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Every winter, the holidays create a sense of excitement and anticipation. Many restaurants celebrate by adding seasonal dishes to the menu, giving diners the opportunity to indulge in rich flavors and hearty portions. This year, extend these limited-time offerings to your drink menu with a selection of special holiday cocktails. It’s a wonderful way to delight diners and incorporate traditional ingredients in new and unexpected ways.

A holiday cocktail also provides another way for guests to enjoy classic Christmas flavors. They might not have room for dessert, but who can resist a cranberry margarita?

How to add holiday cocktails with your delivery menu

Holiday cocktails can bump up your end-of-year revenue by a significant amount. Restaurants often see an increase of $14-$15 per order when they add alcohol to the delivery menu. First, however, you need to figure out how to incorporate drinks into your delivery system.

To start, make sure you’re in a Grubhub market that allows alcohol delivery; the rules vary based on local and state laws. Your account adviser can help.

If you’re good to go, it’s time to optimize your restaurant for alcohol delivery. Find a spill-proof packaging solution so your cocktails arrive in good condition. For drinks that must be served hot or cold, you may need to consider insulated containers. Keep in mind that Grubhub rules require you to package alcohol separately and label it clearly.

Once you have a system in place, you can add the seasonal drinks to your delivery menu. High-quality photos and compelling descriptions are a great way to attract attention and encourage diners to add a drink to their meal. Make sure to let customers know Grubhub drivers will check IDs upon delivery; it’s also a good idea to state that alcohol will be returned to your restaurant if an underage person or someone without ID tries to receive the order. By clarifying the terms up front, you can streamline the alcohol-ordering process and avoid surprises.

8 holiday drinks to add to your winter menu

When your customers are in the mood to celebrate, a cocktail is the perfect solution. As you consider different drinks for your delivery menu, think about the options that will appeal to your loyal diners. Incorporate classic Christmas flavors, such as peppermint and cranberry, or find ways to put your own spin on beloved cold-weather beverages.

The right winter drinks can also spice up your social media marketing campaigns. After all, customers are always on the lookout for new experiences and fun, festive opportunities — a colorful Christmas cocktail on your Instagram page can be all the motivation they need to choose your restaurant over a competitor.

1. Hot chocolate

Is there anything better than a hot chocolate on a cold day? Well, maybe one — a spiked hot chocolate. Add a shot of Baileys Irish Cream and you have a creamy, adult-friendly take on this winter classic. Customers will be delighted to order it after a day of skiing or a long week of driving in the snow.

Hot chocolate is like a blank canvas — you can spice it up with a variety of liquors. Creme de menthe adds a rich, minty flavor, while bourbon complements the sweetness of the chocolate. If your customers tend to like lighter cocktails, Kahlua creates a subtle coffee flavor.

2. Holiday punch

If you have a talented bartender on staff, show off their skills with a custom holiday punch. Start with a base of fruit juice or cider; apple cider and cranberry juice create rich, wintry flavors. Personalize the blend with fresh fruit, ginger ale, and fresh herbs — then top it off with one or two liquors for a potent finishing touch.

A holiday punch is perfect for social media promotions, especially if you add colorful garnishes. It sets you apart from competitors, giving diners a reason to choose your restaurant. Feature it in Facebook posts, and create short video clips for TikTok or Instagram reels.

3. Christmas margarita

Everyone loves a margarita, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like a festive winter drink. You can change that quickly with a few simple ingredient swaps. Replace the mango or strawberry with pomegranate or cranberry to create a bright red cocktail that delights diners. It’s hard to sugar the rim for delivery cocktails, but you can drop in a few fresh cranberries, a lime wedge, or fresh mint leaf for a pop of color.

When you’re using new flavors, you might need to adjust the liquor content. Orange liqueur adds depth, while lime juice can brighten the flavor. You might even use maple syrup instead of simple syrup for a richer taste.

4. Peppermint martini

Peppermint is an iconic winter flavor, especially around the holidays. Make your end-of-year delivery menu more festive by adding a peppermint martini to the mix. This delicious drink features peppermint schnapps, white creme de menthe and chocolate liqueur for the perfect mix of refreshing mint and rich, cozy chocolate.

Here’s the secret: stay away from chocolate liqueurs that are brown or beige. Instead, choose white or clear options such as creme de cacao or white chocolate liqueur. They’ll create a more photogenic cocktail for your marketing materials. You can even rim the glass with crushed peppermints or slip a miniature candy cane over the rim for a fun seasonal twist.

5. Gingerbread latte

When the temperature drops, hot coffee drinks are a popular choice. Gingerbread lattes combine the best of all worlds: a jolt of caffeine, a warming shot of alcohol and a cozy blend of spices. They’re the perfect addition to your breakfast, brunch or lunch menus. Making the drink alcoholic doesn’t require many extra steps — just add a shot of gingerbread liqueur to your usual latte recipe. Alternatively, you can use a mix of gingerbread syrup and brandy.

This is a cocktail that’s made for social media. Pour the piping-hot mix into a clear coffee mug and set it on a patch of snow or a bed of pine branches. Lean an iced gingerbread person against the glass to create a sweet Christmas scene. Or, try a few different settings to change up your promotional posts throughout November and December.

6. Champagne cocktail

The winter months are packed with special celebrations, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. Give your customers a new way to toast by adding a champagne cocktail to the menu. It offers the sparkle of champagne with a bit of extra flavor. Fancy garnishes, such as fruit-peel curls or sprigs of rosemary, make the drink feel more joyful.

A champagne cocktail can be anything you like; your bartenders have complete creative freedom. Add bitters and a sugar cube for a classic take, or create a vintage French 75 with gin, lemon juice and sugar. If you’re looking for a cocktail for the brunch menu, switch out your usual mimosa for one that includes orange liqueur or apple cider and whiskey.

7. Cranberry Moscow Mule

Get more use from your gorgeous copper cups by adding this seasonal take on the popular Moscow Mule cocktail. The original uses ginger beer, vodka and lime juice, but for a holiday twist, add a splash of cranberry juice. When it comes to garnishes, you can’t go wrong with mint leaves and a fresh cranberry or two. The classic lime wedge also works well.

This is another super-photogenic drink — especially when you add bright red berries. When you’re taking photos or videos, make sure to adjust the lights so they reflect off the copper for a warm, cozy glow. You can even set up the shot with a blurred-out Christmas tree in the background.

8. Merry mocktails

Does your restaurant appeal to families with kids? Let the little ones in on the holiday fun by adding mocktails to your delivery menu. It’s a unique offering that can be a big draw for families who want to celebrate together.

Go beyond the Shirley Temple and choose drinks that are both colorful and flavorful. If the adults are sipping on spiked hot chocolate, offer a marshmallow-studded version garnished with a candy cane for the kids. Or, create a virgin Bellini with a mix of seltzer, pomegranate juice and lime. For a bright green drink, mix a clear soda with lemonade and a dash of green apple simple syrup.

Add your holiday drinks to your delivery strategy

Holiday drinks round out your seasonal menu, making it easy for customers to create a memorable experience. To ensure your new cocktails arrive safely, make sure to choose the right packaging — especially if you’re planning to offer spiked cocoa and other hot beverages. Sustainable food containers help maintain the quality and temperature of the drink, all while reducing your environmental impact. That way, conservation-minded diners can feel good about ordering delivery.Ready to reach more customers this holiday season? Partner with Grubhub today.