On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…if you don’t end that line with the name of a delicious cocktail, you may need to reevaluate your relationship. The Christmas season brings with it a bevy of festive, seasonal drinks that embody the yuletide spirit. Here, 12 of the best, one for every day of the Christmas countdown. We guarantee they’ll be a far more welcome treat than six geese a-laying.
The 12 Cocktails of Christmas
Sweet and creamy, our recipe for the classic Christmas cocktail calls for both bourbon and dark rum, along with a velvety mix of eggs, whole milk, sugar and heavy cream. Make Eggnog the Medieval way by heating it, or serve it chilled.
The holidays are always cause for celebration, and this riff on the classic Champagne Cocktail from the Greydon House in Nantucket calls for popping open a bottle of bubbly—apple cider, that is. Calvados, a French apple brandy, pairs with sparkling apple cider, lemon juice and maple syrup for a cozy, spritzy cocktail.
This warming drink is all the good parts of a gingerbread house (the spicy-sweet flavor) without all the frustrating bits (the construction and inevitable collapse). Fresh ginger and molasses come together in a homemade gingerbread syrup, which mixes with hot coffee, Cognac and a splash of Baileys for the ultimate Christmas latté.
If Santa was presented with a cocktail menu instead of a glass of milk, we’re pretty sure he’d order a Brandy Alexander. A mix of dark crème de cacao, Cognac, cream and freshly grated nutmeg, the cocktail tastes like a cookie in a coupe. But since we don’t promote drinking and sleigh-flying, it’s probably best you just shake one up for yourself.
dark crème de cacao
After a long year of toymaking and reindeer grooming, Santa’s elves deserve a pick-me-up, and this refreshing treat will hit the spot. Vanilla ice cream, vodka, peppermint schnapps and bracingly minty Fernet Branca Menta come together with milk and Coca-Cola for the perfect boozy milkshake.
Vanilla Ice Cream
Don’t you dare throw away the leftover cranberry sauce from Christmas dinner. Use it to make this cocktail, instead. Reposado tequila, fresh blood orange juice and lightly bitter Aperol are an excellent match for tangy cranberry sauce. Top it with fizzy Champagne, and pat yourself on the back for saving valuable refrigerator real estate for something really important, like pie.
Blood orange juice
Tiramisu is one of the most popular Christmas desserts in Italy, and this cocktail from The Bar Room in New York tastes exactly like a liquid version of the layered confection—complete with a crushed ladyfinger rim. The dessert's signature coffee flavor comes from Patrón XO Café, with added sweetness from honeyed Drambuie and nutty Frangelico.
As green and fresh as a Christmas tree, the Grasshopper is a holiday classic. Made with green crème de menthe, white crème de cacao and heavy cream, it tastes like a chocolate mint straight from your stocking. For an even more indulgent version of the cocktail, make our signature White Chocolate Grasshopper, topped with a pile of dark chocolate shavings.
white crème de cacao
green crème de menthe
Drinking hot cocoa by a roaring fire is a wintertime must, and this drink doubles the cheer by spiking it with peppermint schnapps and green Chartreuse. We couldn't resist topping this grown up hot chocolate with childhood favorites: fluffy marshmallows and a candy cane.
Made with red wine and baking spices, this crowd-friendly cocktail is like a warm, Christmas-flavored Sangria. The best part is you can prep it in a crock pot before a party and have it ready by the time guests arrive.
dry red wine
Make sure you’re in prime health for all the Christmas festivities with a curative Hot Toddy. Made with hot water, honey, lemon and whiskey, this warming cocktail can be served up simply in a mug, or made more festive with the addition of a cinnamon stick, nutmeg, cloves, star anise and a lemon peel.
Slip on your coziest Christmas onesie before whipping up a batch of this decadent drink, made with a whole stick of butter, brown sugar, baking spices and, of course, rum—preferably spiced or aged. Grab a mugful of this drinkable dessert and retreat to the good chair.