Food and Drink

For the holidays, our best recipes for giftable sweet treats and winter cocktails

It’s getting to be holiday party time and maybe you want to bring an edible homemade gift. Put on the Spotify playlist and take this recipe list to the kitchen. Whether it’s premade cocktails or gorgeous cookies, we’ve got lots of delicious, giftable nibbles and sips for you, from Kim Sunée’s thumbprint cookies to my hypnotic pinwheels to Maya Wilson’s homemade nog.

White Christmas Cocktail

Kick your feet up. Plug in some Christmas lights. Listen to holiday music. Light a fire in the fireplace. Sip on this festive White Christmas cocktail made with amaretto, vodka, cream and nutmeg. A fun pre-made cocktail to bring to a party.

Cream cheese thumbprint cookies

As if classic thumbprints needed a boost, here’s a version with the addition of cream cheese for a tangy, rich cookie filled with your favorite jam flavors, including apricot, raspberry and wild blueberry; roll in finely chopped pecans or almond slices to add texture and crunch.

Boozy eggnog

Maya Wilson’s eggnog makes a lovely gift. Don’t forget the nutmeg!


Peppermint chocolate crackle cookies

Dive in with dark chocolate cookie dough rolled in powdered sugar then baked until crackly and beautiful plus a good dose of peppermint extract.

Christmas pinwheel cookies

You could add peppermint, almond or raspberry extract to the red layer of this very serviceable sugar cookie and customize it, or roll the outside in sprinkles before baking for a festive twist.

Fail-proof sugar cookie recipe

The thing that sets these apart is the powdered sugar in the dough in lieu of granulated sugar. Powdered sugar helps the dough become beautifully pliable and the cookies, when baked, to be perfectly tender.

Bake Shop tribute star bread

A beautiful take on star bread that tastes like a certain soft, not-too-sweet, anise-scented dough, threaded through with cinnamon and raspberry jam, that you can get only at The Bake Shop in Girdwood.

Classic French 75

Celebrate the new year with a classic French 75 cocktail: gin, lemon and simple syrup topped with Champagne. Tie the recipe to a gift bottle of Champagne.

Julia O'Malley

Anchorage-based Julia O'Malley is a former ADN reporter, columnist and editor. She received a James Beard national food writing award in 2018, and a collection of her work, "The Whale and the Cupcake: Stories of Subsistence, Longing, and Community in Alaska," was published in 2019. She's currently a guest curator at the Anchorage Museum.