11 Traditional Christmas Cocktails

Classic Drinks That Will Brighten Your Holiday Season

Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail

The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

Among the many Christmas traditions to look forward to each year are favorite cocktails and punches. Many have even been relished by holiday revelers for more than a century. From eggnog and wassail to the Tom and Jerry and poinsettia, these classic Christmas drinks are as inherent to holiday celebrations as decorating the tree and yummy baked treats. The recipes have stood the test of time and are sure to keep your season bright.

  • 01 of 11


    Bourbon eggnog for a holiday party

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

    Of all the holiday cocktails you can mix up, few are as fitting as a glass of homemade eggnog. It's a luscious, creamy drink that many crave when December rolls around and it often brings back fond memories.

    Eggnog is not difficult to make from scratch and it's tastier than most store-bought options. Plus, there are many recipes to choose from, including big-batch and quick, single-serve eggnogs, even nonalcoholic and vegan versions. Try this sophisticated eggnog martini with amaretto liqueur.

  • 02 of 11


    Wassail punch recipes

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

    Christmas tradition once included a trip around the neighborhood, complete with caroling and—as one popular song suggests—bowls of wassail. It was a fun way to share the holiday spirit with family and friends and something often missing in modern culture.

    Wassail is not just the subject of a carol, it's actually a warm holiday punch filled with aromatic spices. There are a few ways to make it, too. Choose from a brandy and sherry recipe, or one with rum and beer. Either way, adding wassail to your holiday celebration is sure to make it memorable.

  • 03 of 11

    Hot Buttered Rum

    Hot buttered rum with cinnamon stick.

     The Spruce Eats

    Hot buttered rum may be the most comforting of holiday drinks. It is warm, spicy, and buttery smooth with a rum base, so it's 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 make up a large batch of the butter batter. It will be ready whenever holiday guests stop by or you simply want a warm mug to yourself.

  • 04 of 11

    Tom and Jerry

    Tom and Jerry Cocktail

    The Spruce Eats

    Warm milk is great, but it's even better with shots of brandy and rum. That is exactly 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's 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 and the batter can be prepared in advance.

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  • 05 of 11

    Non-Alcoholic Thanksgiving Punch

    Thanksgiving Punch for the Family
    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

    Despite the name, our Thanksgiving punch is great for Christmas too—its flavors of cinnamon and orange make it both a cozy and refreshing beverage for the entire fall and winter season. It has a base of apple cider, sparkling blood orange juice, and sparkling grape juice, all brightened up with fresh orange and cranberry. Serve in martini glasses garnished with a slice of orange. If you're looking to spike it for a harder drink, a splash of rum, reposado tequila, or añejo tequila will transform this from mocktail to cocktail.

  • 06 of 11

    Hot Toddy

    Hot Toddy

    The Spruce Eats

    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.

    All you need to make this comforting winter drink is hot tea, a little lemon, and honey along with your choice of brandy, rum, or whiskey. It's probably all right there in your kitchen, so you have the perfect excuse to enjoy and share this holiday favorite whenever you please.

  • 07 of 11

    Mulled Wine

    Mulled Spiced Wine

    The Spruce

    Summer may have sangria, but winter is the time for 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. Mulled wine 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 fire.

  • 08 of 11


    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 while filling your home with the most inviting aroma.

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  • 09 of 11

    English Christmas Punch

    Christmas punch recipe

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

    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. Also, if you like to play with fire, the English Christmas punch can be lit aflame to the delight of everyone. Just keep the punchbowl away from the tree.

  • 10 of 11

    Brandy Alexander

    Brandy Alexander Cocktail

    The Spruce Eats

    The brandy Alexander is the ultimate holiday nightcap. It's hard to beat sitting back and relaxing with this drink after a busy day. Yet, it's just as amazing when served with dessert at the holiday dinner table.

    It's a creamy delight and a very quick cocktail to mix up. You'll simply shake brandy, crème de cacao, and cream, strain it, and enjoy. It comes together with such perfection that you would think it's far more complicated than it is.

  • 11 of 11


    Poinsettia champagne cocktail

    The Spruce Eats

    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. 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, either. All you have to do is pour, serve, and enjoy the memories.