In my dreams, my house has an entire room just for wrapping presents. There is a special cutting device for getting the wrapping paper straight and not ripping it. Bows are sorted by color and size.
For someone who was always the designated present wrapper in the family, this is what I fantasize about, but without a fancy room to keep everything in, the kitchen table remains my trusty stand-in. A solid drink in hand makes wrapping a pile of presents even more enjoyable.
If you’ve got a night of wrapping presents ahead of you, take a look at our recommendations for tasty cocktails and zero-proof beverages. The perfect drink awaits!
Robin Shreeves joins Elana Lepkowski in compiling this list.
Hot Buttered Rum With Orange & Vanilla
If you’ve roped in a few people to help with the wrapping, treat everyone to a batch of these hot buttered rum cocktails. The vanilla and orange compound butter needs to be made ahead of time, but it will keep for weeks in the refrigerator, which means you’ll have an excuse to make yourself a cup of this richly spiced hot cocktail whenever the fancy strikes. EL
Spiced Mulled Wine
If mulled wine is not on the menu, it’s not a holiday party. And keeping a batch in the fridge means that you can warm yourself up a cup anytime you like. Inhale that sweet and spicy aroma while warming your hands with a cup for an instant gift-wrapping party tonight. EL
You want a cocktail, but you’ve also got presents to wrap for all those family members coming by tomorrow and it’s past your bedtime. A little caffeine in that drink could help! An espresso martini, made with coffee liqueur and espresso, will keep you alert through all those bows. EL
Brown Sugar Irish Coffee
Prefer your caffeinated cocktails hot? This brown sugar riff on the classic Irish Coffee is a sweet and boozy concoction that is simple to make, with enough brown sugar syrup left over for waffles the next morning. EL
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Over eggnog? Milk Punch is an elegant alternative, and, despite the name, can be made as a single serving. With a mix of cognac and Jamaican rum, this silky, spicy sipper will make staying up late feel like a treat. EL
Cranberry Apple Sangria
An easy alternative to making a cocktail when it’s time to stay up late wrapping gifts is to have it already made in the fridge waiting for you! This Cranberry Apple Sangria can be batched up to 3 days ahead of time and served cold, room temperature, and even warmed up! EL
Fall-Spiced Old Fashioned Cocktail
The name might say fall, but you can enjoy this spiced sipper all winter long. For when you need a strong but seasonal twist on a classic cocktail, try this. It also pairs well with those cookies you’ve left out. EL
Non-Alcoholic Negroni (NAgroni)
A Negroni cocktail is my go-to all-season drink, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find a glass near my wrapping station, but if you’re looking for a non-alcoholic alternative that is pretty close to the boozy original, this is a must try! This bittersweet and slightly citrusy n/a drink has a few more ingredients than the classic, but the mix is still easy to stir together and strikes the perfect balance of flavors. And don’t forget the drink’s own decorative bow, the orange zest! EL
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Hot Mulled Cider
Put a pot of mulled cider on the stove in the evening and you can keep your cup warm as you top it off all night. Hot Mulled Cider works both on its own, or with the addition of alcohol like spiced rum or brandy. And, if you’re looking for a little something sweet on the side, a few brownie bites are the perfect fuel for wrapping all those presents. EL
For those times when you just want a rich cup of hot chocolate, do yourself a favor and get out the good chocolate and make yourself this cup. I especially love it with a touch of cinnamon. Not into, or can’t do, dairy? This paleo version is equally rich and creamy. EL
Boozy Hot Chocolate
Here's another spin on hot chocolate—one for the grownups. Made with real melted chocolate, it gets a kick from bourbon, rum, or your favorite cream liqueur. SB
Chamomile-Honey Hot Toddy
Done for the night? Ease into rest with a comforting chamomile-honey hot toddy. The warm infusion of chamomile tea, whiskey, lemon, and honey will whisk you off to sleep in no time. EL
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This twist on the classic cosmo from the 90s has been upgraded with falernum, a Bajan liqueur with hints of allspice, clove, and almond. EL
This easy eggnog contains just cream, milk, sugar, eggs, and spices plus your choice of rum or bourbon if you choose to add spirits at all. It's delicious with or without the booze, the choice is yours. RS
Coquito (Puerto Rican Coconut Eggnog)
This traditional Puerto Rican holiday punch has a base of sweetened condensed milk, cream of coconut, evaporated milk, and coconut milk. It's similar to traditional eggnog, although it contains no egg. Add rum and spices, heat, chill, and serve. RS
This cocktail just looks like the holidays, doesn't it? Pomegranate juice gives its ruby red color, tequila gives it its kick, a rim of salt is a big snow-like, and a sprig of rosemary gives it the seasonal hue of green. RSContinue to 17 of 21 below.
Apple Cider Hot Toddy
The hot toddy isn't just for when you're feeling under the weather, although this is the drink you'll want if you do have the sniffles while wrapping. It's the perfect cocktail for when you want to warm up at any time. If you leave the bourbon out, it's a delicious Not Toddy that's similar to a spiced hot cider. RS
Winter Spiced Orange Mocktail
Made with a "squash"—a non-alcoholic concentrated syrup—for this slightly bitter mocktail, a delicious way to have your cocktail without the booze. Combine the syrup with club soda for some fizz. If you get chilly, the syrup is also a complementary addition to hot black tea. RS
Brandy Alexander Cocktail
Brandy, crème de cacao, and heavy cream combine to make this thick, creamy, slightly chocolatey cocktail. Use a 1:1:1 ratio of ingredients, or if you have a really good brandy, double the amount in the drink. RS
If you're throwing a gift wrapping party to pass the time with company while making packages look pretty, serve this holiday punch. Combine bourbon and hard cider with juices, ginger beer, and cinnamon simple syrup, dust off the punch bowl, and serve. RSContinue to 21 of 21 below.
Pear Ginger Shrub
Juicy pears, spicy, warming ginger, sugar, and tart apple cider vinegar combine to make a shrub. Refrigerate the shrub for 10 days before using, then mix it with club soda, seltzer, or tonic water to create a tasty drink. RS