9 Pure Michigan Cocktail Recipes to Keep You Warm This Winter

By Isaac Constans

December 20, 2022

The holiday season is all about spending time with family and friends. And that calls for a drink.

Ready for a drink? We’re here to help. 

Each of these recipes is sure to help you survive the holiday season—and because they feature Michigan ingredients, you’ll be helping to support the local economy with every sip. We also encourage you to check out the Michigan distilleries, restaurants, bars, and products of origin. The recipes below aren’t the only good drinks they have shaking.

Don’t drink booze? Don’t worry.

We’ve also included a couple of equally delicious non-alcoholic alternatives to boot.

Berry Merry Christmas

From: Bordeaux (Lansing) via Lansing.org

Ingredients: 

  • 1 ¼ ounces vodka
  • ¼ ounce Chambord [raspberry liqueur]
  • 2 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1 ½ ounces grapefruit juice
  • Mint
  • Cranberries
  • Green Sugar

Steps:

  1. Prepare a cocktail glass (martini if you have one) by lining the rim with green sugar
  2. Pour ingredients into a shaker with ice, shake, and strain into glass
  3. Garnish with mint and cranberries

For more local flavor, try using vodka from these Michigan distilleries.

Naughty List Punch

From: Let’s Stay Home Cocktail Kits (Grand Rapids)

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 bottles Let’s Stay Home Cranberry Sage mix (local)
  • 1 bottle of Prosecco or Champagne
  • 12 ounces pineapple juice
  • 18 ounces ginger ale or Sprite
  • 12 ounces gin or vodka (recommend local)
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Cranberries
  • Orange and lime slices

Steps:

This one is sized for a party, and you’ll get at least a couple dozen drinks out of this. Simply:

  1. Put in a bowl or serving container with ice.
  2. Stir together.

For a mocktail: Swap your favorite local sparkling cider in place of the champagne or prosecco, and replace the gin or vodka with tonic, preferably Boylan.

The Hummer

From: Bayview Yacht Club (Detroit) via HOUR Detroit

Ingredients:

  • 1½ ounces of light rum (Bacardi or Castillo, as tradition goes)
  • 1½ ounces Kahlúa
  • 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream (alternatively, half-and-half with a few drops of vanilla flavoring)
  • Maraschino cherries (optional)

Steps:

  1. Combine all ingredients and a few ice cubes in a blender.
  2. Blend and serve.
  3. Hum.

This one comes by way of the late bartender James Adams. One of his customers at the Bayview Yacht Club said that the drink made him want to hum. The recipe has been picked up nationally, even cited by the New York Times, which offers the addition of a Maraschino cherry.

If you feel so inclined, try a Michigan rum with this. A light rum is better.

Manistee Whiskey Sour

From: Fox & Oden (Holland)

Ingredients: 

  • 3 ounces of Fox & Oden straight bourbon whiskey (local)
  • 1 ounce of fennel simple syrup (made at home)
  • 1½ ounces of lemon juice
  • ½ ounce of orange juice
  • Fennel sprig

Steps:

  1. In a shaker, combine all ingredients with ice and shake until chilled. 
  2. Put fresh ice in a rocks glass. Strain over glass.
  3. Garnish with fennel.

Detroit Dirty Martini

From: Valentine Distilling (Ferndale)

Ingredients: 

  • ¼ ounce of McClure’s spicy pickles (local)
  • 2½ ounces of Valentine vodka (or Vodka of your choice)

Steps:

  1. In a shaker, combine the brine and vodka with ice and shake for about 10 seconds or until chilled. If you want the martini to be dirtier, add more brine.
  2. Double-strain, if possible, over martini glass.
  3. Garnish with McClure’s spicy pickles.

Don’t like pickles? That’s ok. Valentine vodka is considered some of the best around, and you can do a more traditional martini just as well.

Candy Apple Cocktail

From: Coppercraft Distilling Co. (Grand Rapids)

Ingredients:

Steps:

  1. Combine whiskey, syrup, and lemon juice into a shaker and add ice.
  2. Shake until chilled and strain into Collins glass.
  3. Top with apple cider to fill the glass.
  4. Garnish with a slice of caramel apple.

This isn’t the easiest recipe, since you’ll have to source the banana cinnamon syrup yourself, more than likely. Feel free to substitute just banana syrup and top it off with cinnamon, or try your own mixture. For more ideas and a few easier recipes, check out Coppercraft’s Holiday Guide.

Mackinac Cocoa

From: Northern Latitudes Distillery (Lake Leelanau) 

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces of Mackinac Island Fudge Liqueur (local)
  • Hot chocolate
  • Whipped cream
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Pirouette cookie

Steps:

  1. Add Mackinac Island Fudge Liqueur to mug.
  2. Pour hot chocolate on top, leaving room for whipped cream. Stir in.
  3. Add whipped cream and drizzle with chocolate syrup.
  4. Add pirouette cookie on top.

For more recipes using decadent Michigan liqueurs like this one, go to Northern Latitudes’ website or check out this article from MyNorth.com.

Cherry Sparkler

From: Traverse City Whiskey Co.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ ounces Traverse City whiskey American Cherry edition (local)
  • Premium cocktail cherries (we recommend local!)
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ounces sparkling wine

Steps:

  1. Add cherry, a spoonful of cherry syrup from the jar of cherries, simple syrup, lemon juice, and whiskey to a shaking tin with ice.
  2. Shake for 10 seconds or until chilled and double strain, if possible, into a flute or coupe glass.
  3. Top with sparkling wine.
  4. Garnish with cherry and lemon rind. 

The cherry syrup really puts this one over the top. We recommend going as local as possible, given that Michigan cherries are the best around.

Ginger Spritzer (mocktail)

From: A Healthier Michigan

Ingredients: 

  • One two-inch piece of fresh ginger root
  • 1½ cups water
  • 16 ounces sparkling water
  • Lemon (for garnish, optional)

Steps:

  1. Peel and coarsely chop the ginger.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the ginger and simmer while covered for 30 minutes to an hour.
  3. Remove the ginger pieces from the tea by draining, conserving the liquid. Chill the remaining liquid.
  4. Mix the tea with the sparkling water, stirring gently.
  5. Add to glasses with ice and top with a lemon wedge.

Shop local! Here’s a great Michigan-made sparkling water brand to mix in this mocktail. They have lemon and Michigan cherry flavors.

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