The holidays are in full swing, and that means you will likely be invited to a party or maybe hosting one. Let’s step aside from making your traditional Christmas and New Year’s beverages and let’s take it to another echelon. I have a holiday drink recipes that are simple, quick, delicious and a crowd favorite. I ended up making these for Thanksgiving and have decided that not only were they delicious, but I’m also preparing them again for the upcoming barrage of holiday parties!

The holiday season is in full swing, and so is holiday party and hosting season. Today, we are sharing holiday drink recipes that are the perfect fit.

*This post was written by my frequent guest writer Nate and his wife Alisha. You can check out more from Nate in these San Diego posts and in the Gift Guide for Him this year* 

Holiday Drink Recipes

I’m a Costco shopper, I mean who isn’t? If you’re not, well…I’m sorry to hear that. My condolences. Anyways, as I perused the aisles aimlessly, I found this miracle in a bottle: Baileys Pumpkin Spice Irish Cream.

Here’s my first recipe:

Be careful, this is super complicated–

  • 2-3 Ice Cubes
  • Pumpkin Spice Irish Cream.

Directions: (As if you need them) Pour the Irish Cream over the Ice and enjoy. Refill as necessary, as often as needed!

Prep to drink time: 30-45 seconds.

For roughly $10 a bottle, you will be surprised how delicious it is. Now, some optional ideas: Add to coffee or pour in a poke cake of your choice. In reality, you can get creative.

Now onto the more complicated recipes. I mean it this time, I promise.

Apple Pie Sangria

Prep time: 5-10 minutes.

Total time: 24 hours….plus 5-10 minutes.

My wife sent me a picture of a recipe for Apple Pie Sangria. I wasn’t satisfied with the ingredients, so I decided to come up with my own based off some reading I’ve done. Here is the best concoction I came up with—

  • 3 Granny Smith apples, diced
    • Granny Smith apples will offset a lot of the sweetness otherwise you will need to add insulin in the mixers.
  • ½ cup Skyy Honeycrisp apple vodka
  • ½ cup Smirnoff Cinna Sugar Twist vodka
  • 1 bottle of white wine
    • I used Moscato, but you can choose a varietal that is pleasing to you. Make sure it’s cheap and not too dry. No need to spend $40 on a bottle of wine to infuse. I found a $4 bottle of Moscato at Trader Joes.
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 cinnamon stick
    • If you don’t have sticks, ground works fine. About ½ tsp.
  • 1 cup of club soda or seltzer water

Directions: Mix everything together in no specific order. Let stand in your refrigerator for a day before serving. Yes, you can drink it beforehand if you get too impatient. I would wait at least a few hours. However, after the science and chemistry all work together after a day, it tastes beyond good.

As you serve and notice you’re running low on sangria, guess what….keep adding cider, vodkas, wine, and club soda until you run out of ingredients. At that point, no one will notice that it didn’t sit a day.

Freedom Sangria

My wife makes probably the best red sangria I’ve ever had. I’ve been to Spain and Portugal, and nothing compares to the ones that she makes. It took a lot of begging and bargaining, but I was finally able to get the recipe from her to share with the readers…you ready for it?

In her words…

‘Take a deep breath, stretching to the sky, then shake it out: A good day is coming your way!


You need to put a big smile on your beautiful face! (It won’t taste the same if you don’t, so stop rolling your eyes and just do it). Then blast your favorite playlist and start dancing around your kitchen. It’s sangria time, and you’re about to be everyone’s favorite hostess, watch out Lil Debbie.


  • 2 bottles worth of red wine: I personally like to use all the left-over wine from a dinner party the night before or the bottles I’ve opened throughout the week but haven’t finished (maybe because I didn’t even like them that much). Yes, we are blending here, we’re Americans … but with that said I hope you’re drinking wine from either Italy, Spain, or France.
  • ¼ cup of Grand Mariner (It’s important to pronounce this ingredient wrong but in a French accent; and then have your husband correct you every time you make this sangria. Extra points for wrong spelling in a blog post too, correct spelling is Marnier).
  • Any fruit: Use any of your favorite fruit or whatever fruit you currently have. I highly recommend anything in the orange family, apples, and berries (strawberries and blackberries are my favorites). Remember that this is freedom sangria, so exercise your freedom, girl! We can vote now too 😉 …. well exercise your freedom while still within the limitations of the Sangria Law (see my sangria laws below). Chop all fruit into bite-size pieces. If using something from the orange family, make sure to cut all slices in half, so the juices flow.

Mix and let sit in the fridge for 24 hours. I know, I’m thirsty too but patience is a virtue and your tongue will thank you later.

Next day, add 1 can of peach citrus Fresca: Yes, that’s right. Fresca is my essential secret ingredient, so I consider us best friends now… you owe me one.   Don’t mess up your sangria with juice or sprite. The wine fairies will know, and your sangria will be horrible. Please note that Fresca is zero calories!!! All the flavor, no sugar! That means you can drink twice as much, guilt-free, and you won’t feel sick from all the sugar that’s usually put in other sangrias.

Stir and enjoy.

If this sounds like the best recipe you’ve ever read but the sun just woke up, and you don’t want your mother-in-law to realize how much you love drinking yet… don’t worry, I got you, girl. You can sub the red wine for white and include peaches… day drinking is now acceptable.

You’re welcome.

Prep time: 5-10 minutes

Total time: 24 hours, plus the 5-10 minutes. And two minutes for prep time dancing.

Alisha’s Sangria Laws…because freedom is never free:

Thou shall not add juice to sangria

Thou shall not add sugar to sangria

Thou shall not add cloves or any other stupid herbs that you think make you sangria seem smarter, more experienced, or world traveled…. It just makes it taste bad.

Thou shall not heat up sangria for thou might burn off the alcohol.

Thou shall not add ice for thou might water it down.

Thou shall always serve sangria in a stemmed glass because we’re beautiful and deserve the best things in life.

Thou shall eat all the fruit in Sangria, because these tasty babies have soaked up a lot of your alcohol and you want to have a fun night, right? Plus, they’re nutritious.

Thou shall burn all other sangria recipes like an ex-boyfriend photo and never think of them again.”

Okay, so that was my wife. I’m a lucky guy, right?? With that said, have a wonderful Christmas and New Year! //Nate

Which one of these will you all be making? I have an ugly sweater party coming up, and I plan on making both of these sangria recipes for it!

*Cheers to holiday drinks and great cocktails*