book cover for Very Merry Cocktails by Jessica Strand

We would never wish anyone a blue Christmas—unless we were referring to the yummy blueberry and pomegranate gin punch from Jessica Strand’s book Very Merry Cocktails: 50+ Festive Drinks for the Holiday Season (Chronicle Books, 2020).

Brimming with jolly cocktails, celebratory champagne sippers, warm toddies, party punches, and “zero proof” libations for all, this prettily packaged volume inspires us to put the holiday spirit in our bottled spirits (or is it the other way around?).

Here we share a trio of recipes for you to try at home, including an alcohol-free mulled cider with just a touch of real maple syrup to take it over the top. For a gift, pair this book with items for stocking or equipping the bar.


Cranberry Shrub Cocktail

holiday drinks, Cranberry Shrub Cocktail

With a splash of fizzy ginger ale and a homemade shrub (that’s a syrup made from fruit, vinegar, and sugar), this recipe puts a holiday-worthy spin on the classic cranberry-and-vodka. Sugar the rim for a frosty look, and garnish with fresh cranberries.

>> Recipe for Cranberry Shrub Cocktail


Evergreen Sparkler

Three glass tumblers filled with Evergreen Sparkler, a holiday drink of a fizzy lemon, rosemary, and gin

Instead of a gin-and-tonic, try this twist with fresh lemon and a rosemary-infused simple syrup. “This pleasingly piney drink will be a satisfying way to spread cheer after a day of decorating or a walk in a wintery forest,” writes Strand.

>> Recipe for Evergreen Sparkler


Mulled Cider

cups of mulled cider, holiday drinks

Nothing warms body and soul like a hot pot of cider on the stove filling the house with the heavenly aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg.

>> Recipe for Mulled Cider


Book review by Terri Robertson | Recipes reprinted from Very Merry Cocktails by Jessica Strand with permission by Chronicle Books, 2020 | Photography by Ren Fuller

Buy the Book