Making Spirits Bright: Your Holiday Drink Guide

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Food Network Sandra Lee Santas Sleigh Cocktail

Photo by: Marshall Troy ©FOOD NETWORK : 2012,Television Food Network,G.P.

Marshall Troy, FOOD NETWORK : 2012,Television Food Network,G.P.

With the holidays officially in full swing and the end of the year just one month away, you'll likely be planning at least one or two seasonal get-togethers in the next few weeks. Instead of stocking your bar with everyday bottles of wine, this year toast to good friends and good cheer with easy, crowd-pleasing holiday cocktails. We've rounded up some of Food Network’s favorite adult-only drinks like eggnog and mulled wine and more family-friendly options like hot chocolate to help you shake up your holiday cocktail parties with ease. Check out our top picks below, then tell us in the comments: what's your favorite holiday drink?

One of the most beloved seasonal cocktails, eggnog is a party-ready sipper that's deliciously rich and just sweet enough. If you're craving a classic preparation of this no-fail favorite, look to Alton's five-star Good Eats Eggnog. For a new twist on traditional eggnog, however, prepare a batch of Sandra Lee's Irish Eggnog from Food Network Magazine made with Irish cream liqueur and Irish whiskey, or her Santa's Sleigh Cocktail (pictured above), which dresses up store-bought eggnog with amaretto liqueur, brandy and fragrant cinnamon sticks.

Mulled Wine

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

When entertaining crowds, it can be difficult and downright exhausting to mix up made-to-order cocktails for a room full of guests. Instead of playing bartender all night, prepare a double or triple batch of a single signature cocktail or two and let guests help themselves. Rachael and Ina opt for warm, comforting classics like Hot Buttered Rum and Mulled Wine (pictured right), respectively. Both recipes can be made in 20 minutes or fewer and feature traditional flavors and scents of the season, like cinnamon and cloves, although Rachael's rum boasts sweet honey while Ina's wine is finished with zesty orange peel.

If you're hosting young guests this holiday or simply prefer to stay away from alcohol, leave out the rum in Food Network Magazine's Hot Dulce de Leche or try a cup of top-rated Peppermint Hot Chocolate (pictured left) for a warming winter treat. This thick, rich cocoa is made with just a handful of ingredients and is ready to drink in 15 quick minutes. Top with a spoonful of sweetened whipped cream for a special finish to this kid-friendly classic.

Check out Food Network Magazine 's collection of 50 Holiday Drinks for more easy recipes and seasonal drink ideas.

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