December 14, 2017 16 min read
It’s not a holiday party until the spirits arrive. And I don’t mean the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, or Future. You can keep your holiday reflection to yourself, Mr. Scrooge.
But soon you’ll be exchanging gifts, attending holiday office parties, and spending time with family. As our gift to you, we wanted to share the recipes for some of our favorite holiday drinks.
At first, we tried to decide on just a few, but we found that about as difficult as choosing just one favorite holiday movie. So instead of sharing a few of our favorite drinks with you, we decided to share them ALL with you! We put our heads together and waded through the memories of holidays past to present you with The Ultimate Holiday Drink Recipe Guide.
Whether you want a stiff holiday beverage to warm your bones, or a festive mocktail in order to drive home after the party. This comprehensive list contains everything from a classic eggnog recipe to a Hot Toddy created by Zach Morris’ girlfriend (a.k.a. Tiffani Thiessen).
With over 100-holiday drink recipes, this list of festive beverages has something for everyone. If you’re still trying to decide what to serve this Christmas Eve, your search is over. Enjoy the Ultimate Holiday Drink Recipe Guide!
To make this festive list of beverages a little easier to use, we’ve grouped the drinks into the following categories:
Cold Alcoholic Holiday Drinks
Cold Non-alcoholic Holiday Drinks
Hot Alcoholic Holiday Drinks
Hot Non-alcoholic Holiday Drinks
For the more complex drinks, click on the link for the full recipe. Drink descriptions with a * denote that this is a simple recipe and has been listed with the title of the drink.
This is a simple holiday mash...but the flavor is anything but simple!
It’s one of the most traditional holiday beverages, but now it’s a delicious eggnog cocktail.
Red and green are layered into a festive shot that looks as good as it tastes! Start the fun early and warm up your customers or guests by serving them this sweet and spicy shot.
This creamy cocktail has a light and refreshing fruity punch, making it a playful beverage that’s perfect for any adult snow day!
Red Stag bourbon meets cherry syrup and a bubbly splash of 7 Up in this festive drink. Your bar patrons or house guests are sure to be jolly after sipping on this sweet beverage all evening.
Mixologist Jack McGarry combines raisiny Pedro Ximénez sherry and vanilla-inflected Jameson Black Barrel whiskey to create this Irish take on eggnog.
* Plump 3 tablespoons raisins in 1/2 cup warmed sherry; cool. Pour into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and add 6 shakes orange bitters. Shake well, then strain into shot glasses. Add a splash of lemon-lime soda; garnish with the raisins.
* Peel and slice a 6-inch piece of ginger. Simmer 1 cup each water and ginger ale in a saucepan with the ginger until reduced by half. Strain and chill. Mix the ginger syrup with 2 cups sparkling cider and 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish with cinnamon sticks.
* Combine 4 ounces each vodka and Manischewitz and the juice of 1 lime; pour over ice. Garnish with a sugared grape.
* Pour 1/2 ounce crème de cassis into a flute. Top with champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.
* Pour 1-ounce tawny port into a flute and top with champagne.
* Shake 4 ounces sake and 2 teaspoons syrup from a jar of kumquats (or a can of mandarin oranges) in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass; drop in a kumquat.
* Saturate a sugar cube with bitters and drop into a flute. Top with champagne.
* Moisten the rim of a glass; dip in Old Bay Seasoning. Fill with ice. Add 1 1/2 cups tomato juice, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon each hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay and horseradish, and 1 1/2 ounces vodka; stir.
* Mix 3/4 cup tomato juice, 1/3 cup beef broth, 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon each Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and hot sauce, a pinch of celery salt and 1 1/2 ounces vodka. Pour into an ice-filled glass; garnish with lemon.
* Bring 1 cup each water and sugar to a boil; cool completely. Mix with 1 1/2 cups brandy, 2 cups orange juice and 1/2 cup lemon juice in a baking dish; freeze until slushy. Scoop into glasses, top with seltzer and stir to desired slushiness.
* Pour 1 bottle chilled lager into a glass. Stir in 2 tablespoons sour cherry preserves, 2 teaspoons kirsch liqueur and a splash of grenadine.
* Put 1 scoop each chocolate and vanilla ice cream in a frosty beer mug and top with cold Guinness.
* Shake 4 ounces stout beer, 2 ounces dark rum, 1 egg and 2 teaspoons simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a glass.
* Put 1/2 pint each vanilla and mint chip ice cream with 1 cup milk in a blender. Pour into glasses and garnish with peppermint sticks. Add a shot of peppermint schnapps, if desired.
* Moisten the rim of a glass and dip it in cinnamon-sugar. Mix 1 cup plum juice, 1/2 cup ginger ale and 2 pieces chopped crystallized ginger; pour into the glass. Garnish with skewered cranberries.
* Shake 2 ounces whiskey, 2 ounces tawny port and 3 dashes orange bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
* Pour 1/2 ounce crème de cacao into a shooter glass. Pour in 1/2 ounce crème de menthe over the back of a spoon to form a separate layer. Top with 1/2 ounce Irish cream liqueur in the same manner.
* For this Champagne cocktail, the restaurant soaks pitted sweet cherries in an anise-infused syrup.
Who says margaritas need to be reserved for summer? The classic summer cocktail is also a perfect holiday drink when done the right way!
* Simmer 3 cups fresh cranberries in a saucepan with 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water until they burst. Strain, reserving the syrup. Shake 3 tablespoons each cranberry syrup and tequila and 2 tablespoons each triple sec and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour into a glass.
* Shake 3 tablespoons each hibiscus tea and tequila, 2 tablespoons each triple sec and lime juice, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a cocktail shaker with ice. And the last step: strain it into a glass.
Combining tart cranberries, sweet vanilla, and the tropical flavor of coconut, this is Santa's favorite island cocktail! Lay back, and pretend you're soaking up the sun instead of shoveling the snow.
Nothing beats the flavor combination of sweet and salty, all wrapped up in a beautifully decorated holiday martini! This beverage is sure to be a favorite at your next catered event, holiday party, or Secret Santa exchange.
* Mix 1 cup each Campari, gin and sweet vermouth, 2 bottles prosecco and 1/2 cup grenadine in a punch bowl. Garnish with orange slices.
* Mix equal parts herbal liqueur (such as Strega), gin and orange juice in a pitcher. Serve over ice; top with a splash of lemon-lime soda. Garnish with orange slices.
* Remove the zest from 6 lemons in strips; muddle with 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar in a pitcher. Add 2 cups each brewed black tea, dark rum, cognac and ruby port, and 1/2 cup each triple sec and ginger liqueur. Chill. Serve over ice; top with seltzer and a lemon slice.
Mix 5 cups ginger ale, 2 cups orange juice and 1/2 cup grenadine in a punch bowl. Add sliced oranges and maraschino cherries. Serve over ice.
Warm your family members with this mulled wine sangria recipe. This beverage abounds with fresh fruits, warm spices, sweet liquor, and red wine.
It doesn’t get much more festive than this: the Christmas Sangria brought to you cakenknife.com. It’s the perfect drink for any holiday meal.
* Puree 1-pint vanilla ice cream, 1/4 cup each vodka and coffee liqueur and 2 tablespoons brewed espresso in a blender.
* Soak 8 crushed gingersnaps in 1 cup milk in a blender. Add 2 cups vanilla ice cream, 4 teaspoons molasses and 2 teaspoons ground ginger; blend. Pour into glasses and top with crushed gingersnaps.
For some reason, we weren’t able to name as many cold non-alcoholic drinks…but don’t worry. We came up with a couple mocktails for those nights you need to be home early.
* Bring 1 cup each sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan with 6 cinnamon sticks. Mix with 4 cups each pink grapefruit juice and seltzer in a punch bowl. Serve over ice. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
* In a cocktail shaker, shake 3/4 cup strong brewed green tea, 1/4 cup evaporated milk and 1 tablespoon sugar with ice until frothy. Pour into a glass.
Simmer apple cider with mulling spices, orange zest, and ginger to make a drink that smells as good as it tastes.
You need only a handful of ingredients to make this cozy winter cocktail. Orange juice, brandy, sugar and citrus peels infuse red wine with flavor and add a vibrant contrast to the ruby-hued beverage.
Orange and chocolate, a classic holiday season flavor pairing, come together in a hot chocolate that's spiked thrice with citrus aroma: orange brandy, orange bitters, and decorative, concentrated orange zest.
Sweet plum wine gets the sugar plum fairy treatment with the addition of honey, while its natural berry flavor is enhanced by mixing with a fruity herbal tea. A lemon rind curl brightens the beverage dangling over the mug's rim.
Toast to good health this holiday season with the spiced mixture of ale, apple, and Madeira. Wassail was a popular holiday beverage during the Middle Ages and translates in Old English to that very blessing.
Full-bodied red wine like Cabernet stands up to the flavors of orange, cinnamon, and clove.
A mulled cider sweetened with maple syrup, adding an extra layer of fall flavor to this festive favorite. Add a splash of rum or bourbon for a more grown-up take.
Deeply hued (and flavored) kosher red and blackberry wines are quickly infused with a variety of seasonal spices and nutty amaretto liqueur for a full-bodied mulled beverage.
This Mexican pumpkin drink — flavored with aromatic spices like anise, allspice, and clove — is served for Dia de los Muertos traditionally, but it can be enjoyed for breakfast any day.
This is the drink for when you can't decide between a boozy nightcap or a creamy hot chocolate.
If a coffeemaker upgrade relegated your old percolator to the attic years ago, here's another use for it: cocktail hour. Thrifty housewives have long repurposed the pot to make aromatic punches. The percolator continuously cycles hot liquids, which infuses spices and concentrates juices, making for a fragrant winter drink.
For this hot version of the White Russian, bartender Isaac Shumway of San Francisco’s Tosca Cafe ditches the vodka, mixing brandy and coffee liqueur with a hot coffee-cream mixture, and topping with a cappuccino-like crown of frothed cream.
This version of the classic Mexican rice-based drink, which writer Sara Deseran adapted from one at Fresno's El Mercado Super, is made with a mix of coconut milk and coconut water for a beverage that is both luxurious and refreshing.
Robby Haynes of Analogue in Chicago gives mulled apple cider some extra kick with spicy Old Overholt rye whiskey and a zippy demerara syrup accented with vanilla bean, cardamom, and blade mace.
Overproof rum, honey syrup, and lime come together to make a simple but powerful hot toddy. This recipe comes from Celeste in Chicago.
In this warm drink, Alex Bachman of Billy Sunday in Chicago adds a mix of Jamaican and St. Lucian rums to a dry red wine reduction flavored with quince, chamomile, and bitter cacao nibs to balance the fruitiness.
Drew Hamm at Henry's in Chicago makes a toasty spin on the traditional Irish coffee by adding Flor de Cana rum and a cinnamon syrup to the usual Irish whiskey base.
In central Europe, winter parties are fueled by this mulled wine. A fruity red wine works best for this richly spiced punch, so try a bright-cherry merlot or a jammy syrah.
On Greece's Cyclades islands, this sweet, anise-flavored drink is said to boost libido…we’ll let you be the judge.
At Christmas, Ecuadorians sip this warm cinnamon tea, spiked with a sugarcane-based spirit, and sweetened with passionfruit.
In 1475 in the Scottish Highlands, the Earl of Atholl captured a rebel leader by spiking his well water with honey, whiskey, and oatmeal. Lucky rebel.
Laced with cinnamon, lemon, and Angostura bitters, this gin-based drink is a brisk, warming twist on a toddy.
This variation on a toddy combines calvados, a French apple brandy, with hot cider for a drink that's autumn in a glass.
Cardamom gives this Indian drink a bright, piney sweetness tempered by a creamy base of evaporated milk and black tea.
Our simplified version of the flaming coffee cocktail served at Arnaud's in New Orleans uses strong black coffee spiced with whole cloves and citrus peels. Orange curaçao and brandy give it a sweet, boozy kick.
* Simmer 2 cups dried hibiscus, 8 cups water, 1 cup sugar, 6 cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 teaspoon vanilla and a dash of nutmeg in a saucepan, 30 minutes. Strain. Serve with cinnamon sticks.
* Mix 4 tablespoons softened butter with 1/2 teaspoon each vanilla, cinnamon and allspice and a pinch of nutmeg. Heat 1/2 cup pineapple juice in a mug; stir in 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1-ounce rum. Top with a pat of the spiced butter.
* Steep 1 tablespoon grated ginger in 1 cup hot water, 15 minutes. Add a shot of bourbon and garnish with a lemon wedge.
* Boil 1/2 cup each water and sugar in a saucepan with 1 sliced orange half, 1 sliced lemon half, a 1-inch piece sliced peeled ginger, 5 cardamom pods, 5 black peppercorns and 1 cinnamon stick. Add 2 bottles white wine and the juice from the remaining citrus halves; heat.
* Heat 3/4 cup each sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Off the heat, add 2 strips lemon zest, 10 black peppercorns, 3 cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1/2 cup each orange liqueur and gin and 1 bottle red wine. Steep 5 minutes.
* Combine 1/2 cup strong-brewed hot coffee and 1/4 cup each warmed vanilla vodka, chocolate liqueur and half-and-half in a glass. Top with whipped cream.
* This chocolate liqueur-spiked coffee, ideal for sipping by the fire on a wintry day, gets its refreshing mint flavor from three sources: peppermint schnapps, crushed candy canes and fresh mint leaves.
Can you fully experience the holidays without eggnog? The following recipes take this holiday classic one step further by adding a little (or a lot) spirit
Make Classic Eggnog and top with a shot of bourbon or rum.
* Whisk 3 cups milk, 6 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon nutmeg in a pitcher or punch bowl; whisk in 4 ounces each brandy and rum, 2 ounces crème de cacao and 3 cups melted French vanilla ice cream.
* Blend 2 cans unsweetened coconut milk, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1 cup milk, 4 ounces rum and a pinch each of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Pour into a pitcher; chill.
* Mix 1/2 cup each melted vanilla ice cream and apple juice in a glass; add a pinch each of ground cinnamon and allspice. Add apple brandy, if desired. Dust with cinnamon.
A cup of hot cocoa used to be the reward after a long day of sledding, snowball fights, and snow fort construction. Now that you’ve grown up, these hot cocoa recipes can still be the reward of a hard day’s work.
This dark, rich beverage has the ideal ratio of chocolate to peppermint, making it the perfect drink to enjoy after dinner or on a cool night while relaxing by the fireplace.
Topped with a dollop of whipped cream, this hot and steamy drink is perfect for cuddling up after a long day in the bitter cold! Feature this beverage on your restaurant's sign or in your window to draw the crowds in from the frigid outdoors, or offer it to your neighbors to warm them up after an afternoon of shoveling.
This mix goes way beyond the typical flavors with umami Chinese fermented black bean chile paste and chile powder for a spicy, savory hot cocoa that delivers a kick of heat to the back of your throat. This is one hot cocoa that doesn't taste like anything else you've ever tried.
Dark chocolate and red wine...it's a winning combination for both men and women alike. The two flavors combined in a warming hot chocolate is an unexpected treat.
Nutella stirred into hot chocolate lends a luxurious texture and great, chocolate-hazelnut flavor. For an extra dose of hazelnut, add a splash of Frangelico.
White chocolate is the perfect canvas for warm, winter spices such as cardamom and nutmeg.
White chocolate and Frangelico combine for a sweet, creamy drink that makes a perfect winter nightcap; all it needs as embellishment is a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg.
Salted hot milk chocolate is enhanced with just a touch of Irish whiskey and a generous dollop of whipped cream.
* When it comes to Christmas contributions, our southern brothers didn’t stop with a catchy Christmas jingle…Heat 1 disk (about 3 ounces) chopped Mexican chocolate in a saucepan with 1/4 cup water until melted. Gradually add 3/4 cup milk, whisking until frothy. Add 1 1/2 ounces chocolate liqueur, if desired. Sprinkle with chili powder.
Since graduating from Bayside, among other things, Kelly Kapowski has developed one delicious Hot Toddy recipe. Tiffani Thiessen adds a unique, soothing twist to the traditional hot rum drink with lavender honey and dried lavender.
To create this easy version of a hot toddy, mix Frangelico with hot water and top with a dollop of whipped cream.
Sweetened with honey and a pinch of cinnamon sugar, a rum hot toddy is the perfect drink to welcome your holiday guests as they come in from the cold.
Named for the New Jersey birthplace of Laird's Apple Brandy, this toddy gets bittersweet complexity from cardoon-flavored amaro. Blow out the burning bourbon that floats atop the drink, then stir it in.
The warm spices in chai echo the flavor of a typical clove-infused toddy. The addition of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and flinty black pepper, coupled with the tannic tang of the tea, made this warming drink even more appealing.
* Steep 1 tea bag and 1-star anise pod in 3/4 cup hot water, 5 minutes. Add 1-ounce brandy, 2 teaspoons honey, some lemon juice and 1 cinnamon stick.
Easy Chai Tea
This café favorite is easier to make than you think; simply bring crushed spices, cinnamon sticks, ginger, and milk to a boil, add tea bags, and let steep for 10 minutes.
Double your holiday pleasure with a mug of this recipe, which combines two favorite seasonal beverages. Made from chunks of white chocolate and filled with plenty of warm, seasonal spices, this drink has everything you need.
With roasted and ground cacao nibs, milk, and warming spices, this traditional Caribbean "tea" is more of a hot chocolate.
* Heat 2 cups milk and 1/2 cup dulce de leche in a saucepan, whisking until frothy. Add a shot of rum, if desired. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
* Heat 2 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate, 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk, 1/4 cup water and 2 teaspoons sugar in a saucepan, whisking. Top with whipped cream, coconut, and chopped almonds.
* Bring 2 cups milk just to a boil; add 2 chai tea bags and steep 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup maple syrup.
* Heat 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 2 ounces chopped white chocolate and 1 teaspoon chai spice blend in a saucepan, whisking. Top with whipped cream and chai spice.
* Heat 1 quart each milk and heavy cream with 1 teaspoon each cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a saucepan. Beat 12 egg yolks with 1 cup sugar; add to the milk mixture and cook, whisking, until thick. Beat 12 egg whites until stiff peaks form, then beat in 1/3 cup sugar. Whisk into the hot yolk mixture. Chill.
1/4 cup pistachios, 1/2 cup each water and milk, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and a pinch of salt in a blender with 3/4 cup ice until smooth and foamy. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Simmer 3 cups each apple cider and pear nectar, 2 cinnamon sticks and 1/2 teaspoon each whole allspice and cloves in a saucepan, 5 minutes. Chill, then strain into a punch bowl of ice. Add 1 bottle sparkling cider.
* Whisk 1/2 cup each boiling water and sugar and 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder in a saucepan. Stir in 1 1/2 cups milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and heat through. Top with whipped cream and chopped chocolate.
* Make Classic Hot Cocoa (see the previous recipe), but sweeten the whipped cream with brown sugar. Dust with ground cardamom.
* Change up your favorite hot chocolate by adding malted milk powder and broiled marshmallows.
* A scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream transforms traditional hot cocoa into a dessert-like winter treat.
This recipe calls for just two ingredients; add cocoa candy melts or semisweet chocolate chips to hot milk and stir.
* Warm up with a rich cup of cocoa that's spiked with a few drops of peppermint oil.
We’re dreaming of a white Christmas — a white-chocolate Christmas, that is. A mug of Bobby Flay’s frothy white cocoa is the perfect drink for sipping on a lazy winter day.
Honey adds unique depth as a sweetener for hot cocoa, balanced by a pinch of salt.
The winning combination of marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, and chocolate makes an over the top cup of cocoa.
If you don’t see your favorite holiday drink recipe write it in the comments below and we’ll be sure to add it to the list.
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