Cocktail & Other Recipes Occasion Christmas

30 Cocktails to Make for Christmas

Spread holiday cheer in liquid form.

Under the Mistletoe cocktail
Under the Mistletoe Image: / Tim Nusog

Add these festive cocktails and punches to your wish list. From traditional recipes like eggnog and hot chocolate to a Negroni riff that tastes like a Christmas tree, they might just be the best way to spread holiday cheer—whether you’re serving them on December 25 or any time during the season.

  • Christmas Punch

    Christmas Punch / Tim Nusog

    This fruity and refreshing drink combines light rum, cranberry and tart cherry juices, ginger ale, rich simple syrup, fresh ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. Make a batch for the kid’s table: It’s equally flavorful without the booze.

    Get the recipe.

  • Eggnog

    Eggnog / Tim Nusog

    You won’t go back to store-bought after trying this delicious mix of eggs, sugar, whole milk, heavy cream, and your choice of rum, bourbon, or brandy. Beating the egg yolks and whites separately before recombining them produces an extra-luscious texture.

    Get the recipe.

  • Hot Buttered Rum

    Hot Buttered Rum / Tim Nusog

    Our recipe for this winter classic has an unexpected ingredient: softened vanilla ice cream. Combined with butter, sugar, and spices, the ice cream creates a smooth batter that won’t become lumpy when you blend it with rum and boiling water. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Naughty or Nice

    Naughty or Nice punch / Tim Nusog

    Let your guests decide. This inventive punch from Seattle bar pro Jamie Boudreau serves two and can easily be multiplied. The combination of London dry gin, maraschino liqueur, chardonnay, pinot noir, and ginger ale can be scaled up or down in volume as you please.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 5 of 30 below.
  • Boozy Hot Chocolate

    Boozy Hot Chocolate / TIm Nusog

    When hot chocolate cravings strike, skip the powdered stuff and make this recipe with high-quality semisweet chocolate and milk. Spike with your spirit of choice. (We recommend aged spirits like a dark rum or añejo tequila.)

    Get the recipe.

  • Glögg

    Glogg cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Try Scandinavia’s answer to mulled wine with this warming big-batch drink. Dried figs and raisins add nutty complexity to a mix of red wine, port, vodka, light brown sugar, oranges, and holiday spices.

    Get the recipe.

  • Irish Coffee

    Irish Coffee / Tim Nusog

    The ultimate after-dinner drink might also be the simplest. Just top Irish whiskey and two teaspoons of brown sugar with freshly brewed coffee, then garnish with freshly whipped cream. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Bring Me Back Something French

    Bring Me Back Something French / Tim Nusog

    Add an ounce of absinthe to homemade hot chocolate for a decidedly grown-up twist on the classic. Vanilla whipped cream, sprinkles, and Pocky garnish helps keep things playful.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 9 of 30 below.
  • Cranberry-Ginger Mimosa

    Cranberry-Ginger Mimosa / Tim Nusog

    This simple recipe might become your go-to drink for Christmas morning brunch—or any time of day. Just top Champagne with cranberry juice, ginger beer, and sugared cranberries.

    Get the recipe.

  • Wassail

    Wassail cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Wassail is most often made with spiced apple cider, but this richer and nuttier version calls for a base of brown ale and oloroso sherry. It’s just as warming as the original, thanks to apples, lemon zest, a clove-studded orange peel, cinnamon, cardamom, brown sugar, and apple slices.

    Get the recipe.

  • Pear Tree Martini

    Pear Tree Martini / Tim Nusog

    There’s no partridge in this pear tree, but there are plenty of festive holiday flavors in the mix of spiced pear vodka, St-Germain liqueur, lime juice, and Angostura bitters. Christmas carols optional.

    Get the recipe.

  • Tom & Jerry

    Tom and Jerry cocktail / Tim Nusog

    This classic recipe dates to 1820s England, but its cozy appeal has lasted well into the 21st century. The irresistible drink combines a rich batter made from eggs, dark rum, and vanilla extract with boiling water, dark rum, cognac, and whole milk.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 13 of 30 below.
  • Winter Sour

    Winter Sour cocktail / Tim Nusog

    A low-ABV base of Campari makes this cocktail a great choice for holiday parties where the drinks are flowing all night long. Bar pro H. Joseph Ehrmann shakes the bittersweet amaro with muddled rosemary leaves, clover honey syrup, Meyer lemon juice, and an egg white to produce a drink that’s merry and bright. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Golden Cadillac

    Golden Cadillac cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Cap off a special meal with this retro drink. Equal parts anise-flavored Galliano liqueur, white creme de cacao, and heavy cream produce a rich, herbaceous, and timeless cocktail.

    Get the recipe.

  • Stranger in the Alps

    Stranger in the Alps cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Consider this drink a Christmas tree Negroni. A juniper-forward gin and an alpine amaro add piney and herbaceous notes to the classic mix of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. For added depth, the glass is rinsed with a special fir brandy.

    Get the recipe.

  • Brandy Milk Punch

    Brandy Milk Punch / Tim Nusog 

    This creamy frozen drink is a classic brunch order at New Orleans’s storied restaurant, Brennan’s. Whether you serve the decadent blend of brandy, milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract for your Christmas brunch or save it for dessert, it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 17 of 30 below.
  • The Nice List

    The Nice List cocktail

    Thompson Hotel Savannah

    Making one of these may be the easiest way to gain a spot on the nice list. A spiced cranberry syrup adds festive notes to this Cosmopolitan-adjacent mix of vodka, peach mead, and Cointreau.

    Get the recipe.

  • Bourbon Lift

    Bourbon Lift cocktail / Tim Nusog

    This rich and fizzy drink will indeed lift your spirits. Bartender Erik Adkins combines bourbon, coffee liqueur, heavy cream, orgeat, and club soda, producing a grown-up version of an egg cream.

    Get the recipe.

  • Tea & Krampus

    Tea & Krampus cocktail / Tim Nusog

    According to central European legend, Krampus is a half-goat, half-demon monster that punishes naughty children at Christmastime. Martin Cate of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco combines two rums, blackberry liqueur, allspice dram, lime and pineapple juices, vanilla syrup, and Angostura bitters to produce a tropical-leaning drink that’s much more delightful than its namesake.

    Get the recipe.

  • Spiced Eggnog

    Spiced Eggnog
    Jeffrey Morgenthaler

    Bar pro Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Pacific Standard in Portland, Oregon, loves all Eggnog, “even the crappy stuff from the grocery store,” he says. There’s nothing crappy about his upgraded version, which he makes in a blender with eggs, brandy, spiced rum, whole milk, heavy cream, and superfine sugar.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 21 of 30 below.
  • Porto Flip

    Porto Flip / Tim Nusog

    Port is often consumed as an after-dinner drink, but this festive flip cocktail from bar pro Allen Katz is an even more special option. He combines ruby port, cognac, heavy cream, and a whole egg, then tops the drink with a barspoon of yellow Chartreuse for herbaceous notes. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Bourbon Milk Punch

    Bourbon Milk Punch / Tim Nusog

    Craving the richness of Eggnog but short on time? You can make this New Orleans classic right in the shaker with bourbon, whole milk, simple syrup, and vanilla extract.

    Get the recipe.

  • Love & Murder

    Love & Murder Cocktail / Tim Nusog

    For a loose take on a red-and-green cocktail, mix up this herbaceous combination of Campari, green Chartreuse, lime juice, and simple syrup from Porchlight bar director Nick Bennett. The secret ingredient: a touch of salt.

    Get the recipe.

  • Ponche Navideño

    Ponce Navideno / Tim Nusog

    This fragrant and warming punch is a Christmas staple in Mexico. Wherever you are in the world, bring its flavors home with light rum, hot water, apples, pears, tamarind paste, piloncillo, cinnamon sticks, cloves, raisins, and dried hibiscus flowers.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 25 of 30 below.
  • Fort Defiance Irish Coffee

    Fort Defiance Irish Coffee / Tim Nusog

    Made with a shot of espresso in lieu of brewed coffee, this Irish Coffee riff was at one time a beloved menu item at St. John Frizell’s Brooklyn bar Fort Defiance. Try it for yourself by combining Irish whiskey, boiling water, simple syrup, and espresso, then topping with freshly whipped cream and grated cinnamon.

    Get the recipe.

  • Trick Nog

    Trick Nog

    Morgan Schick

    This fruity eggnog twist is ideal for a smaller crowd: Although it calls for a few more ingredients than your classic recipe, it skips the time-consuming egg-separation and combines a whole egg right in the shaker with bourbon, Heering cherry liqueur, orange juice, heavy cream, and brown sugar to yield two drinks.  

    Get the recipe.

  • Apple Cranberry Moscow Mule

    Apple Cranberry Moscow Mule / Tim Nusog

    If you already have Moscow Mule supplies on hand, you don’t need much for this seasonal upgrade. Just add cran-apple juice to the classic combination of vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer, then garnish with fresh cranberries and an apple slice. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Añogo

    Jonathan Fong

    Bar pro H. Joseph Erhmann adds amontillado sherry and añejo tequila to a rich Eggnog base, creating a nutty and buttery take on the classic. For an extra-special presentation, don’t skip the flamed orange peel. 

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 29 of 30 below.
  • Rosemary-Pomegranate Soda

    Rosemary-Pomegranate Soda / Tim Nusog

    This drink might be spirit-free, but it will bring plenty of holiday spirit, thanks to an herbaceous rosemary simple syrup, pomegranate juice, and club soda. If you also want to serve a traditional cocktail, you can use the homemade syrup for a Rosemary Paloma.

    Get the recipe.

  • Under the Mistletoe

    Under the Mistletoe cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Gin drinkers will embrace this cocktail, which combines the spirit with muddled cranberries and oranges, cranberry juice, and club soda. It also makes a festive alternative to cranberry-juice drinks like the Cape Codder.

    Get the recipe.