Holiday Drinks

Hosting a party can be lots of fun but most of us need an occasion to throw a party. Fortunately, there’s at least one holiday every month to provide year-round inspiration.

Start January gently, with a little hair of the dog from the year before. On New Year’s Day, serve Bloody Marys in the morning; they’re the most often-ordered hangover remedy. For Elvis Presley’s birthday on the 8th, serve drinks made with Tennessee whiskey. Buck the trend during No Name Calling Week; serve only drinks named after people – Rob Roy, Harvey Wallbanger, Mary Pickford, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, or Churchill.

February is full of fun. Serve Sazerac Cocktails and Hurricanes for Mardi Gras. Celebrate love on Valentine’s Day with Adonis, Casanova, Sex on the Beach, Fuzzy Navel, Pink Lady, Puppy Love, Paradise, and a Slow Comfortable Screw. Honor America’s presidents on Presidents Day by serving only beverages originating in the USA, like that Sazerac Cocktail, Tennessee whiskey, Kentucky bourbon, Southern Comfort, Mint Juleps, Long Island Iced Tea, and a Vanderbilt. Don’t let those wine bottles collect dust; have a wine tasting on Open That Bottle Night.

March 1 is Beer Day. The 17th is Saint Patrick’s Day – more beer but make it green today. Add some Irish Coffee or other cocktails made with Irish whiskey. Celebrate Arbor Day by planting a food tree and toasting it with beverages that come from trees. Think apples (Applejack), peaches (schnapps, Bellinis, Fuzzy Navels), nuts (Frangelico, Amaretto, Nutty Brown ale).

Defy the odds and serve alcoholic beverages with healthy reputations on April 7, World Health Day. Try red wine, gin and tonic, Bloody Marys. April 15, when income taxes are due, drives people to drink anyway. Why not just make a party of it all? Easter often comes with a feast. Champagne is an excellent beverage to accompany many traditional Easter menus and so are other light, refreshing cocktails that hint of warmer days ahead.

In May, serve Mom’s favorite beverage on Mother’s Day but remember our fallen soldiers with beverages reminiscent of their patriotic duties – B52, Blackhawk, Liberator, Airstrike, Torpedo, SOS, and La Bomba. And don’t forget the Mint Juleps on Kentucky Derby Day or cerveza and Margaritas for Cinco de Mayo.

Remember Dad in June by serving his favorite brew on Father’s Day. Honor Native Americans by celebrating June’s full moon, which was once called the Strawberry Moon by America’s original settlers. Serve refreshing frozen Strawberry Daiquiris.

Think red, white, and blue for 4th of July parties. Serve red and white wines and a bowlful of punch made with blue Curaçao, such as the famous Blue Hawaiian. Cool off with ice cream drinks on July’s third Sunday, National Ice Cream Day. Serve Brandy Alexander, Pink Lady, or Grasshopper frozen cocktails.

Serve doubles to celebrate Twins Day (all three of them) in August. Spike your favorite Kool-Aid with vodka on Kool-Aid Day or serve the fussy, fruity kind of drinks girls like on August 1, Girlfriends Day. Celebrate Simplify Your Life Week by throwing a party and serving nothing but good ol’ icy cold beer.

Celebrate Labor Day in September by serving up some drinks with hard-working names – Boilermaker, Steel Worker, Planter’s Punch, Third Rail, Side Car, Rusty Nail, Millionaire, and Buckaroo. Lighten up and get blown away on the 19th, National Talk Like a Pirate Day, with drinks like Rum Runner, Mojito, Cuba Libra, or Caribbean Breeze.

It’s impossible to think of October without thinking of Oktoberfest. Serve lavish quantities of beer, Liebfraumilch, beer, trockenbeeren-auslese wines, beer, Riesling, and beer. And beer. Celebrate Columbus’ discovery of the Americas with Italian wines and liqueurs such as Campari, Chianti, Amaretto, and Frangelico and cocktails such as Bellini, Caruso, and Genoa. Get ghoulish on Halloween with demonically named beverages – Vampiro, Mad Monk, Lady Killer, Corpse Reviver, Monkey Gland, Rattlesnake, Green Devil, Hammer Horror, Last Goodbye, Red Witch, and Zombie.

Serve plenty of moonshine on Sadie Hawkins day in early November and get the winter holiday season started on Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day, November 14. Serve low-calorie cocktails and light beer. A light, tart white wine, including Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Sauvignon, or champagne, provides excellent, palate-cleansing, balance to rich, heavy, sauce-laden meals such as the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

December is the perfect time to explore warm drinks and cozy up to a blazing fire. Serve the traditional Wassail but also consider Hot Buttered Rum, Irish Coffee, Tom and Jerry, Mexican Coffee, Egg Nog, and mulled wines and spirits.

Salute the old and get the new year off to a good start by serving plenty of champagne at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.