Our Favourite Honey Cocktails for the Holiday Season

Our Favourite Honey Cocktails for the Holiday Season

It’s cozy season, which means layers, heartier meals, and embracing more indoor time. It’s also a lovely excuse to refresh your regular rotation of mocktails and cocktails. From snuggling up with a hot toddy to toasting loved ones, what better way to usher in the year’s busiest entertaining period than with a delicious libation? Here are our top honey-infused cocktail and mocktail recipes for bringing a touch of summer to the festive season.

Hot cocktails

1. Honey mulled wine

Simmering a batch of mulled wine on the back burner as your guests arrive all but screams holiday spirit. This warm, spicy brew is perfect for preparing ahead of time and subbing honey in place of sugar pairs nicely with traditional mulled wine spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and anise. Best of all, there’s no need to reach for a super expensive bottle.

 Mulled wine recipe:

  • One 750mL bottle of red wine
  • ½ cup of premium raw honey
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice berries
  • Washed orange (or any citrus fruit), cut into 6 segments and stuffed with cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods

Add the wine, honey, and water to a saucepan and simmer while you incorporate the rest of the ingredients. Take care to keep the temperature low so as not to boil off the alcohol, and simmer the mixture for about 20 minutes. From there, you can ladle it directly into guests’ goblets or pour into a pitcher.

2. Hot toddy

The perfect nightcap and a cure for the winter blahs, the hot toddy is a cold season must. A traditional take on this demands whisky, but it can easily be left out for an alcohol-free version.

 Hot toddy recipe (adapted from NYT Cooking):

  • 1 ½ oz whisky (forego this for a non-alcoholic version)
  • ¾ oz or 1 ½ tbsp honey
  • Juice of a quarter lemon
  • Boiling water
  • Slice of lemon for garnish
  • Cinnamon stick for garnish 

Add the whisky and honey to a heatproof goblet and fill the rest of the cup with boiling water. Squeeze in lemon juice to taste, stir, and garnish with the cinnamon stick and lemon slice.

Cold cocktails

While toasty cocktails can happily accommodate a dollop of honey, it’s not as easy to add to cold ones. Cold amps up honey’s viscosity, leaving you with a clump of it instead of a smooth mix. Luckily, making a honey simple syrup provides a quick fix for this.

How to make a honey simple syrup

To begin your honey simple syrup, pour a ratio of 1:1 honey to water into a small saucepan. We suggest starting with half a cup of each and bringing the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Once it’s boiling, turn it off, remove from the burner, give it a quick stir, and let it cool completely. Voilà, you’ve made honey simple syrup. 

For a more robust honey flavour, feel free to play around with the ratios by doubling or even tripling the amount of honey you use. You can also add some extra kick with ½ tsp of chili flakes. Just make sure to strain them out before you use it. Sealed in an airtight container in the fridge, your simple syrup will keep for up to two weeks.

3. Partridge in a pear tree

Not just a classic Christmas carol, this crowd pleasing cocktail features notes of pear, honey, and citrus. While there are numerous variations on this one, our personal favourite includes pear-flavoured vodka with a champagne topper. Light and fruity, it’s a lovely sipper for pre-dinner cocktails or a boozy brunch.

For the non drinkers, this becomes a mocktail fast if you sub sparkling water for the champagne and a pear nectar for the vodka. Just make sure to pull back a little on the honey simple syrup if you do this so it isn’t overly sweet. Additionally, we highly recommend garnishing with a sprig of rosemary. More than just visually appealing, the rosemary provides the perfect foil to the sweetness of the pear.

Partridge in a pear tree recipe (adapted from Olive Jude):

  • 2 oz of pear vodka (pear juice for the mocktail version)
  • ½ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz honey simple syrup
  • Champagne to fill the glass (sparkling water for the mocktail version)
  • Rosemary sprigs for garnish


4. Honey Margarita

While there’s something to be said for a stalwart, this recipe riffs on the classic margarita with just the perfect hint of honey. It’s bound to become your new favourite go-to.

Honey margarita recipe:

  • 1 ½ ounces tequila
  • 1 ounce Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or Triple sec
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1 ounce honey simple syrup 

Shaken and served over ice, this will leave you with a tart and sweet honey margarita. You can also play around with proportions a little to suit your tastes. For example, bulking up the honey syrup will smooth some of the tartness, while adding more lime juice can make it downright sour. You’re also welcome to double the amounts or quintuple the recipe to fill a pitcher if you’re preparing it for a group.

Don’t forget to rim your glass. While lime juice and salt are an old classic, you can zhuzh it up by using honey simple syrup to help the salt adhere. Adding chilli flakes to your salt or rimming it with Tajin instead are also fun ways to mix it up.

While these are some of our personal faves, there’s no need to stop there! The Bee’s Knees, Gold Rush, Brown Derby, and the hibiscus tea mocktail are just a small fraction of the delicious honey drink recipes out there. Hap-bee mixing!



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