Although we are fully in the swing of the holiday season, things are inarguably different this year. With COVID-19 continuing to spread across the United States and here in Central Oregon, many families have opted to stay home this year and not travel, instead moving many of the holiday traditions online. Whether you are entertaining family and friends online or in-person this holiday season, nothing helps liven the mood like a festive cocktail that is tasty and easy to make. Use the cocktail recipes below and you will be all set to entertain — trust us.

The White Russian

Although not Russian in origin, this cocktail surely is Russian in nature with vodka as its primary ingredient. The cocktail recipe first appeared as an insert in the Oakland Tribune in 1965, but it did not become immortalized until the late 1990s after the release of The Big Lebowski. Enjoyed hot or cold, the White Russian is easy to make and always a hit with the guests!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • 1 oz coffee liqueur
  • 3 oz fresh cream

Instructions

  • In an Old-Fashioned glass filled with ice, or a mug if preparing a warm cocktail, add both the vodka and coffee liqueur
  • Gently add the fresh cream and stir slowly to mix

The Dark and Stormy

A cousin of the beloved Moscow Mule, this cocktail never fails to impress. Since originating from the Caribbean, this cocktail has gone on to develop some of the most ardent of fans that swear by it. The Dark and Stormy may only consist of three ingredients, but the simplicity of the recipe allows for each component to shine — this is why we recommend using a top-shelf bottle of rum!

Ingredients

  • 2 oz dark rum
  • 3 oz ginger beer (important to note distinction from ginger ale)
  • 1 lime wedge (optional)

Instructions

  • In a tall glass filled with ice, add both the ginger beer and rum
  • Stir and garnish with a lime wedge

The Whiskey Highball

As with most two-ingredient cocktails, a successful Whiskey Highball comes down to the details. The cocktail’s simple recipe — whiskey, club soda, and ice — often leads some to underestimate the importance of each step in its preparation, so make sure to adhere to a few essential tips: use your favorite whiskey — preferably one you would sip on — high-quality ice and very chilled, unopened club soda. Also make sure to not stir the drink too long, otherwise the drink will go flat more quickly.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz your favorite whiskey
  • 4 oz club soda

Instructions

  • In a highball glass with ice, add the whiskey
  • Slowly add club soda while stirring gently

The Tom Collins

Unlike the previous three cocktails, the Tom Collins lacks a concrete origin story. What is known for certain, however, is when the cocktail’s popularity took off. First published in 1882 in a book titled, “New and Improved Bartender’s Manual: Or How to Mix Drinks of the Present Style,” the cocktail was advertised as a high-quality cocktail that was easy enough to make at home! With no need for a shaker, strainer or any top-shelf liquors (although we do, as always, recommend using the best-tasting liquor you can find), anyone can make a Tom Collins at home quickly and easily.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz gin
  • 2 oz club soda
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz simple syrup
  • Lemon slice & maraschino cherry (for garnish)

Instructions

  • In a chilled Collins glass with ice, add the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup
  • Slowly add the club soda while stirring gently
  • Garnish with a maraschino cherry and slice of lemon (optional)

The holidays are a notoriously stressful time of year, especially when it comes to entertaining. By following the two-minute recipes above, though, you can rest assured knowing you are well-prepared for a gathering of any size. Easily scale the recipes above to accommodate a party of any size, whether it be a family of 10 or a night in alone by yourself. Whatever your holiday season ends up looking like, and whether or not you were able to join family and friends this year, these cocktail recipes will be the highlight of any event!