Visiting family and friends. Hitting the slopes or the trails. Wrapping up long, dark winter nights next to the fire. Whichever way you’re celebrating the holidays this season, incorporating a little sparkle is always a good idea. The bright pairing of vodka and sparkling wine is ideal for this time of year. Together the two make a smooth balance in cocktails in which vodka provides the structure, and Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, Lambrusco or other sparkling wines add zesty overtones.

There are lots of sparkling wines from around the world, each with distinctive flavor profiles and varying levels of sweetness and dryness. That said, each will affect the final drink slightly differently. So consider what you like in a cocktail (sweet? complex? citrusy?) and pick your wines accordingly.

If you’re entertaining, plan on keeping an eye on your guests’ drinks by staying ahead of their empty glasses. Wine charms are a fun accessory that will help you keep track of individual glasses throughout the evening. As the fun winds down and the night comes to a close, don’t hesitate to recommend to any friend or family member that they find someone to drive them home or stay the night if needed.

Melon Mini-Mimosas

Prosecco is a dry Italian sparkling wine made from the Glera grape, which tends to emphasize citrus notes, perfect for Mimosas. Start a wintry brunch off right with these bright green welcome drinks. Or alternate holiday colors by replacing the green melon with a Caribbean hibiscus liqueur a red Italian aperitif in every other glass. The drink can also be batched ahead of time (adjust the amount of lemon juice and simple syrup to taste) and poured out chilled to everyone at once (adding the Prosecco when you serve).

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce Ketel One Vodka
  • 1/4 ounce melon liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce Prosecco
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon simple syrup

Directions

  1. In a mixing glass, combine all ingredients, except Prosecco, with ice and stir well. Strain into a large shot glass or small flute with no ice.
  2. Top with chilled Prosecco and give a light stir to blend.

Twinkling Lights

Inspired by The Twinkle, a winter cocktail created by British bartender Tony Conigliaro, this version builds on the sparkling Champagne component using elderflower soda in place of liqueur. Serve in Champagne flutes for evening parties for an inventive New Year’s Eve toast.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce Ketel One Vodka
  • 3/4 ounce dry Champagne
  • Elderflower pressé / soda to top
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Directions

  1. Chill all ingredients. In a wine glass, Champagne flute, or large cocktail glass, combine ingredients.
  2. Give a light stir to combine. Garnish with long lemon twist.

Sparkling Espresso Martini

Coffee and sparkling water or wine — found at many coffee houses — make for an intriguing cocktail combination, especially with a hint of lemon. Consider this effervescent take on the wildly popular Espresso Martini a perfect aprés-ski pick-me-up.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce Ketel One Vodka
  • 3/4 ounce sparkling wine
  • 1/2 ounce almond syrup or banana syrup flavoring
  • 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces espresso cold brew

Directions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients, except sparkling wine, with ice.
  2. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass or Martini glass.
  3. Top with sparkling wine and stir lightly.
  4. Sweeten with additional syrup as desired.

Holiday Smash

Before cocktails were everywhere, there were “smashes” and “juleps” — combinations of spirit, fruit, mint, and sugar that were all the rage in mid-19th century America. This version combines classic ingredients with seasonal notes. But feel free to enhance yours with cinnamon, nutmeg, and even replace the sparkling content with a little eggnog. Ideal for get-togethers large and small.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Ketel One Vodka or Ketel One Botanical Cucumber and Mint
  • 1/2 ounce dry Champagne
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce Demerara simple syrup
  • 5-10 fresh cranberries (or a small dollop of cranberry sauce)
  • 5 mint leaves

Directions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine cranberries, mint, and simple syrup.
  2. Muddle enough to burst the cranberries.
  3. Add vodka, lemon juice, and ice, shaking well.
  4. Strain into rocks glasses filled with crushed or pebble ice.
  5. Stir lightly, top with Champagne.
  6. Garnish with a sprig of mint, rosemary, or lavender.

Botanical Spritz

Here’s another drink that moves effortlessly from brunch to shindigs, soirées and hootenannies. This classic Spritz takes advantage of the fresh, natural flavors found in Ketel One Botanical expressions. The lower-alcohol variant is crisp and bright.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces Ketel One Botanical
  • 3 ounces club soda
  • A garnish of fresh fruit or herbs

Directions

  1. Choose your choice of Ketel One Botanical varietal (Peach & Orange Blossom, Cucumber & Mint, Grapefruit & Rose) with soda.
  2. Combine in a wine glass over ice.
  3. Garnish with your choice of fresh fruit or herbs.

This article is sponsored by Ketel One.