It’s that time of year again—the holidays. We have Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve to look forward to and anything else you might celebrate. That means endless food, booze, family, friends, and fun. While that’s great, and there’s so much to look forward to, it can also get expensive.
People tend to drink more during the holidays as holidays are times of celebration, and everyone is in good spirits. The more people drink, the more you have to buy, and the more you’ll have to pay. All that excess alcohol is already on top of all the food and gifts you’ll have to pay for as well.
So, if you’re planning on hosting friends for a Friendsgiving, family for the real deal, or even a party for New Year’s Eve, you need to be mindful of what you’re serving to drink. Although it can be nice to spend a little more than usual on a nice bottle of wine or whiskey now and then, you may not want to do that during the holidays.
Rather than shell out some big bucks for fancy liquor, opt for some cheaper bottles. We’ve created the ultimate list of the best cheap liquor that you should use for your holiday cocktails. You’ll be sure to impress your guests while saving your wallet. What’s more, we have provided some cocktail ideas for each of the upcoming holidays for you.
Cocktails for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a holiday for celebration, endless plates of food, and, of course, a few drinks with the family. During that special Thanksgiving dinner, your family may open a couple of bottles of wine, as it’s great to have something to pair with food. However, try spicing things up this year by adding some Thanksgiving cocktails to the mix.
These specialty cocktails are perfect for a post-dinner drink as they’re light enough to settle well and tasty enough to keep you going. Plus, they can all be made on a budget.
Apple Cider Mimosas
Everybody loves a mimosa, so why not serve them up to your family with a unique twist?
- 2 tbsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon
- 1 cup of apple cider
- 8 oz vodka
- 750 mL bottle of bubbly (Champagne, Prosecco, etc.)
- Combine sugar and cinnamon on a plat
- Wet the rims of champagne flutes and dip into cinnamon sugar mix
- Fill champagne to ¼ with apple cider
- Pour 2 oz of vodka
- Fill to the top with bubbly
Maple Bourbon Cocktail
Bourbon cocktails are classy and tasteful drinks. Make them during the holidays with a twist, and you’ll be sure to impress.
- 1/2- 1 cup of ice
- 1 ounce of fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 2 oz of bourbon
- ½ oz maple syrup
- 2 dashes of bitters
- Orange peel
- Maraschino cherry
- Combine ice, juice, bourbon, syrup, and bitters in a cocktail shaker and shake well
- Strain into a glass filled with fresh ice
- Garnish with the orange peel and cherry and serve
Pumpkin Spice Mules
- 2 cups ice
- ½ cup vodka (plain or pumpkin-flavored)
- ¼ cup apple cider
- 12 oz can ginger beer
- Cinnamon sticks
- Pumpkin spice mix
- Fill 2 copper mugs full of ice
- Evenly pour vodka, apple cider, and ginger beer in the two cups
- Add in cinnamon sticks and sprinkle pumpkin spice on top
Cocktails for Christmas
Regardless of where your holiday takes place, get in the spirit by making some Christmas cocktails. Your family and friends will love the ideas and likely make them for you next time they host.
White Christmas Margarita
While margaritas may not seem like a traditional Christmas drink, it’s high time that changes. Make this Christmas-themed margarita, and you’ll see why this drink goes so well with the season.
- 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 12 oz silver tequila
- 8 oz triple sec
- Lime wedges
- Lime slices
- Salt & sugar for rimming
- Cranberries or other fruit for garnish
- Combine coconut milk, juice, triple sec, tequila, and ice in a blender
- Blend until smooth
- Rim glasses with lime wedges and salt/sugar
- Pour margaritas
- Garnish with lime wedge and fruit of choice
There’s no better way to start a morning than with a warm cup of coffee—unless that warm cup of coffee has whiskey and cream.
- 1 cup freshly brewed coffee
- 2 oz Irish whiskey
- ½ cup whipped cream
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- Chocolate shavings for garnish
- With coffee already prepared, add it to a mug
- Stir in brown sugar until it dissolves
- Add whiskey and stir
- Add whipped cream on top and garnish with chocolate shavings
This classic Christmas cocktail always warms you up at the end of the night.
- 3 eggs
- 2 2/3 cup milk
- 1 cup whipped cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup spiced rum
- 1/3 cup bourbon
- Lightly beat the eggs and add it to the saucepan with the sugar, salt, and milk
- Put the saucepan over medium heat for 10 minutes while stirring continuously
- Allow the mixture to lightly coat a spoon
- Remove from heat, add vanilla, and stir
- Cool the egg mixture by placing the saucepan in a large bowl of ice
- Chill the egg mixture in the fridge for another 20 minutes
- After it has chilled, add rum, bourbon, and whipped cream, and stir thoroughly
- Serve into cups and sprinkle nutmeg on top
The best cheap liquors to buy
Now that you’ve seen some of the best cocktails to make for the holidays, you have to find the right liquor to go in them, and on a budget, that can be even more challenging. To help you in your drink quest, we’ve already found the best cheap liquor that you can buy to use for your cocktails.
Vodka comes down to personal preference. Some people enjoy smooth vodka with no flavor, whereas others prefer vodka to come with a taste. Cocktail recipes often come with a flavored vodka recommended, but that is, by no means, necessary. You can always opt for a straight vodka to do the job.
Our pick for cheap vodka is Skyy Vodka, which can be bought for $16.49 here. Skyy is an American vodka known for being smooth, and it works well both over ice and in a cocktail.
Bourbon is known for having a complex and rich flavor. It can be enjoyed neat, on ice, or in a cocktail. Depending on your bourbon choices, you can experience earthy, oaky, or even sweet fruit tones.
The best choice for quality and price is hands-down Evan Williams Black Label when it comes to bourbon. It’s known for having a well-rounded flavor, with a tangerine twist and a pleasant aftertaste. For a 750mL bottle, you’ll pay only $17.49 here.
While the debate for the best tequila style, between gold and silver, is up in the air, we have to choose silver here, as that’s what the White Christmas Margarita calls for. However, if you’re set on a gold tequila, don’t let the recommended style of tequila stop you from trying the recipe.
Jose Cuervo is a common name in the tequila industry. The brand makes several styles, both silver and gold. Each of them has a unique flavor that’s clean, warm, and smooth. However, this Especial Silver is our go-to as it’s only $18.49 for a 750mL bottle here.
Irish Whiskey is always a favorite in bars, at home, or even as a gift. It’s easy to drink, and it has a wonderful flavor. Plus, Irish whiskey is a versatile drink as you can take it straight, in a cocktail, or even add a splash into your coffee. Of course, adding it into a real Irish coffee is the best way to go.
Irish whiskey is never as cheap as other spirits, so don’t be surprised if you can’t find a bottle with similar pricing to vodka. However, you can get a bottle of Jameson for $28.99. Jameson is one of the most well-known Irish whiskey names for a reason. Try it, and you won’t be disappointed.
Like tequila, many people have their preferred style of rum, white, spiced, or dark. For the eggnog recipe, white rum is your best bet. It’s got the flavor and color perfect for appealing and tasty eggnog.
Our choice is Bacardi, as it’s easy drinking, full of flavor, and a genuine, high-quality liquor. Find a 750mL bottle here for only $16.49.
As holidays come around, you want to have some cocktail recipes ready. At the same time, you don’t want to over-do-it on the price. Thus, by choosing the above recipes and liquors, you’ll be impressing your friends and family while staying under budget.
During the holidays, always keep in mind the potential side effects of over-drinking. Have fun, but take it easy and care for your body as well.