5 Classic Christmas Cocktails

Christmas is a time to ring in the merry with your favorite cocktail. See more pictures of cocktails.

The holidays are a time for family, friends and food, and for some, it's an opportunity to indulge in a few traditional Christmas libations. In fact, some can't survive the family part without them. Whether you're hosting a Christmas get-together or just looking to unwind with a hot toddy, you should have a few holiday drink recipes tucked away in your stocking that will warm the belly and soothe the soul. These five classic Christmas cocktails are guaranteed to bring tidings of great joy upon your household, so bottoms up!



This Christmas classic can be made with or without alcohol for all to enjoy. Here's a recipe, courtesy of the Food Network's Alton Brown, for making eggnog from scratch. But if Christmas shopping takes precedence over cooking, you can usually pick up a jug at your local grocery around the holidays. (Bourbon not included.)


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 pint whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 egg whites


  1. Beat egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup of sugar and keep beating until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add milk, cream, bourbon, nutmeg and stir until combined.
  3. Beat egg whites until they make soft peaks. Gradually add 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until they make stiff peaks.
  4. Add egg white mixture to rest of batch and stir with a whisk.
  5. Chill and serve.

Mulled Cider

Cider will warm the chilly, Christmas soul.
Cider will warm the chilly, Christmas soul.

A ladle full of mulled cider is such a Christmas classic that upon mention, it immediately conjures up images of Tiny Tim. This recipe is courtesy of Martha Stewart, and the craft master makes hers sans the hard stuff, making it a great drink for all ages. To enjoy your cider as a warming cocktail, simply add one ounce per serving of rum or brandy once the cider is hot and has finished steeping.


  • 8 cups apple cider
  • 4 strips lemon zest
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole-star anise
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves


  1. Combine cider, lemon zest, cinnamon sticks, anise, allspice and cloves in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove it from heat and cover.
  3. Let it steep for at least 20 minutes, but for maximum flavor, it can steep up to 4 hours.
  4. Pour into mugs, leaving out most of the spices.
  5. Add one ounce of rum or brandy (optional).

Candy Cane

When the weather outside is frightful, this refreshing cocktail provides a great mood boost. Peppermint Schnapps provides the minty goodness, while the Crème de Cacao lends a touch of chocolate and a creamy texture. Shaken rather than stirred, this frothy delight looks best when presented in a martini glass topped with a real candy cane.


  • 3/4 ounce white Crème de Cacao
  • 3/4 ounce Peppermint Schnapps
  • 1 can of 7-Up
  • 1/2 ounce half and half
  • 1/4 ounce Grenadine
  • Candy cane


  1. Fill a martini shaker with ice, and add the Crème de Cacao, Peppermint Schnapps and Grenadine.
  2. Shake well and pour into a martini glass.
  3. Fill the rest of the glass with half and half, and top with a splash of 7-up.
  4. Garnish with candy cane.

Champagne Cocktail

What's a celebration without champagne?
What's a celebration without champagne?

A champagne cocktail is upscale and classic, a great apertif that's guaranteed to be a hit at any party. The flavors of the sugar cube and the bitters complement each other nicely. If you want to spice it up a little, you can add a floater of cognac or Campari. And if you want to save a little dough, you can substitute sparking wine from California for the French bubbly. Best if served in a large champagne flute.


  • 4 ounces chilled champagne or sparkling wine
  • Angostura bitters
  • 1 sugar cube
  • Twist of lemon


  1. Put sugar cube in bottom of champagne flute and soak it with a couple dashes of bitters.
  2. Fill with champagne or sparkling wine.
  3. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

Coffee and Baileys

A steaming mug of coffee with a little nip of Baileys Irish Cream is the ideal after-dinner Christmas drink. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, consider adding a dollop of whipped cream or pop in a cinnamon stick and let it steep for a few minutes. And, if you want to mix it up and make it a cocktail, here's a yummy recipe that's a little more Baileys and a little less coffee.


  • 50 mililiters of Baileys
  • 20 milileters Bushmills Irish Whiskey
  • 10 mililiters of strongly brewed cold coffee


  1. Fill a martini shaker with ice cubes
  2. Add Baileys, Bushmills and coffee
  3. Shake, shake, shake.
  4. Pour into a martini glass.


The Duggars on Their All-time Best Holiday Treats

The Duggars on Their All-time Best Holiday Treats

Check out this article on the Duggars on their all-time best holiday treats to learn what this large family does to celebrate the holidays with food.

Related HowStuffWorks Artilces


  • Andrlik, Jenn. "8 Classic Cocktails for the Holidays." Housebeautiful.com, 2009. http://www.housebeautiful.com/kitchens/classic-holiday-cocktails
  • "Baileys Irish Martini." Baileys.com, 2009. http://www2.baileys.com/en-row/TheDrinks/martini.html
  • Brown, Alton. "Eggnog." Foodnetwork.com, 2005. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/eggnog-recipe2/index.html
  • "Candy Cane Cocktail Recipe." Drinkswap.com, 2009. http://www.drinkswap.com/drinks/detail.asp?recipe_id=1673
  • "Candy Cane recipe." Drinkspub.com, 2009. http://www.drinkspub.com/Cocktails-drinks-recipe/Candy-Cane-drink.html
  • "Mulled Cider." Marthastewart.com, 2009. http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/mulled-cider?autonomy_kw=mulled%20cider&rsc=header_3
  • Sherwood, Michael. "Champagne Drinks and Cocktail Recipes." Avalonwine.com, 2009. http://www.avalonwine.com/champagne-cocktail-recipes.php