Cookies & Cocktails Holiday Party

Serve guests what they really want for the holidays: sweet, seasonal Christmas cookies and the cocktails that pair well with them.

Party in Five: Cookies & Cocktails

Skip savory appetizers and cut straight to the chase(r). This party celebrates what we all love most about the holidays: dessert and drinks.

To host this cookies and cocktails party, you'll need five essential ingredients: a DIY cookie garland, cocktail garnishes, holiday cookies, red roses and to-go boxes.

Take It Easy

No need to fuss over formal seating for this event. Put your living room coffee table to work as a dual cookie-and-cocktail buffet, and surround it with oversize pillows to create cozy seating. Use all-white serving platters to let the decorative crimson touches really pop.

A Moveable Feast

Set the party scene by styling a few of your favorite cookie and cocktail pairings on a modern bar cart. The great thing about a buffet on wheels is that you can move it around to accommodate the changing flow of the room as it gets more crowded.

Edible Art

The best way to adorn a blank wall at a cookie party? A homemade gingerbread garland. Cut gingerbread cookie dough into festive shapes before baking and make two small holes at the top of each one. Bake and cool, then use an icing pen to spell out a cheerful holiday message. Delicately string twine through each cookie for the finishing touch.

See More Photos: 7 Holiday Garlands Made Out of Food

Candy Stripes

Which cookies pair with which cocktails? Take the guesswork out of it for guests by handwriting pairing suggestions on red place cards with white gouache ink. Candy canes and cinnamon sticks play double duty as flavorful drink garnishes and pretty, complementary styling details. (You can also encourage guests to do their own experimenting with the cookie and cocktail pairings.)

Sweet & Spicy

The Festive Jam Sandwich Cookies are a Christmas classic and their heart-shaped holes will earn the love of guests. The jam adds a pretty pop of color, and the powdered sugar sprinkled on top looks like a dusting of snow. Their rich, buttery flavor pairs well with this clove- and cinnamon-infused Apple Toddy that provides welcoming warmth on a chilly winter day.

Get the Recipe: Festive Jam Cookie Sandwiches

'Tis the Season

This Gin and Cranberry Sauced cocktail celebrates the season with its actual cranberry sauce and sprigs of rosemary. Set out a shaker filled with the ingredients, and let guests play bartender by shaking, straining and pouring their own freshly chilled drinks. The cocktail's tart and herbal flavors are the perfect complement to fruit- and nut-studded Holiday Biscotti.

Get the Recipe: Holiday Biscotti

Fresh Effects

Keep things simple by pairing a store-bought sparkling cider with tangy, refreshing Lemon Bars: Both items will cleanse the palate and get guests ready for more tasting. Stick red-and-white-striped straws into Mason jars for a casual way to serve the cider (they're a great inexpensive glassware option).

Get the Recipe: Lemon Bars

Caramel Apple Cues

This It's a Wonderful Sangria cocktail is studded with apples, pears and cloves. The salty-sweet flavor of these Salted Caramel Almond Thumbprint Cookies can stand up to a drink with such strong flavors.

Get the Recipe: Salted Caramel Almond Thumbprint Cookies

Wine and Dine

This dark-and-dangerous duo of ruby port and dark chocolate is the key to any cocoa lover's heart. These Chocolate Coconut Balls are as easy to prepare as they are rich. And ruby port is one of the most-economical dessert wines on the market: Look for one in the $15 range and remember that guests will drink less of this than the other beverages.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Coconut Balls

Once You Pop

This party may be all about sweets, but it’s not a bad idea to offer guests one or two savory snacks to balance out all that sugar. Turn air-popped popcorn into a party-perfect dish by mixing the hot kernels with flavored salts or oils, or top popcorn with herbs or cheese

Try one of these easy recipes:

Popcorn with Herbs de Provence

Popcorn with Parmesan + Pecorino

Popcorn with Rosemary-Infused Oil

Get the Recipe: Popcorn with Rosemary Infused Oil

Keep It Simple

A boxwood wreath adds instant holiday appeal to your space. Sometimes small decorations and accents make a big impact.

Black, White and Red All Over

Wrapped gifts do double duty as holiday decor when stacked artfully in a corner. The key is choosing a limited color palette and sticking with it, making your gifts actually look like a thought-out decorative element. This look showcases striped and solid ribbons, as well as crisp papers in black, white and red.

Boxed and Loaded

Kraft paper to-go boxes are an easy and attractive alternative to the traditional doggie bag. Download one of the below printable box tags and carefully cut out each individual tag. Finish by punching a hole at the top and tying the tag with a black and white ribbon as the finishing touch. Guests will be able to tote home a few extra sweets (and you won't be stuck with all of the leftovers).

Sweets for the Road: Red and Black Tags

Sweets for the Road: White Tags

Sealed to Deliver

Encourage guests to fill their to-go boxes with leftover cookies so they can continue savoring the sweet flavors at home. The boxes are so charming, guests might even feel inclined to tie them up with the ribbons and gift them to a loved one.