December has always been my most favorite time of the year. Since I was a child I was always excited, and not just because school was out and I was about to get Christmas presents, but that was never a bad thing. I was so excited about seeing my family and friends from out of town. My mom always had our house decorated from top to bottom and there was always warmness to it. Wherever my family gathered, there was always plenty of incredible food and the drinks were flowing. Time with others is a wonderful thing to celebrate. So let’s celebrate with drinks.

Champagne, Prosecco, Cava or bubbles are perfect for get-togethers. They are so flexible with what they can do. Literally, it is one of the only types of wine that can instantly set a celebratory tone. You can sip it in a flute or even add a little of your favorite liqueur to change it up. If the wine is a little sweet for you, add a bit of Aperol (a bitter Italian liqueur) or if it’s too dry try adding some Chambord (a french raspberry liqueur) or St. Germain (a crazy popular Elderflower liqueur).

A personal interjection: it doesn’t have to be a special occasion to enjoy some sparkling wine. There are tons of great bubbles that are very cost efficient to drink regularly. Everyone thinks that champagne has to be Dom Perignon or Veuve Clicquot but it can be tasty and not put a dent in your Pinto payment.

When it’s cold, whiskey will warm your soul. I can always remember whiskey on the bar during holiday parties at my grandparents’ house. Specifically Wild Turkey, it was my grandfather’s go to. A fun way to incorporate whiskey at holiday get-togethers is with a large batch drink. Batch cocktails are great for entertaining because they are done in advance and you don’t have to play bartender during your shindig. Punch bowls also look great on a holiday gathering table. Eggnog works great with whiskey if you’re looking for a two-ingredient batch but if you want something still festive but not so heavy, try my Bourbon Cider Punch.

Here’s what you’ll need: 1 liter of your favorite bourbon (I recommend Buffalo Trace), 60 ounces of apple cider, 11ounces of brown sugar syrup (equal portions of brown sugar and water, heat to boil until sugar completely dissolves; allow to cool), cinnamon sticks and fresh cranberries. Combine the bourbon, apple cider and simple syrup in a punch bowl and stir until mixed. Float the fresh cranberries on top. Serve in an old fashion glass with ice and add a cinnamon stick to each glass. Makes 15-19 drinks. But if you just want one: 1.5 ounces bourbon, half an ounce of brown sugar syrup, 3 ounces cider. Combine in a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a glass with fresh ice. It’s fun, festive and easy.

In my family, the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day have always been referred to as the Yule. You celebrate with friends and family as much and as often as possible. I hope these tips help you to celebrate the Yule in your house. recipe