other! This carefree cocktail is ideal for Dancers as it’s light, refreshing and won’t slow them down in their social pursuits.


1.5 oz. Woodford Reserve
.5 oz. Pimento Dram
.5 oz. Simple Syrup
1 oz. Lemon Juice
1 Egg White
Top with Degroff’s pimento bitters

How To Mix:

Add Woodford Reserve, pimento dram, simple syrup, lemon juice and egg white to a mixing tin. Seal the tin and shake once to begin the frothing process. Open the tin and fill with ice before shaking again. Strain out ice and shake for a third and final time. Double strain into chilled coupe glass and finish with Degroff’s pimento bitters.

* Created by the Wizards of the West

7. Prancer


Prancer personalities are the nurturers! They’re always concerned for others and are the first to help. A cocktail for these big-hearted personalities must include flavours that evoke emotion, just like them.   


2 oz. Woodford Reserve

10 ml Hazelnut Syrup

3 dashes Chocolate Bitters

Cinnamon Stick

Coconut water frozen into a large ice cube

How To Mix:

Pour all ingredients over a large coconut water ice cube.

Garnish with an orange twist and smouldering cinnamon stick.

*Created by Vancouver bartender Cooper Tardivel, from Hawksworth Restaurant

8. Vixen


Intelligent social butterflies with an edge, Vixen’s are loyal friends until you cross them; then look out! These complex personalities deserve an equally complex cocktail and a bit of bubbly to represent their dramatic flair.    


1 oz. Woodford Reserve (steeped in pineapple sage)
.25 oz. Lemon Verbena Syrup
1 oz. Fresh Pineapple Juice
Top with Bubbles (Champagne, sparkling wine, etc.)

How To Mix:

Add ingredients into champagne flute, finishing with the bubbles.

Woodford Reserve Infusion: Using a rolling pin, gently roll over a handful of pineapple sage, releasing the aromatic oils. Immediately add to a sealable bag or jar with the Woodford Reserve and seal tight for at least six hours. Strain leaves before serving.

Lemon Verbena Syrup: Make a regular simple syrup on the stove top (equal parts water and sugar). As the syrup cools, stir in the Lemon Verbena, then remove when cool.

* Created by Vancouver bartender Cooper Tardivel, Hawksworth Restaurant

9. Comet


Comet personalities are known to have said “dude” on occasion. Not much rattles these laid back individuals, but they do love the finer things in life; their cocktail combines luxury with balance to let the mellow times roll.


1.5 oz. Woodford Reserve

.25 oz. Amaro Montenegro

.5 oz. Coffee Infused Sweet Vermouth

.5 oz. China Liqueur

2 oz. Fresh Water

Dash of Dr. Adam Elmegirab Christmas Bitters

How To Mix:

Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass and stir well without ice. Serve in a sherry glass. Express lemon peel around the glass for aromatics.

For the vermouth: Infuse 1/2 cup freshly roasted coffee beans into one litre of sweet vermouth for 4 to 6 hours.

* Created by Montreal bartender Nader Chabaane from Fairmont Reine Elizabeth

10. Cupid


Cupid is not surprisingly, the matchmaker in the group. This personality wants everyone to find love and regularly invites new ‘friends’ to dinner who are single and ready to mingle. Their cocktail is designed to keep the holiday love flowing.


1.5 oz. Woodford Reserve Double Oak
.5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

.25 oz. Simple Syrup

1 spoonful of “Xmas Marmalade”

Dash of Dillon’s Pear Bitter

4 oz. Champagne (or sparkling wine)

How To Mix:

Place all ingredients except the Champagne into a shaker and shake firmly as the jam needs dilution. Double strain into a coupe glass and top with champagne. 

Garnish with a small spoon of marmalade.

* Created by Montreal bartender Nader Chabaane from Fairmont Reine Elizabeth

11. Donner


Donner is that one individual everyone wants to be around. Their magnetism can’t be defined but it’s something everyone is drawn towards. They don’t overcomplicate things and they’re classic, just like their cocktail.


1.5 oz. Woodford Reserve

.75 oz. Cocchi Americano

.5 oz. Simple Syrup

.5 oz. Citric Acid Water

3 dashes of Peychaud Bitters

How To Mix:

Shake all ingredients over ice, strain into cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lemon twist.

To make citric acid water, add one tablespoon of citric acid powder to 5 ounces of water.

* Created by Calgary bartender David Bain from Teatro

12. Blitzen


Blitzen personalities are known as the ‘funny ones.’ Their sense of humour is contagious and they can always warm up a room with laughter; it’s only fitting their cocktail should be one served warm.


1.5 oz. Woodford Reserve
.5 oz. Ginja Cherry Liquor or Cherry Herring

.5 oz. Cream Earl Gray Simple Syrup

2 dashes of Woodford Aromatic Bitters

How To Mix:

Add all ingredients to a steaming pitcher, or, over a stop top to warm (do not boil). Pour into a mug or tall glass.

Garnish with an orange twist and a cherry and serve.

To make simple syrup, make one litre of tea, strain and combine with one litre of water, simmer until sugar has dissolved. Don’t boil and cool before use.

* Created by Calgary bartender David Bain from Teatro

Holiday Cocktail Recipes with Stalk & Barrel Whisky


As a Canadian gal, I’m a big fan of drinking Canadian whisky so of course I had to include a few whisky cocktail ideas for Christmas! In case you haven’t heard of Stalk & Barrel yet, it’s a newer whisky brand (however, it is already an award-winning product!) that is made in small batches and hand crafted in Concord, Ontario in a micro-distillery. Here are few festival holiday cocktail recipes I pulled from my fave Jamie Oliver that you can easily make with Stalk & Barrel Canadian Whisky. Don’t miss their Blue and Red blends that are perfect for the holiday season and on shelves now at the LCBO!

13. Christmas Punch


“An old-school punch bowl is a really nice idea at a party, and this festively flavoured one is ideal for this time of year ”


75 ml clementine juice

150 ml Benedictine liqueur

225 ml whisky (such as Stalk & Barrel Canadian Whisky)

300 ml cranberry juice

1 vanilla pod , seeds of

1 clementine , thinly sliced

3 sour cherries , (optional)

How To Mix: 

Mix all the ingredients together in a jug and store in the fridge for 2–3 hours before using – no longer as the sour elements will start to affect the overall flavour of the punch. Serve in a large jug or bowl half-filled with ice. Mix well and allow to dilute for 5 minutes before serving.

(Original Recipe by Charlie Clapp)

14. Winter Sidecar


“The sidecar cocktail has been around for over a century, but the cinnamon rim and clementine juice make it even better ”


15 ml (plus a little extra) clementine juice

ground cinnamon , to rim the glass

50 ml Stalk & Barrel Whisky

30 ml Martini Bianco

How To Mix:

Moisten the rim of a cocktail glass with the extra juice. Sprinkle cinnamon on a plate, invert the glass, dip the rim in the spice, then set aside. Shake all the remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into the glass.

(Original Recipe by Giuseppe Gallo)

15. Classic Manhattan


“This is an absolute classic. I make a big batch of this before a party, then pour into chilled martini glasses and garnish as the guests arrive. You don’t need to make many though! ”


50 ml Stalk & Barrel Whisky

12.5 ml Martini Rosso (red vermouth)

12.5 ml dry vermouth

2 dashes of orange bitters

1 orange

How To Mix:

Stir the whiskey, vermouths and bitters together over ice, then strain well into a chilled Martini glass. Use a speed-peeler to add a strip of orange peel to garnish.





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