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13 Traditional Christmas Cocktails: Delicious, Easy and Festive

Updated: Jan 25

Traditional Christmas Cocktails with vodka, bourbon, gin, rum, tequila with non-alcoholic variations. Old-fashioned, White Christmas Martini recipes and more.

Table of Contents for Traditional Christmas Cocktails

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Traditional Christmas Cocktails

Welcome to a world where the clinking of glasses mingles with the jingles of Christmas cheer, where every sip holds the holiday season joy. Traditional Christmas cocktails can be experiences that bring history, traditions, flavor, and festivity together.

From the sweetness of a sugar-rimmed glass to the bold spices of rum and bourbon, classic Christmas cocktail recipes are festivity all on their own.

There's an art to holiday entertaining with festive cocktails. These liquid traditions can help create the overall festivity of the holiday gatherings. Whether you're hosting a small Christmas Eve gathering or throwing a full-scale holiday party for the extended family, Christmas cocktails can bring a new height of holiday merriment to your gathering.

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Choosing the Right Spirits: The Foundation

The choice of spirit is the cornerstone of any cocktail, including Christmas drinks. Selecting the right base makes all the difference.

Aged Rum: The Warm Heart of Christmas Cocktails

Aged rum has complexity and depth. Its rich, caramel notes pair deliciously with holiday spices. Aged rum is an elegant choice for traditional Christmas cocktails.

Bourbon Christmas Cocktails: A Toast to Tradition

Bourbon is the backbone of many winter cocktails with smoky undertones and vanilla hints. Bourbon's robust flavor is perfect for the cold wintry season. A well-crafted bourbon Christmas cocktail can be the hit flavor of a Christmas gathering.

Christmas Cocktails with a Gin Twist

The botanicals in gin provide a fresh counterpoint to the often rich and heavy flavors of other seasonal liquors. Gin adds has a crisp dimension and is ideal for waking up the senses on a frosty winter evening.

Whiskey Christmas Cocktails: A Timeless Celebration

Whiskey's versatility shines bright in Christmas cocktails. Think of the sweetness in a whiskey sour or the richness of a whiskey and hot chocolate. Whiskey has a timeless appeal that is a staple of the holiday season.

The Versatility of Vodka: From Christmas Martinis to Sweet Treats

Vodka's neutrality makes creative canvas for bartenders and liquor Connoisseurs. It pairs with everything from cranberry to chocolate liqueur, making it a must-have for Christmas cocktail recipes.

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Creamy and Dreamy Cocktail Ingredients

Baileys Irish Cream: A Christmas Cocktail Staple

There's something undeniably festive about the rich, creamy texture of Baileys Irish Cream. It's a staple in Christmas cocktails with its delicious creamy consistency.

Christmas Cocktails Baileys: Deliciously Creamy Creations

Whether it's the focal point or a subtle addition, Baileys has the power to change a standard drink into a festive Christmas cocktail. The combination of Irish whiskey and cream provides warmth that's perfect for winter and holiday entertaining.

How Almond and Oat Milk Can Make All the Difference in Dairy-Free Cocktails

For those wanting dairy-free alternatives, almond and oat milk offer a creamy texture that is deliciuos and leaves out the lactose. Many plant-based milks can be frothed and mixed to create creamy cocktail consistency.

Vanilla Flavors and Creamy Cocktail Recipes for a Sweet Tooth

The addition of vanilla can take a creamy cocktail that's good and make it unforgettable. A splash of vanilla extract or a vanilla-flavored vodka can give your basic Christmas cocktail a sweet and indulgent quality.


Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice

The festive season wouldn't be complete without the sugar and spice.

The Role of Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Sticks in Holiday Spice

Brown sugar offers a deep and complex molasses-rich sweetness, while cinnamon sticks are the traditional holiday spice. Together, they are the yin and yang in many Christmas cocktails.

Chocolate Liqueur and Cocoa Powder

Chocolate liqueur brings a delicious depth to Christmas cocktails, while cocoa powder can top a frothy drink delicately.


Festive Fruits and Fresh Garnishes

The joy of the season is often captured in the vibrant colors and fresh flavors of festive fruits and garnishes.

Cranberry Juice Cocktails: The Iconic Christmas Red

Cranberry juice is the quintessential Christmas ingredient, adding bright red bursts of color with tang that is festive and flavorful. A splash of cranberry in a cocktail contributes to the taste and colors of Christmas.

Fresh Cranberries and Lemon Juice: Adding a Tangy Twist to Your Festive Drink

Garnishing drinks with fresh cranberries and a squeeze of lemon juice adds a refreshing zing and a visual appeal.


Traditional Christmas Cocktail Recipes

For rim garnishments, wet the glass rim delicately with lemon wedge, small amount of water, simple syrup, honey, or chocolate syrup, and then dip the rim in the garnishment of choice.

1. Timeless Christmas Classic: The Old-Fashioned Cocktail

The old-fashioned cocktail is the epitome of a classic cocktail with elegance and refinement.

  • 1 sugar cube

  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

  • 1 part water

  • 2 parts bourbon or rye whiskey (such as Bulleit Bourbon or Rittenhouse Rye)

  • Orange peel and a maraschino cherry for garnish

  • Optional Flavors and Garnishments: Add a thin slice of lemon peel or a small splash of club soda.

  • Non-Alcoholic Variation: Use non-alcoholic whiskey alternative and leave out the sugar cube for a healthier version.

  • Instructions: Place the sugar cube in an Old-Fashioned glass. Wet it down with 2 dashes of Angostura bitters and a short splash of water. Crush the sugar with a wooden muddler. Rotate the glass so that the sugar grains and bitters give it a lining. Add a large ice cube. Pour in the bourbon or rye whiskey. Stir gently. Garnish with the orange peel and maraschino cherry. To release the citrus oil, twist the orange peel over the drink and run it around the rim of the glass before dropping it in. Serve immediately.


2. Classic Holiday Eggnog with Bourbon

  • 2 parts eggnog

  • 1 part Maker's Mark Bourbon or Captain Morgan Spiced Rum

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Optional Flavors and Garnishments: Add a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon.

  • Non-Alcoholic Variation: Use a teaspoon of rum extract in place of the bourbon or rum.

  • Instructions: Combine eggnog and bourbon or rum in a glass. Stir well. Sprinkle with nutmeg and a splash of vanilla extract. Serve chilled for best taste.


3. Cozy Irish Cream Coffee or Hot Cocoa with Baileys

  • 1 cup hot coffee or hot cocoa

  • 1-2 shots Baileys Irish Cream

  • Whipped cream for topping

  • Optional Flavors and Garnishments: Sprinkle with cinnamon or cocoa powder.

  • Non-Alcoholic Variation: Use Irish cream-flavored syrup.

  • Instructions: Pour Baileys into the hot coffee or hot chocolate and stir well. Top with whipped cream, cinnamon or cocoa powder. Serve hot.


4. Christmas Mulled Wine

  • 1 bottle of red wine (Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon)

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • Mulling spices (cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise)

  • Optional Flavors and Garnishments: Include a slice of orange or orange zest, and add a splash of brandy for extra warmth.

  • Non-Alcoholic Variation: Replace the wine with non-alcoholic red wine or apple cider.

  • Instructions: In a pot, gently warm the red wine and sugar without bringing it to a boil. Add the mulling spices and optional orange slice. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm in mugs.


5. Cranberry Christmas Mimosas with Sparkling Wine

  • 2 parts sparkling wine (Prosecco)

  • 1 part cranberry juice

  • Fresh cranberries for garnish

  • Optional Flavors and Garnishments: Add a sprig of rosemary or mint for a festive touch.

  • Non-Alcoholic Variation: Use sparkling grape juice or soda.

  • Instructions: Pour sparkling wine into a champagne flute. Add cranberry juice. Garnish with fresh cranberries and an optional sprig of rosemary. Serve immediately for the best fizz texture.


6. Peppermint Chocolate Martini with Vodka

  • 2 parts Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

  • 1/2 part vodka such as Absolut, Tito's, Grey Goose, Skyy or Kettle One

  • 1/2 part Peppermint Schnapps

  • A peppermint stick for garnish

  • Optional Flavors and Garnishments: Add a dash of coffee liqueur and garnish with shaved chocolate.

  • Non-Alcoholic Variation: Use chocolate milk mixed with peppermint syrup.

  • Instructions: Combine the chocolate liqueur and vodka with ice in a shaker and shake vigorously. Shake well. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a peppermint stick and shaved chocolate.


7. Cranberry Bourbon Fizz Cheer

  • 2 parts Bulleit or Woodford Reserve bourbon OR 2 parts Gin or 2 parts Vodka for a lighter fizz

  • 1 part cranberry juice

  • Sparkling water to top

  • Optional Flavors and Garnishments: Add a twist of lime or lemon peel.

  • Non-Alcoholic Variation: Use ginger ale instead of bourbon and sparkling water.

  • Instructions: Mix bourbon and cranberry juice in a glass. Top with sparkling water. Garnish with lime or lemon peel and stir. Serve over ice.


8. Spiced Apple Cider with Rum

  • 1 cup apple cider

  • 1 shot Captain Morgan Spiced Rum

  • A cinnamon stick for garnish

  • Optional Flavors and Garnishments: Add a dash of nutmeg or allspice.

  • Non-Alcoholic Variation: Omit the rum and warm the cider with spices.

  • Instructions: Warm the apple cider but do not boil. Add the spiced rum and stir. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and serve warm.


9. Pomegranate Prosecco

  • 2 parts Prosecco (La Marca)

  • 1 part pomegranate juice

  • Pomegranate seeds for garnish

  • Optional Flavors and Garnishments: Garnish with a sprig of mint.

  • Non-Alcoholic Variation: Use sparkling white grape juice.

  • Instructions: Pour Prosecco into a glass, add pomegranate juice, and garnish with pomegranate seeds and mint. Serve immediately to enjoy the fizzy bubbles.


10. Hot Buttered Rum

  • 2 parts hot water

  • 1 part dark rum (Myers's)

  • A spoonful of buttered rum mix

  • Optional Flavors and Garnishments: Add a pinch of ground cloves or cinnamon.

  • Non-Alcoholic Variation: Omit the rum and increase the buttered rum mix slightly.

  • Instructions: Combine hot water, rum, and the buttered rum mix in a mug. Stir until the mix is dissolved and add a pinch of spices. Serve hot.


11. White Christmas Martini with Candy Cane

  • 1 part peppermint schnapps

  • 2 parts vodka such as Absolut, Tito's, Grey Goose, Skyy or Kettle One

  • 1 part white creme de cacao

  • A candy cane for garnish

  • Optional Flavors and Garnishments: add 1 part Godliva Chocolate Liqueur for a Chocolate Peppermint version

  • Non-Alcoholic Variation: Mix peppermint syrup with soda water.

  • Instructions: Shake the schnapps and vodka with ice in a shaker. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a candy cane. For added sweetness, add a splash of white creme de cacao.


12. Gingerbread Highball with Rum

  • 2 parts ginger beer

  • 1 part dark rum (Kraken)

  • A lemon slice for garnish

  • Optional Flavors and Garnishments: Add a small piece of candied ginger.

  • Non-Alcoholic Variation: Use a dash of ginger syrup in place of rum.

  • Instructions: Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour in the dark rum and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lemon slice and candied ginger and stir gently before serving.


13. Sleigh Driver Holiday Mix with Bourbon or Rum

  • 2 parts apple cider

  • 1 part orange juice

  • 1 part bourbon (Jim Beam, Jack Daniels or Maker's Mark) or Captain Morgan Spiced Rum

  • A dash of bitters

  • A cinnamon stick and an apple slice for garnish

  • Optional Flavors and Garnishments: Add a star anise pod for a more complex flavor.

  • Non-Alcoholic Variation: Skip the bitters and alcohol, and add a dash of cinnamon and clove to the mix.

  • Instructions: Mix apple cider, orange juice, bourbon or rum, and bitters in a glass filled with ice. Stir well. Garnish with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick. Add a star anise pod if desired and serve chilled.


Mixology Essentials: Tools and Techniques

Mastering the art of Christmas cocktail creation is as much about the tools and techniques as it is about the ingredients. Here's how to shake up your holiday spirit with some mixology must-haves.

The Importance of a Good Cocktail Shaker and Vigorous Shake

A quality cocktail shaker is indispensable in the world of mixology. It ensures that all the components of your cocktail are thoroughly mixed and chilled to perfection. Plus, the act of shaking your drink isn’t just about mixing; it’s a performance that adds to the entertainment of holiday parties.

Martini Glass Elegance for Christmas Cocktail Night

The elegance of a martini glass can turn any cocktail into a centerpiece. Its iconic shape is not just for martinis but also for presenting your Christmas creations with a touch of sophistication and celebration.

Utilizing a Slow Cooker for Mulled Wine and Spiced Apple Cider

For those drinks that require gentle heating and a melding of spices, like mulled wine or spiced apple cider, a slow cooker can be your best friend.

It allows the ingredients to simmer and infuse over several hours, filling the house with mouthwatering aromas and delivering the ultimate in cozy Christmas warmth.


How To Create A Non-Alcoholic Holiday Cocktail for Everyone

Christmas is a time for everyone to come together and be included. This may mean offering non-alcoholic options that everyone can enjoy.

Here are some ideas to create non-alcoholic beverages for the whole group and set the holiday mood up for festivity.

Making Non-Alcoholic Christmas Drinks for All Ages

There are countless ways to enjoy the flavors of Christmas without the alcohol. Non-alcoholic drinks are not just for kids, but are for anyone who prefers the season's cocktail flavors without the alcohol.

Delicious Drink Recipes: Kid-Friendly Christmas Drinks

Creating kid-friendly Christmas drinks can fun and easy while still tasting great. Use ingredients like non-alcoholic ginger beer, apple cider, cranberry juice, apple juice, fruit purees, festive garnishes, whole milk and hot chocolate to make a great cocktail that everyone can enjoy.


Christmas Cocktail Attire: Dressing the Part

What to Wear to a Work Christmas Party: Male Fashion Tips

Men can get into the holiday spirit by choosing festive clothing that's stylish and appropriate for a work Christmas party.

Simply add a touch of the holidays to your everyday clothing, such as a red tie or a Christmas-themed pocket square. And don't forget the holiday socks!

Christmas Cocktail Attire for the Ultimate Host

As the host, your festive outfit can set the mood for the evening. A cocktail dress or a suit with holiday-colored accessories can make you stand out and bring elegance to your Christmas gathering.


FAQ for Traditional Christmas Cocktails

What is the traditional drink for Christmas?

Mulled wine is often considered the traditional drink for Christmas, especially in European countries. It is a warm drink made with red wine along with various mulling spices and sometimes raisins. It is usually served hot or warm and is a holiday favorite for its warming properties and rich, spicy flavors.

What is the most popular drink during Christmas?

Eggnog is arguably the most popular drink during the Christmas season in North America. This rich, creamy beverage is traditionally made with milk, cream, sugar, whipped egg whites, and egg yolks, and it is often spiked with spirits such as brandy, rum, whiskey, or bourbon.

What do you serve at a Christmas cocktail party?

At a Christmas cocktail party, you can serve a variety of drinks to cater to different tastes, such as Christmas martinis, eggnog, mulled wine, spiked hot chocolate, Christmas punch, and a selection of wine and beer. Non-alcoholic options like hot apple cider and fancy mocktails should also be available for those who don’t drink alcohol.

What alcohol is associated with Christmas?

Several types of alcohol are associated with Christmas, including spiced rum, brandy, whiskey, and creamy liqueurs like Baileys Irish Cream. These alcohols are often used in traditional Christmas drinks like eggnog, mulled wine, and various holiday cocktails.

What is the most popular drink at Christmas?

While it varies by region and personal preference, eggnog, mulled wine, and various Christmas-themed cocktails are among the most popular drinks enjoyed during the Christmas season.

Which milk-based beverage is traditionally enjoyed at Christmas?

Eggnog is the traditional milk-based beverage that is enjoyed at Christmas. Made with milk or cream, sugar, and whipped eggs, eggnog is a rich and creamy treat that is often spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon.

What is the name of a creamy alcoholic drink?

One of the most well-known creamy alcoholic drinks is Baileys Irish Cream. Other popular creamy alcoholic beverages include White Russians, Brandy Alexanders, and various types of liqueurs and cream-based cocktails.

What is the drink people drink on Christmas?

People often drink a variety of beverages during Christmas, including eggnog, mulled wine, cider, and specialty cocktails designed for the holiday season. The choice of drink can depend on individual tastes and cultural or family traditions.

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Can Christmas cocktails be made non-alcoholic?

Absolutely, many Christmas cocktails can be adapted to non-alcoholic versions, sometimes known as "mocktails," by omitting the alcohol and substituting it with non-alcoholic spirits, juices, or sodas. Ingredients like ginger beer, apple cider, and cranberry juice can be used to create festive non-alcoholic drinks.

How can I make my Christmas cocktails more festive?

To make Christmas cocktails more festive, consider garnishing with holiday-themed decorations such as candy canes, fresh cranberries, rosemary sprigs, or cinnamon sticks. You can also rim your glasses with colored sugars or spices, and use festive glassware for serving.

Are there any dairy-free options for traditional Christmas drinks?

Yes, dairy-free options for traditional Christmas drinks are plentiful. You can substitute dairy milk with almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, or soy milk in recipes for eggnog or creamy cocktails.

What are some good Christmas cocktail names?

Creative Christmas cocktail names can add an extra touch of fun to your festivities. Some ideas include "Mistletoe Martini," "Santa's Sleigh Bell Slammer," "Frosty's Flip," "Rudolph's Tipsy Spritzer," "Jingle Juice," and "Yuletide Toddy."

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We hope this article helps you create your own traditional Christmas cocktails and enjoy the festive season ahead!


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