Cocktail & Other Recipes Occasion Christmas

11 Cocktails to Make for Christmas

They're sure to bring holiday cheer.

Holiday Cheer cocktail
Holiday Cheer Image: / Tim Nusog

Deck the halls with… cocktails? Yup, that’s what we define as a good holiday. While evergreen trees, mistletoe, tinsel, and wrapping paper are nice, there’s nothing quite as beautiful as a delicious cocktail. To get you into the merry spirit this Christmas, we’ve rounded up some of our favorites. From hot mulled wine that’s fit for a crowd to a cocktail that brings two Christmas-colored liqueurs into the same shaker, we have options for everyone, no matter whether they’re on your naughty or nice list.

  • Trick Nog

    Trick Nog

    Morgan Schick

    This modern and boozy twist on classic Eggnog from San Francisco bar Trick Dog is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday. The classic cream, sugar and egg makes an Eggnog base that’s lifted up from a glug of Wild Turkey 81 bourbon and orange juice. Serve it topped with grated nutmeg, cinnamon, and an orange peel.

    Get the recipe.

  • Last-Minute Mulled Wine

    Last-Minute Mulled Wine

    H. Joseph Ehrmann

    Too busy with Christmas preparations to remember to make mulled wine? This one comes together in a jiffy. Simply heat red wine and bourbon or brandy with star anise pods, lemon or orange peel and a bit of sugar, then let stand for five to 10 minutes to let the flavors meld and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

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  • Christmas Punch

    Christmas Punch / Tim Nusog

    This Christmas drink is good with or without booze, making it perfect for a celebration with friends and family of all ages. Cranberry and tart cherry juices, simple syrup, allspice, and ginger are shaken with rum (if desired), then strained over ice and topped with ginger ale to make a sweet, spiced and warming concoction. Garnish with grated ginger and fresh rosemary.

    Get the recipe.

  • Hot Buttered Rum

    Hot Buttered Rum / Tim Nusog

    Warm up from the inside out with this winter classic. Whether you’re gathered around the tree or sipping while touring the neighborhood’s Christmas lights, this drink’s rich and sweet flavor is sure to hit the spot. This recipe takes the traditional rum drink and makes it even better by using a batter for creaminess, instead of just topping the drink with a pat of butter as was tradition. The batter (which is made with ice cream) lends a rich creaminess without the greasiness that comes in the original recipe. Just mix the batter with rum and boiling water, top with nutmeg and cinnamon, and you’re ready to sip up the sweetness.

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  • Under the Mistletoe

    Under the Mistletoe cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Even if you don’t have anyone to smooch this holiday or the decorations to encourage it, you can still cozy up to this kissable concoction. London Dry gin stars alongside cranberries, fresh orange, simple syrup, and cranberry juice to make a refreshing and crisp drink, brought to perfection when topped with a splash of club soda and garnished with a thyme sprig and a handful of cranberries.

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  • Naughty or Nice

    Naughty or Nice punch / Tim Nusog

    No matter which list of Santa’s you’re on, this cocktail’s for you. The large-format recipe is sized for extra servings (it does have “Naughty” in the name, after all). Pinot noir and chardonnay wines combine and get punched up with cognac and maraschino liqueur. Add a bit of ginger ale for fizz and a hint of sweetness, then garnish with blood orange slices, and you’re on your way to a great night.

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  • Tea & Krampus

    Tea & Krampus cocktail / Tim Nusog

    If you want to see the darker side of Ol’ St. Nick, let us introduce you to his mythical companion, Krampus. Known for scaring children who misbehave, Krampus was intended to help make sure children behave well during the holidays, and this cocktail will definitely help you make sure you’re being good. Martin Cate of famed Smuggler's Cove created this recipe, which combines two kinds of rum, blackberry liqueur and allspice dram to make a boozy base that’s brought to life with lime juice, pineapple juice, vanilla syrup, and bitters. Serve over ice, garnished with a dusting of nutmeg, and revel in the naughtiness.

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  • Perfect Pear

    Perfect Pear cocktail / Tim Nusog

    This drink will have you singing “... and a partridge in a pear tree!” in no time. Perfect for people who don’t like the dark and heavy spirits that typically take center stage this time of year, this drink proves that gin can be just as good on Christmas as Eggnog, when combined with the flavors of St-Germain, lemon, simple syrup, and fresh pear puree, especially when topped with a bit of sparkling wine.

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  • Aristocrat

    Aristocrat cocktail / Tim Nusog

    A close cousin of the Champagne Cocktail or French 75, this drink features the French bubbly you’d expect, but instead of featuring brandy, gin or another spirit as its base, the Aristocrat uses red Burgundy, strawberry syrup,and Pimm’s No. 1 for a ruby-red color and unique flavor that’s sure to impress. Since pinot noir from France’s Burgundy region can become costly very quickly, you can substitute in a pinot noir from another part of the world (may we suggest Oregon’s Willamette Valley?) to keep costs down, especially if you’re making drinks for a crowd.

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  • Love & Murder

    Love & Murder Cocktail / Tim Nusog

    The colors of Christmas combine in this drink from NYC’s Porchlight. Green Chartreuse mixes with red Campari, plus lime juice, simple syrup, and a bit of saline, to create an unexpected yet delicious cocktail that has all the makings of a true modern classic.

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  • Holiday Cheer

    Holiday Cheer cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Put those cranberries to good use in this holiday spin on the typical vodka-cran. Muddled cranberries are a tart and bright base that’s shaken with vodka until chilled. Pour the mix over ice (don’t strain it to the full effect of those fresh cranberries) and then topped with tonic water and just a splash of sparkling cider. Garnish with a fresh rosemary sprig.

    Get the recipe.