Making Christmas cocktails — or drinking them — is one of my favourite holiday festivities. Sure, it may seem obvious — doesn't everyone like to drink at the holidays? But it's not about the drinking (well, not entirely). There's something fun about veering away from our typical mainstays and getting creative with festive flavours and ingredients. Heck, throw some cranberries and a sprig of rosemary into that G&T you drink year-round and now it's a Christmas cocktail. There's no wrong way to do it.
Then there are those drinks we only have around the holidays that make them all the more special: a cup of piping hot chocolate at one of the city's Christmas markets, a glass of rum eggnog while you wrap all of your gifts, an Amarula laden coffee on Christmas morning. Christmas cocktails and mocktails punctuate the season and get the festive feelings in the air.
If you're hosting, Christmas cocktails are also a lot of fun for guests. Every year, my mom makes a signature Christmas cocktail that she greets us with, so now it's become a Christmas tradition that we always look forward to. Guests will love guessing what's in your festive creation, and to make it easy for you, we've got 14 Christmas cocktail and mocktail recipes. Try the recipes below, or use them as a guide to help you put a holiday twist on your favourites. It's the holidays — anything goes.
Start your day right with this delightful coffee, made festive with the addition of spiced rum and lots of whipped cream.
Add all the ingredients to a saucepan over medium heat and whisk to dissolve the sugar, or stir if you can’t whisk. Watch carefully and reduce heat before the mixture boils over.
Simmer on low for 10 minutes.
Turn off heat, cover and allow the mixture to steep and cool for another 10 minutes.
Strain the syrup into an airtight glass jar or bottle by pressing down on the cranberries to squeeze everything out. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Non-Alcoholic Christmas Kiss
Muddle 5–6 fresh cranberries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
Add ice and the rest of the ingredients. Shake to chill.
Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with sugared cranberries. Note: Use a hawthorne strainer to strain or else the cranberries block the openings on the shaker lid and you’ll have trouble getting the whole cocktail out.
Made with cassis, gin and cherry liqueur, this is a booze forward cocktail that will knock your Christmas socks off.
1 dropper All The Bitters Alcohol Free Aromatic Bitters
1 oz + 1 tsp gingerbread syrup
Gingerbread cookies, for the rim
Gingerbread cookie, to garnish
1 cup water
1 cup demerara sugar
3 Tbsp fresh ginger root, finely chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp vanilla
5 allspice berries
5 whole cloves
Chop the ginger into small pieces.
Add the allspice and cloves to a mortar and pestle and crush.
Add everything for the syrup, except the vanilla, into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer on medium heat, stirring to make sure the sugar dissolves. Keep on a simmer for several minutes, then remove from heat.
Add the vanilla, stir and then cover to cool.
Strain into an airtight glass jar or bottle.
Gingerbread Old Fashioned
Put 4–5 gingerbread cookies into a plastic bag, or between parchment paper, and gently crush them with a rolling pin. Pour the crumbs onto a small plate.
Pour a small amount of the gingerbread syrup (1 tsp) onto another plate.
Dip a rocks glass into the syrup and then into the ginger crumbs to rim the glass with the cookie crumbs.
Add the rest of the ingredients into the rocks glass and stir to combine.
Add a big square ice cube, and stir again to chill.
Garnish with a gingerbread cookie.
Celebrate the season with this bubbly cocktail topped with sparkling wine.