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The 5 Best Holiday Cocktails (and what to pair them with)

Pair these festive drinks with wild seafood

    Photo by Hannah Pemberton

    If nothing else, the holidays allow us to indulge fully in the sensory pleasure of eating, and the right cocktail or wine pairing can take a perfectly serviceable meal and kick it up several notches. That’s why we sat down with Culinary Director Grace Parisi to get the scoop on her favorite holiday cocktails that cut through cold weather, rich food, and (ahem) that one mandatory work party.

    We’ll walk you through Grace’s favorite wintry beverages and tell you which delicious Sitka Seafood Market recipe to pair them with. Because if there’s yet another way to augment the joy and excess of the holiday season, we know you’ll want in.

    1. Hot Toddy

    With lemon, honey, and hot water, the recipe for a classic hot toddy is strikingly medicinal, like something your mother might give you for a cold. Even (and especially) with its trademark whiskey, this cocktail is the perfect cure-all. We recommend whipping up a batch of brown butter chocolate chip cookies to serve alongside, queueing up a winter movie, and settling in for the evening — even (and especially) if it’s a weeknight.

    2. Mulled Wine

    Mulled wine is not just for those who aspire to quaint cottage living, or sangria diehards in need of a seasonal reality check. Mulled wine is for everyone. Ina Garten’s recipe is a classic, infusing a bottled cabernet with a medley of aromatic spices. Enjoy this warm, spiced concoction with a dish that’s hearty and rich, like a buttery, flaky quiche or salmon wellington. You may fall asleep after dinner, but it’d be the best sleep of the season.

    3. Negroni

    Simply put, the negroni is a classic and an absolute must for the aspiring mixologist. And with just three main ingredients, it’s luckily quite easy to make. Once you find the right ratio of gin to campari to sweet vermouth, negronis are the perfect accompaniment to any sort of crudo, like this jaw-dropping tuna carpaccio or our gravlax toasts with shallot-caper relish. If you really want to go all out, set up a bar at your next holiday soiree and make these to order at cocktail hour. Serve with any (and all) of our delicious seafood hors d’oeuvres.

    4. Sidecar

    A traditional sidecar is citrusy, tart, and refreshing, served with an orange twist and a sugar rim — a nice foil to the heavier, warming drinks above. Because winter is for amber liquors, a sidecar is made with cognac, a French spirit that demands an equally French cheese for pairing. We recommend serving the sidecar alongside our brie and salmon pizza.

    5. Bourbon Old Fashioned

    We’re big fans of classic Midwestern supper clubs, where you sit down to an old fashioned and a fish fry on Friday night. There’s no stand-in for the experience, but our seafood and the right cocktail will take care of the food, no problem. Pair this bourbon old fashioned with these crispy halibut fish fingers.

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