10 Traditional Christmas Cocktails

Drinks for the Taste of Christmas to Brighten Your Season

Poinsettia champagne cocktail

The Spruce


Christmas is steeped in tradition, including seasonal cocktail recipes that have survived more than a century of holiday parties. They are as much of a part of celebrations as decorating the tree or baking classic desserts. Classic recipes like eggnog, wassail and the Tom and Jerry have stood the test of time and exude the spirit of the holidays.

Sit down and cozy up while you consider these top 10 choices for traditional Christmas cocktails that will keep your season bright.

  • 01 of 10


    Homemade Eggnog
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    Of all the holiday cocktails you can mix up, few are as fitting as a glass of real, homemade eggnog. It's a creamy drink that many crave whenever December rolls around.

    Eggnog is not difficult to make from scratch and it is tastier than most store-bought options. Plus, there are many recipes that put a twist on the original. Whether you're fixing your own desires or mixing up an eggnog to serve a crowd, there's sure to be a nog recipe for you.

  • 02 of 10


    Brandy and sherry in a traditional holiday Wassail.
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    Christmas tradition once included a trip around the neighborhood, complete with caroling and—as one popular song suggests—a lot of wassails. It was a fun time to share the holiday spirit with family and friends and something often missing in modern culture.

    There are a few ways to make this traditional punch. Choose from a brandy and sherry recipe, or one with rum and beer. Either way, wassail is definitely memorable.

  • 03 of 10

    Hot Buttered Rum

    Hot Buttered Rum

    The Spruce

    Hot buttered rum may be the most comforting of drinks for the holidays. It is warm, spicy and buttery smooth with a rum base, so it is very hard to resist.

    This is a tradition you can enjoy on your own or with a few close friends, and the recipe is unbelievably simple. You can even take one evening to make up a large batch of the butter batter. This allows you to have it at the ready whenever holiday guests stop by or you want a warm mug to yourself.

  • 04 of 10

    Tom and Jerry

    Classic Tom and Jerry Holiday Cocktail
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    Warm milk is great, but it's even better when you add a little brandy and rum. That is what you'll find in the classic Tom and Jerry.

    You can still find bars that carry on the tradition of mixing up a batch of this warm milk punch on a chilly winter night. It is the perfect social drink and fun to share while reuniting with friends over the holiday trip home. Best of all, it doesn't take too much effort to make in your own bar.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Hot Toddy

    Classic Hot Toddy Recipe
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    Right up there with eggnog, few recipes are as easy, or well-loved, as the hot toddy. Unlike eggnog, this is one that everyone really will love.

    Whiskey, rum or brandy with hot tea, a little lemon, and honey is all you need to make this comforting winter drink. It's probably all right there in your kitchen right now, so there is no excuse not to enjoy this holiday favorite.

  • 06 of 10

    Mulled Wine

    Mulled Spiced Wine

    The Spruce

    While summer has sangria, winter has mulled wine. It is, without a doubt, the coziest way to enjoy wine during the holidays.

    A bottle of red wine, a hint of brandy, and some holiday spices will quickly fill your home with the Christmas spirit of days gone by. This is the perfect drink to whip up after a day on the slopes, or anytime your group needs a little comfort while sitting by the cozy fire.

  • 07 of 10


    Smorgas Chef's Glogg Warm Winter Cocktail
    Smorgas Chef

    A Christmas tradition in Scandinavian countries, glögg is similar to mulled wine and wassail, though it does have a few unique twists. Most notably, cardamom pods are added to the spice mix and almonds and raisins are used as a garnish.

    This particular glögg recipe mixes either spiced rum or brandy with red wine, a touch of vodka, and a whole host of seasonal spices. It is a flavorful warm punch and one that will delight all of your guests.

  • 08 of 10

    English Christmas Punch

    English Christmas Punch
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    Another warm punch, this recipe is very similar to the rest and can quickly become your new holiday tradition. The mix includes dark rum and red wine along with tea and citrus to brighten up the flavor.

    It's a fantastic taste to share, easy to mix up, and worthy of any holiday party you may be hosting. Also, if you like to play with fire, the English Christmas punch can be lit aflame to the delight of everyone. Just keep it away from the tree.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Brandy Alexander

    Brandy Alexander Cocktail

    The Spruce

    This creamy delight should tickle everyone's palate at least once this season. It is the ultimate holiday nightcap.

    The cocktail is the Brandy Alexander and it is among the most relaxing and satisfying drinks you'll enjoy after a busy day. The mix is simple—brandy, cacao, and cream—and it comes together with such perfection that you would think it's far more complicated than it is.

  • 10 of 10


    Poinsettia champagne cocktail

    The Spruce


    Holidays are about celebrating and sometimes you have to bring out the bubbly and do it up in style. That is where the poinsettia comes in. A few sparkling drinks are as magical as this shining star of the cocktail world.

    The recipe requires just three ingredients: orange liqueur, cranberry juice, and Champagne. There are no special tools or techniques, simply pour, serve and enjoy the memories.