The best cocktails for the holidays are about capturing deliciousness in the glass. Whether stirred, shaken, or stacked, every cocktail needs five elements to come together to create something delicious. Those are spirits, sugar, acid, water, and bitters. All combined to craft a unique and flavourful experience. In a wine, you get every element of the drink already mixed. When it comes to cocktails, you build up each part to create a convergence of flavours. Bringing those five elements together is the science behind crafting the perfect drink and something you can quickly bring into your home bar.

With the holidays approaching, it is time to dive into everything shaken, stirred, and stacked. Getting into the reasoning behind how these cocktails are made, their ingredients, and how to make them at home. All use one star-of-the-show ingredient in each drink that can be found at the LCBO. 

Stack It Up

Stacked, build-in-glass, cocktails are by and far the easiest to make. Often shaker-free, some of the most recognizable and quick-to-sling cocktails are built in the glass. The approach you need is all about choosing the proper glassware and stacking it up correctly.

The Capo Tonic

A spritz-styled cocktail, the Capo Tonic is an easy drink to make and enjoy, featuring Caffo Vecchio Amaro del Capo as the star.

The recipe:

1.5oz of Caffo Vecchio Amaro del Capo

0.5oz lime juice

4oz of tonic water

Add all the ingredients, in the order listed, to a wine glass filled with ice.

Garnish with a lime wedge and serve.

This cocktail is bright, lifted and fun. This Calabrian Amaro brings notes of mint, aniseed and licorice. The savoury notes of the Caffo Vecchio Amaro del Capo make this cocktail an excellent aperitif for kicking off a great holiday party.  

The Maple Bourbon Smash

This built-in-the-glass muddled cocktail features the Ezra Brooks 99 Bourbon Whiskey as the star attraction.

The recipe:

0.5oz of pure, dark amber maple syrup

0.5oz of fresh orange juice

0.25oz of fresh lemon juice

4 dashes of cocktail bitters

1 orange wheel

1.5oz of soda water

2oz of Ezra Brooks 99 Bourbon Whiskey

In a rocks glass, combine maple syrup, orange juice, lemon juice, and bitters.

Then add in the orange wheel and muddle lightly.

Add the Ezra Brooks 99, stir twice, then finish with the soda water.

The Ezra Brooks 99 Bourbon Whiskey has an elevated 99 proof for an enhanced flavour profile, all done with oak-barrel-aged Kentucky straight bourbon. This cocktail brings in a lot of elements, mixing together sweet and tangy to craft a bold drink with a touch of bite. This is the mid-day sipper while cooking.

The Jungle Bird

This cocktail features Bumbu Original Rum and the star-of-the-show spirit, bringing a callback to summer and a different side of the stacked cocktail.

The recipe:

1.5oz Bumbu Original Rum

0.75oz Italian bitter liqueur

0.5oz strawberry liqueur

0.5oz simple syrup

1oz. Pineapple juice

0.5oz fresh squeezed lime juice

Add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake combined.

Then, pour into a rocks glass and serve with a pineapple wedge garnish.

Bumbu is an authentic Caribbean legend that evokes the rich, colourful history of the West Indies. With a quick shake and a mild build, this cocktail is in the Tiki Cocktail category and straddles the two styles. However, what is guaranteed with this cocktail is a momentary whisking back to warmer months, like a bird of paradise in a glass.  

Stirred To Perfection

When it comes to the question of shaken compared to stirred, it is all about what is in the drink. Stirred drinks are classically clear cocktails, ones that are not cloudy. And while those same cocktails can often be shaken, stirring is about keeping the aromatic of spirit-heavy drink front and center.

The El Duque Cocktail

If you are a fan of Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, then the El Duque is for you. The star-of-the-show spirit is The Newfoundland Distillery Co. Gunpowder & Rose Rum.

The recipe:

2oz of The Newfoundland Distillery Co. Gunpowder & Rose Rum

1oz Sherry

0.5oz of cold brew coffee

3 dashes of chocolate bitters

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail mixing glass, add ice and stir until chilled.

Strain into a chilled, stemmed cocktail glass and serve with a lemon peel garnish.

This unique rum takes this classic cocktail in a new direction. The Gunpowder and Rose Rum brings together aged Jamaican rum and wild Newfoundland roses with kelp, charred birch and sea salt to craft the smokey flavours of this rum. This savoury, complex drink can be an option for pairing at the dinner table with starter foods or to enjoy sip by sip. 


The Kiss Cocktail

A take on a classic, the Martinez cocktail, The Kiss Cocktail, is an enticing sipper featuring the Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin.

The recipe:

2oz Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin

0.75 red quinquina

0.75oz sweet vermouth

0.25oz maraschino liqueur

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail mixing glass, add ice and stir until chilled. 

Strain into a chilled, stemmed cocktail glass, serve with an apple slice fan for garnish.

Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin is the only gin in the world that should be vintage-dated, year after year, it is made from sourced herbs and botanicals. Made with this forged botanical gin, this cocktail, by nature, is all about aroma. It is a treat to smell and sip slowly and can complement a holiday movie marathon perfectly. 

The Boulevardier

As Barbaresco is to Barolo the Boulevardier is to the Negroni. Swapping out the gin for Bourbon, the star of this cocktail is the Rabbit Hole Cavehill Bourbon Whiskey.

The recipe:

1oz Rabbit Hole Cavehill Bourbon

1oz Italian bitter liqueur

1oz sweet Vermouth

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail mixing glass, add ice and stir until chilled. 

Strain into a chilled, stemmed coupe glass, serve with an orange peel or cherry garnish.

Rabbit Hole Cavehill Bourbon is a four-grain triple malt whiskey that brings spiced apple and honeyed-orange notes to this drink. The aromas and flavours of this bourbon work perfectly with the sweet and bitter combination in the glass. This cocktail can make it to the main course, especially with an equally bold dish. 

Served Shaken, Not Stirred

The cocktail shaker and the flare that comes with it are the mainstay of the bar and the at-home bartender. Shaken drinks are all about combining ingredients and adding texture to cocktails. The rapid shaking also creates a chilled drink void of the need to be served over ice.

The Ruby Cocktail

A fruit-forward sour with Chopin Vodka in the leading role. It is the perfect complement to soften and moderate this drink’s bitter and floral elements and bring them all together.

The recipe:

1.5oz Chopin Potato Vodka

0.75oz of elderflower liqueur

0.5oz of orange Italian bitter liqueur

0.75oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

0.75oz of fresh squeezed ruby grapefruit juice

1TBSP of egg whites

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and first ‘dry shake’ without ice.

Then add in ice and shake till well-chilled.

Serve in a stemmed cocktail glass with a grapefruit twist for the garnish.

From Polandès last family-owned vodka maker, Chopin knows that the best vodka is not odourless or tasteless. This is why Chopin is perfect for such a dynamic yet light drink. This is the type of cocktail you can shake up and serve with some music and good conversation.

The Tōji Moon

Featuring Gekkeikan Junmai Sake, the Tōji Moon cocktail combines all things part of the Japanese winter solstice. So, while this might look like a more summery drink, this is a perfectly fitting cocktail for some cool-weather sipping.

The recipe:

0.74oz of French herbal liqueur

1oz of yuzu juice

0.25oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

0.25oz red bean syrup

1 barspoon of yuzu marmalade

1.5oz Gekkeikan Junmai Sake

1 egg white

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and dry shake without ice.

Then add in ice and shake till well-chilled.

Double strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice.

Garnish with some freshly grated nutmeg.

Gekkeikan Junmai Sake is a unique style. Made in northern California with the traditions of Japan, it is herbaceous with hints of grapefruit and a light earthiness. So, while you would not expect it, this cocktail brings out some delightfully complex flavours that can add colour throughout a holiday meal from start to finish.


The Espresso Nutini

Putting the Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey front and center, this shaken coffee cocktail is a take on a classic that has been hot-to-trot this year.

The recipe:

2.5oz Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey

0.5oz coffee liqueur

1.5oz freshly pulled espresso

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.

Shake vigorously until well-chilled.

Then, serve in a martini or coupe glass with espresso beans to garnish.

This unique take on a classic brings in nutty and sweet caramelized notes. The Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey is a harmonious blend of an unlikely duo that just works. With its memorable and one-of-a-kind flavour, it has found a great home in this after-dinner finisher cocktail.

The J.P. Wiser’s Algonquin

This cocktail is a spin in a whiskey martini, and this time, J.P. Wiser’s 10-Year-Old Canadian Whisky is the star spirit.

The recipe:

2oz.  J.P. Wiser’s 10-Year-Old Canadian Whisky

0.75oz. Dry Vermouth

0.75oz. Pineapple Juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.

Shake vigorously until well-chilled.

Then, serve in a rocks glass—no garnish needed.

This cocktail gives a full nod to Canada, especially with this Canadian Whiskey as the star ingredient. The notes of caramel, honey, vanilla and dried fruit of J.P. Wiser’s 10-Year-Old Canadian Whisky meld so well with the ingredients of this shaken cocktail to create a memorable drink that is an ideal pair with a good board game holiday party.

The Pomegranate Margarita

If you have ever wanted a winter Margarita, now is your chance. This is the Marg of the moment, featuring the Codigo 1530 Blanco Tequila as the star spirit in this drink.

The recipe:

2oz Código 1530 Blanco Tequila

0.5oz fresh squeezed orange squeezed

1oz fresh squeezed lime juice

0.5oz pomegranate juice

0.25oz Agave Nectar

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.

Shake vigorously until well-chilled.

Strain and serve in a rocks glass rimmed with pink salt. 

A moment without a Margarita is never on the table. But you need an excellent tequila to do a margarita right. There is never a corner cut in Código 1530’s production, and it is made using only perfect inputs and an age-old secret family process. With the bright and crisp Código 1530 Blanco leading the charge in this drink, this is the ideal shaken cocktail to inject some good time and fun into your next holiday party. 

For all the home bartenders out there this holiday season, cheers to you. Find all the star ingredient spirits at the LCBO and enjoy every part of the holiday season!

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