Recipes for Holiday Cocktails To Try (2023)

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Christmas means parties, cozying up by the fire, and seeing family, which all (typically) have one thing in common: cocktails. The best Christmas cocktails are an easy way to make any holiday gathering a bit more festive — plus we could all likely use a good one after the chaos of holiday shopping and travel. But, if you’re tired of the same old eggnog recipe, it might be time to expand your Christmas cocktail recipe book.

The Best Christmas Cocktails to Try This Year

Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite Christmas cocktails — from creamy buttered rum to margaritas with a wintery twist — and roughly organized them according to each drink’s difficulty and number of ingredients.

We’ve also linked to our liquor suggestions for each cocktail; no need to add more shopping to your holiday to-do list.

Cranberry Bramble

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Light enough for easy sipping yet strong enough to warm us up quickly, the cranberry bramble is a British classic that requires very few ingredients. You can substitute the gin with vodka, but we highly recommend keeping that gin in there for its botanical flavors.

  • 1.5 oz London dry gin
  • 1 oz cranberry sauce
  • .75 oz lemon juice
  • .5 oz orange juice
  • Garnish: cranberries

Rosy Cheeks

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Morton’s Steakhouse

Another light, easy Christmas cocktail is the Rosy Cheeks from Morton’s Steakhouse. The seasonal cocktail leans heavily on its base — a variety of Ketel One that includes grapefruit and rose — and compliments it with sweet Aperol and simple syrup, as well as a dash of lemon juice.

White Christmas Margaritas

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That’s right: You can drink Margaritas year-round. However, we recommend adapting the world’s most famous tequila drink for the colder months. These White Christmas Margaritas add coconut cream and coconut milk to the traditional recipe for a festive color and a unique flavor. It’s best in a Christmas party punch bowl, so we pulled a party-sized recipe below:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. cream of coconut
  • 12 oz. blanco tequila
  • 8 oz. triple sec
  • 1/4 c. lime juice

Nooku Bulldog

recipes espresso martini


Espresso martinis are all the rage right now, but this one from Nooku is a better alternative if you want to get festive (and stay awake). It uses the Colorado brand’s cream-and-bourbon product, turbo-charged with cold brew (or expresso), extra bourbon, and vodka.

Ritz Carlton Chicago’s Pine Barrens

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Ritz Carlton Chicago

The Pine Barrens is another very easy Christmas cocktail, courtesy of the Ritz Carlton, Chicago. It’s similar to a lemon drop, only with green chartreuse for a tinge of herbaceousness to match the Christmas tree.

  • 1.5 oz Belvedere vodka
  • .5 oz green chartreuse
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup

Holiday Cheer

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Between turkey, ham, chocolate, and eggnog, the holidays can be heavy on the gut. If you need a break from all that, whip up this holiday cheer cocktail. With plenty of tonic water and cider, it’s more like a refreshing soda to soothe the stomach — the vodka is an added bonus.

  • 4 cranberries
  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces tonic water
  • 1 ounce sparkling cider
  • Garnish: 1 rosemary sprig

Jingle Juice

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Another great cocktail to serve in a party punch bowl is Jingle Juice, a delicious mix of cran-apple juice spiked with wine (cheap stuff is perfectly fine), prosecco, and vodka. Serve each guest with a sugar-rimmed glass filled with cranberries for best effect.

  • 4 c. Cran-Apple Juice
  • 2 bottles red Moscato
  • 1 bottle Prosecco
  • 1/2 c. vodka
  • 2 c. frozen cranberries
  • 1/3 c. mint leaves
  • Glass rim: lime juice, granulated sugar

Upgraded Eggnog

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Homemade eggnog is great. This “upgrade” eggnog from NYC’s Riverpark is even better. It uses maple syrup, a quality Cognac (or brandy), and St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram.


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Kelsey Fain

This sweet and fresh recipe from Charlotte Voisey of William Grant & Sons USA is a showstopper for rum lovers. We also like it because it tastes great when served hot in a mug or chilled over ice.

  • 1.5 oz Flor de Cana 12
  • .5 oz Amontillado sherry
  • .5 oz agave nectar
  • 2 oz apple cider
  • 2 dashes apple bitters

Hot Toddy

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The hot toddy is a classic winter recipe, and we think it deserves a comeback. In a cup of boiling water, drop sugar, lemon, cloves, and any whiskey of your choosing. It’s great for finishing off a meal or sipping on Christmas morning (although maybe consider less whiskey in the morning version).

  • Boiling water, to fill a mug
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 lemon peel or wheel
  • 2 teaspoons demerara sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 2 ounces whiskey

Mulled Wine

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Another winter classic is mulled wine, which we think tastes best when made at home with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Just be sure to sip it outside in the cold to really enjoy the warm taste and feel.

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1 orange (sliced)
  • ½ lemon (peel only)
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 ½ tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoon brandy

Hot Caramel Buttered Rum

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Closer to a dessert than a cocktail, this hot caramel buttered rum drink is a surefire way to warm up before slipping off into a good night’s sleep. It’s not super easy to make (some time in the kitchen is required) so you might want to make a large batch of batter at once.



  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 2/3 cup hot water
  • 1 ounce batter (above)
  • 2 ounces dark rum
  • Garnish: whipped cream, ground nutmeg

BONUS: Fancy Glassware


The easiest way to make any cocktail more festive? Serve it in a special glass. If you don’t have any nice glasses, we recommend these crystal tumblers from Marquis by Waterford. The four-set delivers serious bang-for-your-buck — especially while they’re on sale for just $49.99 (half off the retail of $100) right now on Amazon.

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