Give Your Friends a Merry Little Cocktail: How to Make Cocktails at Home

Make your gatherings and gifts ones to remember with DIY libations.
Photograph courtesy of Adobe Stock

When you’re creating drinks for a party, Jaz’Min Weaver, the “head mixtress” of Framebar in Hazel Park, which offers regular cocktail and beverage workshops, recommends letting your personality shine through.

“Cocktails should have at least one homemade element that makes it uniquely yours and special to the occasion,” she says. This can be a anything that makes your guests think of you. For a casual gathering, “I love a large-format cocktail,” Weaver says. “I’m a sucker for a punch bowl.”

Her go-to holiday punch mixes a bottle of Valentine Distilling Co.’s Liberator gin with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and homemade chai simple syrup. The chai adds more of the same baking-spice flavors present in the Liberator without boosting the alcohol content of the drink, and the tea’s unique astringent qualities balance well with the grapefruit and sugar.

Drinks with an amaro or aperitivo base are lower in alcohol and more versatile for party-hopping guests: They can serve as pre- or post-dinner drinks without weighing down the stomach.

Spritzes, the cocktail darling of summer 2022, aren’t just for hot weather. Try a spritz made with an alpine amaro like Braulio, with its quintessentially winter flavorings of juniper, peppermint, and bitter orange. Or mix up a hot toddy with some Amaro Averna and cinnamon to chase away the cold.

Holiday gift-giving is another great way to bring out your inner mixologist. Simple syrups made from previously frozen garden ingredients can last for a few weeks in the refrigerator. For the more daring, a homemade bitters bottle with hand-printed labels will be a memorable addition to loved ones’ home bars.

For more hands-on experience, consider taking, or gifting, a cocktail class at Framebar or Castalia at Sfumato in Midtown; both offer regular workshops with a take-home treat for budding home bartenders.

Know someone who just loves a Manhattan? Consider assembling your own black Manhattan kit at home with a monogrammed glass, a local rye whiskey, gourmet cocktail cherries, and a bottle of amaro in place of sweet vermouth to add to your recipient’s home bar.

“Anything that helps with the presentation of a cocktail also works well” for a giftee you don’t know as well, Weaver says. Elegant silver cocktail picks, a shaped ice mold, or a nice shaker will be a welcome addition for even the most sophisticated drinker.

At the end of the day, it’s more about consideration and creativity than following a rule book for holiday drinks, Weaver says: “What’s important is to have fun and make it your own.”

How to make Jaz’Min Weaver’s Holiday Punch


  • 750-milliliter bottle Valentine Distilling Co. Liberator gin, or other gin with prominent notes of baking spices
  • 16 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 16 ounces chai simple syrup (To make, boil equal parts sugar and water, then steep with chai for 15 minutes)


    1. Mix all ingredients in a punch bowl.
    2. Serve over ice with a cinnamon stick garnish.

Looking for even more cocktail recipes? Learn how to make Townhouse’s Home for the Night and Prime & Proper’s Hearts & Bones at

This story is from the December 2022 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition.