25 of the merriest Christmas cocktail recipes

Come December the 25th, break out the bubbly, the mulled wine and the Christmas punch

Published December 21, 2021 3:00PM (EST)

 (Julia Gartland / Food52)
(Julia Gartland / Food52)

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Christmas is just around the corner and, for weeks, we'll be sharing our favorite holiday main courses, the best gifts to give to the person who insists they have everything, and how to DIY festive decorations for your home. But today, we're sharing our go-to Christmas cocktail recipes for office parties and family gatherings.

Our best Christmas cocktails

1. Simple Holiday Mulled Wine

The ultimate holiday party drink is a big batch of mulled wine. This one uses a never-fail combination of apple cider and red wine for the base, then whole spices like cinnamon sticks and star anise, honey, and the zest and juice of an orange are added to the mix. Let it simmer in a big pot on the stove (or in a slow cooker!) throughout the party until there is not a single drop left.

2. Pom Fizz

A glass of champagne always feels on-brand during the holiday season, but give it a winter spin with pomegranate syrup, a.k.a. Pomegranate molasses, (fear not: it's just boiled down pomegranate juice) and a few fresh arils for garnish.

3. Cockney Champagne Cocktail

Think of this as our take on a French75 cocktail. This recipe, which calls for gin, champagne, lemon juice, and simple syrup, serves one but you can easily scale it up for a crowd.

4. "Spirits" of the Holidays Eggnog

We didn't think eggnog could get boozier or more delicious, but leave it to recipe developer Chef Lisa to come up with the best-ever eggnog recipe. Eggs, heavy cream, and half-and-half are dressed up with the warmth of apple brandy, light rum, and freshly grated nutmeg.

5. Champagne Cocktail

Accessorize a glass of champagne with a dash of bitters, a sugar cube, and a lemon twist for garnish. It's not a lot of work, but the impact is big.

6. Red Wine Sangria

Life is what you make it, and so is sangria. Our go-to recipe calls for a combination of red wine, Cognac, Grand Marnier, sparkling water, and an assortment of fruit, but we encourage you to use whatever's in season. Instead of sparkling water, add some cava! Instead of Cognac, use brandy or skip it altogether! The world is your oyster.

7. Spiced Pear Bourbon Collins

Sure, you have to acquire St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur for this holiday cocktail. But for one, it's well worth it and two, it's actually admittedly quite easy to find. The floral aroma and sweet flavor are a match made in cocktail heaven for the other ingredients: bourbon, honey syrup, lemon juice, and rosemary.

8. Negroni Sbagliato Punch

Come for the beautiful ice ring studded with whole spices and pomegranate arils and stay for the festive fruit flavor in every sip of this bubbly beverage.

9. Spiced Bourbon Cocktail with Pomegranate Syrup

A season-ready sipper starring bourbon and a few classic cold-weather favorites, like cinnamon, pomegranate, and fresh rosemary.

10. Vegan Eggnog

Vegan eggnog may seem like an oxymoron, but all it takes is soaked cashews, Medjool dates, and coconut milk to fill the void of a dozen eggs and cream. The usual assortment of warm spices, a little bit of maple syrup, and brandy or rum (if you're feeling up for it!) makes this dairy-free drink dazzle.

11. Pear Vodka Martini

This holiday drink is the closest we'll get to having a partridge in a pear tree at the Christmas party, but it's a delicious second place. A duo of pear vodka and pear nectar team up to make a cocktail that even martini skeptics will love.

12. Mulled Wine Sparkler

"Instead of simply infusing wine with traditional mulling spices, I like to make this bubbly twist: First, boil a thick cocktail syrup using mulling spices, sugar, and red wine. After that, all you have to do is add it to a glass with Prosecco, plus a strip of lemon peel, and you've got yourself a refreshingly festive drink," writes Posie (Harwood) Brian, the brains behind this Christmas party drink.

13. Italian Sparkler: A Gin Amaro Cocktail

There's something about bitter amaro and crisp, grassy gin that work in tandem together, like the fall of snow followed by peace on earth (or more likely, the sound of screeching tires and crackling branches).

14. Maple-Cardamom Old Fashioned Bitters

Bourbon has a reputation for being the spirit you sip as the leaves change in the bitter cold. And while it has so much potential beyond just that vibe, today we're celebrating it in all its warm, spiced, sweet glory.

15. Sparkling Cranberry Gin Punch

This Christmas punch brings together good-quality gin, iced tea, port wine, cranberry syrup, and sparkling wine for a merriment of festive flavors.

16. Holiday Milk Punch

Although "punch" may imply that this is a big batch cocktail, the recipe only makes one rum and brandy cocktail. That being said, you may as well double or triple the recipe, because all of your Christmas party guests will be requesting this signature cocktail all night long.

17. Bourbon Cocoa Cider

When you want to be the hostess with the most-ess, introduce this cocktail at a Christmas party. Start by making homemade apple cider (we'll walk you through the process) and then add good-quality bourbon, creme de cacao, and a few dashes of aromatic bitters.

18. Holiday Whisky Sour

For the perfect holiday cocktail recipe, team up a good aged whiskey with Drambuie
, which is a Scotch whisky liqueur infused with a blend of honey, herbs, and spices.

19. Winter Spritz

Equal parts Campari, blood orange juice, and hard apple cider take a twirl together for the perfect Christmas cocktail.

20. Black Russian

"That enticing combination of vodka and coffee flavor is how the quintessential, classic Black Russian was born. And it couldn't be simpler to make, with just two parts vodka, one part coffee-flavored liqueur, such as Kahlúa, and a maraschino cherry on top makes it look oh-so-pretty (but if you don't have any cherries, that's all good too)," writes Food52's recipe editor Jill Baughman.

21. Irish Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate spiked with stout beer, whiskey, and Irish cream liqueur is a Christmas drink that no one will turn down (especially Santa Claus). Take it a step further by adding a miniature candy cane to each mug for a merry garnish.

22. Holiday Sparkler

Think of this cocktail as a more festive version of a mimosa: Instead of OJ, combine equal parts triple sec, lime juice, and cranberry juice with prosecco for a Christmas punch that will get any party started (and keep it going).

23. Sparkling Scotch Highball

Any good-quality single malt whiskey is the starpower behind this bubbly brandy and cider cocktail for Christmas.

24. Plum Wine Spritzer

A good cocktail doesn't always need half a dozen hard-to-find ingredients to wow. This one only calls for two ingredients total (plum wine and sparkling seltzer) but the bubbly concoction is still magical.

25. White Russian

This classic, creamy cocktail only calls for three ingredients — vodka, plus equal parts Kahlúa and heavy cream. It looks like a glass of freshly fallen snow and will warm you from the inside out.

By Kelly Vaughan

MORE FROM Kelly Vaughan

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