The halls are decked and you're ready to host family and friends. With the holiday season upon us, of course, with it, comes cocktails. Being intrepid, we love to try something new, or a new twist on an old classic.

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Consider this your one-on-one cocktail session with Simon Hooper (above), Diageo Canada's Reserve Brand Ambassador – and co-owner of the award-winning cocktail bar, Rush Lane & Co., in Toronto's Queen St., West neighbourhood – who gave us his recipes and tips for making spirits, well, bright, from eggnog to Caesars.

His big tip: always put the least expensive ingredient, say lime juice or ginger beer – rather than cognac, into your shaker first, in case you mess up. Simon also gave us a tip on the easiest way to make simple syrup. (Instagram video @simondangr)

And don't forget to make that merry responsibly, arrange for designated drivers and taxis, or have a good old fashioned sleepover! Merry, merry!

Click through for recipes!

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