HOLIDAY RECIPES: Desserts & Drinks

Now that you’ve planned for the Main Course and chosen your Appetizers & Sides, it’s time to bookend your meal with what really matters: Spirits and Sweets! No holiday meal can come to an end without one of the delectable desserts below, and whether you’re looking for pre-dinner drinks or some post-dinner fun, these festive cocktails will lighten up any holiday party.


Classic Pecan Pie

Pecan pies have been dressed up in countless ways—with bourbon and dark chocolate to name just two—but the classic never goes out of style.

From Pecans: Recipes & History of an American Nut

Heirloom Apple Galette with Honey Ice Cream

A walnut flling similar to frangipane makes this galette stand out from the crowd, and sparkling sugar on the pastry rim makes it gleam. Keep the honey ice cream in mind for other fruit desserts, such as grilled apricots or figs, baked pears, persimmon pudding, and peach or berry crisp.

From Wine Country Table

Tiramisù Classico

The perfect balance of coffee and sweetness, tiramisù appropriately translates to “pick-me-up.” Culinary legend has it that tiramisu was invented in Treviso, a small city in the romantic region of Veneto. Today, the classic dolce is made across Italy in a variety of ways; almost everyone in Italy will tell you that their family makes the best tiramisù.

From Eataly: All About Dolci

Chocolate Custard Tart

This recipe for mouth-watering custard tart comes from from Ferrandi, the Parisian school of culinary arts that Le Monde dubbed the “Harvard of gastronomy.”.

From Chocolate: Recipes and Techniques from the Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts

Canestrelli (Ligurian Shortbread Cookies)

Canestrelli are simple, buttery shortbread-like cookies and traditional of the Liguria Region of Italy. They have a characteristic flower shape with a hole in the center. They are rich and delicate, and not too sweet even when covered with a blanket of powdered sugar.

From Eataly: All About Dolci

Pumpkin Pie

“Synonymous with harvest time and cooler temperatures, pumpkin pie possesses the wonderful favor profile we have become accustomed to in the fall season. The Kerber’s version has a rich short bread crust and all of the classic spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.” —Nick Voulgaris

From The Kerber’s Farm Cookbook

Pastel Imposible

“Also known as chocoflan, this is cake and flan in one. It’s “impossible” because when you put it in the oven, the cake batter is on the bottom, with the flan on top, but as it cooks, they switch positions, since the risen cake is lighter than the flan. When you flip it, the flan is again on top, covered with the caramel sauce.” —Danny Mena

From Made in Mexico: The Cookbook

Zinfandel-Poached Pears with Mascarpone Cream

After several hours of steeping in a red wine syrup, these poached pears turn a rich ruby color. But that inky hue is only skin deep: slice and fan the pears to reveal their pale interior. To help with your holiday prep, the pears can be poached a full day ahead for an easy dinner-party dessert.

From Wine Country Table

Sugared Cranberries

These beautiful berries are incredibly simple to make. They are perfect for holiday snacking or for dressing up desserts.

From Entertaining at Home: Inspirations from Celebrated Hosts

Frittelle di Ricotta (Ricotta Fritters)

These bite-sized ricotta dessert treats are an easy way to make a big impression. Since they’re at their best right when they’re fresh, you should fry them up after the holiday meal when the coffee is brewing.

From Eataly: All About Dolci


Beverly Hills Egg Nog

A traditional recipe for creating the holiday staple from scratch.

From The Art of the Host: Recipes And Rules For Flawless Entertaining

Vegan Egg Nog

You can achieve the creamy consistency of classic egg nog from cashew nuts instead of eggs for a vegan version.

From Happy Vegan Christmas

French 75

The French 75 was created around 1915 in Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. Originally made with gin, this version uses Cognac, as inspired by the cocktail guru at Arnaud’s French 75 Bar in New Orleans.

From Julia Reed’s New Orleans


Try this fresh take on the classic French cocktail.

From French Moderne: Cocktails from the Twenties and Thirties with Recipes

Bloody Maria

To put a Mexican spin on this classic brunch cocktail, this recipe uses a smoky mescal in lieu of the customary vodka.

From Stone Edge Farm Kitchen Larder Cookbook

Prince of Wales

This champagne cocktail, which includes whisky, sugar, bitters, and fruit flavors, will certainly make your holiday gathering effervescent.

From Spritz Fever!: Sixty Champagne and Sparkling Wine Cocktails

Ponce de Leon

This mix of cognac, rum, Grand Marnier, grapefruit, and sparkling white wine will tempt guests from Thanksgiving dinner straight through to New Year’s Eve.

From Spritz Fever!: Sixty Champagne and Sparkling Wine Cocktails

Nuts About Coffee

Whisky or rum add extra depth of favor to this coffee and nut-flavored martini that can also be served virgin.

From From Garden to Glass: 80 Botanical Beverages Made from the Finest Fruits, Cordials, and Infusions