Some holiday duos are effortlessly iconic: Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Dasher and Dancer (or Prancer and Vixen, for that matter), Buddy the Elf and bottles of syrup small enough to slide up his sleeves. The list goes on and on, and this year, we think there’s one more combo that makes the cut: holiday cookies and cocktails.
Are you hosting a festive little soiree with some of your favorite people on the planet? You don’t have to create a seven-course meal to make them feel at home. They’ll love you even if you don’t break out your heirloom china, and they’ll undoubtedly appreciate a more relaxed vibe — like a cookie and cocktail pairing party.
Because, c’mon, it’s destined to hit “classic” status at some point. We can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t enjoy sipping on adult libations, munching on sweet treats, and catching up with the people they care about.
To help get your cookie and cocktail planning off to a solid start, we’ve curated nine duos sure to delight the senses. Just remember to always drink responsibly, friends.
Cookie and cocktail pairing: Hot apple cider with buttered rum and maple leaf sugar cookies
If you’re of the opinion that fall should last all year long (and, really, who isn’t?), your perfect pairing is one full of autumnal flavors. And while we’d never begrudge anyone a pumpkin spice latte, we’ve got something even better in mind.
You can start paying homage to the fabulous fall season by whipping up a batch of our hot apple cider with buttered rum, inspired by Real Food By Dad. Simmering this boozy buttered brew fills your home with an aroma of fruit and spices so intoxicating your guests may never want to leave.
That will prove especially true when they see the accompanying platters of maple leaf sugar cookies. Inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction, these delectable sugar cookies build on the buttery goodness of the hot cider you’ll be serving. Plus, they’re just cute. And they’ll stay soft and delicious for at least five days, so they’re ideal for sending extras home with guests.
Cookie and cocktail pairing: Boozy pumpkin white hot chocolate and white chocolate dipped gingerbread cookies
We’ve never met a hot chocolate we didn’t like, and boozy blends are basically an art form. So, it just makes perfect sense to start with boozy pumpkin white hot chocolate inspired by Minimalist Baker. Cozying up with this Kahlúa-kissed pumpkin cocktail fills anyone with holiday spirit.
Your guests might have to trudge through the cold to get to your door, but if you have this Harry Potter-worthy beverage waiting for them, all will undoubtedly be forgiven. Happily, it doesn’t take much to perfect this recipe either — premium white chocolate melted in a saucepan, blended with a pumpkin puree mix, blessed with a shot of Kahlúa and topped with whipped cream, and you’ll achieve hero status.
Use that lip-smacking beverage’s white chocolate as a jumping-off point and bake a big tray of white chocolate dipped gingerbread cookies to go with. These grown-up, chic city cousins of gingerbread men are soft and chewy morsels to soak up some of that Kahlúa, so your cocktails and cookie party doesn’t turn into a “Debra got drunk and danced on the coffee table” party.
Cookie and cocktail pairing: A cool peppermint white Russian cocktail and classic candy cane cookies for Christmas
In a world where you can be anything, be the friend who’s cool enough to make your guests peppermint white Russian cocktails and cookies shaped like candy canes.
Starting with the obvious, your cool cred automatically goes up 10 points every time you make peppermint white Russians. The fact that our version of this classic cocktail combines the velvety consistency of half-and-half with the chocolatey aroma of coffee, a kick of vodka, and the holiday taste of mint is just extra bonus points.
Classic candy cane cookies are whimsical enough to keep the cocktails from veering too far into hipster territory and their delightful pairing makes you look like the friend who totally has it all pulled together. While we’ve gone with a timeless red and white theme, you can use food coloring or natural food dyes for more eclectic versions to match any decor or theme.
Alternating sips of white Russians with bites of melt-in-your-mouth vanilla-mint cookies? Sounds like our idea of a rockin’ holiday season.
Cookie and cocktail pairing: Vegan spiced apple margarita and Gluten-free and vegan chai-spiced snowball cookies
Vegans like to get schnockered up and eat sweets just as much as the next person. And while it’s true that vegan cocktail and cookie options aren’t always on the menu everywhere, you’re the host who thinks of everything — including options for everyone.
We recommend starting with our easy, guilt-free vegan spiced apple margaritas, inspired by Cookie and Kate. Vegans who have resigned to a mostly margarita-less life will rejoice when you introduce this version using vegan-friendly agave nectar and coconut sugar. It’s sure to make them feel like they’ve won the holiday jackpot having a friend like you.
When you reveal that you’ve also baked trays of gluten-free and vegan chai-spiced snowball cookies, your vegan and gluten-free friends might start suspecting you’re in the business of granting holiday wishes, á la Santa Claus. Lean into that goodwill even more by sending your friends home with their own personal goody bags full of these sweet and slightly spicy treats.
Cookie and cocktail pairing: Chocolate espresso martini and Chocolate-Kahlúa snowball cookies
If coffee is one of your love languages, you’ll swoon hard over a beverage-and-treat combo that packs a one-two punch of caffeine. Chocolate espresso martinis? Yes, please.
Don’t let Valentine’s Day have all the fun by saving our chocolate espresso martinis for that heart-shaped holiday. Rich chocolate, indulgent espresso, Kahlúa, and vanilla-infused vodka come together in this cocktail to create a warming drink worthy of Christmas merriment.
By pairing the martinis with cookies shaped like literal snowballs, you can amplify the winter-wonderment vibe — not to mention make the divinely unsubtle point that a little bit of Kahlúa goes a long way toward fostering holiday happiness.
Cookie and cocktail pairing: Gingersnap martini cocktail and Soft and chewy pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies
A quintessential Christmas flavor typically reserved for confections, gingersnap makes a surprisingly well-matched ingredient for a martini. Ours plays up the bold flavor with a mix of fresh ginger, molasses, simple syrup, ground cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and amaretto. And, because the holidays are meant for indulging, we recommend rimming your glasses in honey and crushed gingersnap cookies.
Instead of adding more gingersnap to the scenario (and possibly diminishing the impact of the martini), match the libation with a cookie still in keeping with the festive flavors of the season: pumpkin snickerdoodles. These soft and chewy treats boast a similarly sweet, yet slightly less spicy, flavor profile practically made to accompany our gingerbread martinis.
Grown-ups can’t always get away with being “cutesy,” but the holidays are obviously an exception to the rule. The cutesier the better, we say! And you can’t get much more cute than cookies that look like adorable Christmas mice.
Because the cookies are made with yummy cream cheese and a hint of cinnamon, the most complementary drink you can serve is homemade eggnog. For a grown-up gathering, though, we like to spike the creamy concoction with bourbon and amaretto, creating this homemade spiked eggnog.
Rest assured that on the night before Christmas, all through the house, not a creature will be stirring, not even a mouse… except for the ones you’re delightfully nibbling between sips of eggnog.
Cookie and cocktail pairing: Spiced mulled wine and Orange cinnamon maple doodle cookies
While it’s tempting to pile on the treats dipped in white chocolate and coated with peppermint during the holiday season (and don’t get us wrong, there’s a time and place for those, too), mulled spices are just as deserving of a spot on your holiday menu.
During medieval times, heated wines were used to cure all ills, so just think of our spiced mulled wine as medicine. We can’t speak to the science behind it, but a few glasses of warm cinnamon, clove, anise, zesty orange, apple cider, cabernet, and a splash of brandy do seem to make us feel pretty darn good.
To complement the spices in the mulled wine, bake a batch of orange cinnamon maple doodle cookies. A fun seasonal update on classic snickerdoodles, these sugary spheres feature ingredients like pure maple syrup and orange zest that really brighten up the original.
Cookie and cocktail pairing: Noel spritzer and Classic holiday pinwheel cookies
If you want to take your holiday hosting to the next level, we’ll tell you what you need: a signature cocktail. And not just any cocktail will do. You need something inventive and original. You need something festive and full of joy. You need our Noel spritzer, and you need it with a plate piled high with classic holiday pinwheel cookies.
Like a signature scent, a signature cocktail will forever be associated with you once you’ve served it on a few occasions. Of course, you want to make sure its something quick and easy to make at a moment’s notice — not to mention delicious. The Noel spritzer, inspired by James & Everett, fits the bill beautifully.
A fuss-free and delightfully festive mix of chilled chardonnay, chilled cranberry-apple juice, chilled sparkling water, and cranberries and apples for garnish, it’ll make you wonder how you ever made it through the holiday season without it.
It would be a shame to waste an opportunity to go all-out with the Christmas flair, so go ahead and crank out bright red, white, and green holiday pinwheel cookies. Inspired by That Skinny Chick Can Bake, they’ll look great on a plate beside your spritzer. Plus, they’re the kind of nostalgic treat that’ll flood people with happy holiday memories. Really, what more could you ask for in a cocktail and cookie combo?