Monday, 9 December 2013

The 12 cocktails of Christmas


Eggnog has been around for a very long time, in both its alcoholic and non-alcoholic forms. It’s most associated with Christmas, but has traditionally been served throughout the season from Halloween to New Years. It’s very filling and therefore probably best served at parties with munchies rather than along with meals.
It’s an ideal drink for premixing pitchers to keep guests happy all night long. Always make both alcoholic and non-alcoholic pitchers of it, unless you’re absolutely sure all your guests go one way or the other. One final tip about serving eggnog: have another drink entirely on hand. Some people don’t like the taste and others need to avoid the amount of cholesterol this drink gets from the eggs. It is possible to make low-fat and vegan versions of this drink by using low-fat dairy, egg substitute and/or a vegetable milk such as almond.


This makes a little over two quarts.
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup brandy
  • 1/3 cup dark rum(or bourbon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups of whipping cream
  • 2 cups milk
Refrigerate all the liquids and get them very cold before you make the drink. Beat the eggs at medium speed until they’re very frothy. Gradually add the sugar, vanilla and nutmeg as you continue beating. Now turn the mixer off and stir in the whipping cream, milk, brandy and rum. Chill it until you’re ready to serve. It’s best to keep it chilled at all times. Garnish each individual serving with the nutmeg sprinkled on top and a cinnamon stick.
The non-alcoholic version is exactly the same, except you leave out the alcohols. You can add rum flavoring if you want that taste.

Hot buttered rum

Hot Buttered Rum
The Hot Buttered Rum is a perfect drink for autumn or winter. It belongs next to a nice fire, or out on the deck on a crisp, clear evening. It would even work around a campfire. Whatever the setting, a Hot Buttered Rum makes you feel more cozy.


There are several variations on this recipe. The simple version:
  • 2 ounces of dark rum
  • cinnamon stick
  • 1 pat butter
  • 1 slice lemon peel
  • Boiled water
Put the cinnamon stick, lemon peel and rum in a mug. Fill it with boiling water (leave a spoon in the mug so the glass won’t break from the heat). Float the butter on top, then stir it in. Or serve it with the butter floating and let your guests stir it in with their cinnamon sticks.
Or you can get fancier, in which case you should really just make up a pitcher at a time and save yourself some labor.
  • 1 bottle of dark rum
  • 1 stick of butter (let it sit out until it’s soft)
  • 2 cups of brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • a pinch of salt
  • boiling water
Put the butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt into a bowl. Cream them together with a mixer. Refrigerate until the mixture is almost firm. Spoon two tablespoons of the mixture into each of twelve small mugs. Fill the mugs to the halfway point with the rum (should use about three ounces of rum in each mug), then fill the mug the rest of the way with boiling water. Stir well and serve.
When deciding what to eat with a Hot Buttered Rum, think bread and fruit. Dishes based on either or both of those will go well with the drink. A pancake or waffle breakfast for dinner is wonderful with it. Try apple cinnamon pancakes to shake things up a little. For a snack with your Hot Buttered Rum, try brie puff pastries topped with any kind of fruit preserves or jam you like.

Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine cocktail
Mulled wine is a traditional winter alternative to fruit punch. It’s a little spicier, and a little more warming to cold bodies. While it involves a lot of ingredients and a little bit of cooking, it’s easy enough to make. The simmering brings out a lot of flavor from the other ingredients.
Like any cocktail recipe, this one can be tweaked to taste. You may prefer a little more or less sugar, for example, and some people find even a little bit of anise overwhelming, so you may need to experiment to find what works for you.


  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 cup cognac
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 sliced orange
  • 1 sliced lemon
Combine the ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer for 25 minutes. Let it sit overnight if possible (in the refrigerator is fine). Strain out the fruits and other non-drinkable ingredients and serve it warm in glass mugs.

Chocolate Peppermint Stick

Chocolate Peppermint Stick cocktail
The Chocolate Peppermint Stick tastes exactly like you’d expect from the name. The main flavor is overwhelmingly peppermint, but the creme de cacao is strong, too. If you’ve ever had one of those peppermint sticks that has a chocolatey ribbon woven through it instead of the usual red fruity ones, that’s about what this drink tastes like.
This drink should be regarded as a double, and therefore might not be your best choice for a party (particularly if people will be driving themselves home). It’s wonderful for a night in.


  • 1 1/2 ounce white creme de cacao
  • 1 ounce cream
  • 1 ounce peppermint schnapps
Skake well with ice. Strain ingredients into chilled martini glasses. Garnish with a small peppermint candy cane (or, optionally, crush the candy cane and sprinkle it on top) and serve.

Christmas Cookie

Christmas Cookie cocktail
With a name like the Christmas Cookie, this cocktail sounds innocent enough. But be forewarned: it really packs a wallop with three ounces of alcohol. It tastes a little like a peppermint latte, only much better.
This makes a delicious dessert drink. Feel free to try other brands of coffee liqueur and Irish cream – Tia Maria is great with this cocktail, and Carolan’s Irish Cream has (in my humble opinion) more flavor than Bailey’s. There are a lot of good liqueurs out there to choose from.


  • 1 ounce peppermint schnapps
  • 1 ounce Kahlua
  • 1 ounce Bailey’s
Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly, then strain the ingredients into a chilled martini glass.

Santa Shot

Santa Shot cocktail
The Santa Shot is a gorgeous little red and green layered shot that tastes like a candy cane. It’s Christmas ascetics combined with Christmas flavors, and it packs plenty of Christmas spirit. You might even want to leave one out for Santa with his cookies.
This is a great treat for parties, especially as an aperitif. If you don’t trust your layering skills (learn how to layer cocktails like a pro here) under pressure, you can pour these in advance, put them on a serving tray and leave them in the fridge to stay nice and chilled. When the times comes, just pull the serving tray out carefully and carry it in to deliver the drinks to your guests.


  • 1 part grenadine syrup
  • 1 part green creme de menthe
  • 1 part peppermint schnapps
Pour grenadine to about 1/3 of your shot glass. Carefully layer the creme de menthe, then the peppermint schnapps.

Chocolate Raspberry Martini

Chocolate Raspberry Martini
The Chocolate Raspberry Martini may not look particularly chocolate or raspberry, but it is both. And it is delicious. It looks like a simple, clear martini, which is why the garnish is so important.
You can garnish this one in a few ways: put a few fresh raspberries in it, sprinkle cocoa powder across the surface, put a chocolate kiss or two in it, or any combination of the above. You can also rim the glass with sweetened cocoa powder and put fresh raspberries in the drink – that’s my personal favorite.
This is a strong drink, so savor it on a special night in.


  • 1 1/2 ounce raspberry vodka
  • 1 ounce white creme de cacao
Chill your ingredients beforehand. Pour them into a chilled martini glass – no need to stir or shake or anything.

The Red Hot Santa Tini

Red Hot Santa Tini
Mixing chocolate and hot pepper together is trendy for a reason: it’s astoundingly good. The Red Hot Santa Tini mixes chili pepper infused vodka with Godiva chocolate liqueur, whipping cream and a surprising rim of cocoa and chili powder.
Don’t save this present for Christmas.


  • 2 ounces chili-infused vodka
  • 2 ounces Godiva chocolate liqueur
  • Cocoa powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Sweetened whipping cream
  • One small Thai chili pepper
Mix some cocoa powder together with a pinch of cayenne pepper, and rim a chilled martini glass with it. Shake the vodka up with the chocolate liqueur and pour the mixture into the glass. Top it off with the whipping cream and garnish by floating the chili pepper on top of the cream.


Snowball cocktail
Tired of sophisticated holiday ‘tinis with odd (but so grown-up) flavor combinations and sexy garnishes? Maybe it’s time for a good old-fashioned blended cocktail that looks like a big ball of snow in a glass and tastes like cinnamon.
This drink has a flavor that’s definitely for the kid in you – but with three and a half ounces of alcohol, there’s definitely something for the grown-up, too. The terminally adult need not apply.


  • 3 ounces 1921 Tequila Cream Liqueur
  • 3 drops of vanilla
  • crushed ice
  • 1 ounce of evaporated skim milk
  • 1/2 ounce Kahlua
  • cinnamon powder
  • cinnamon stick
Pour all the ingredients – except for the cinnamon powder – into a blender. Blend for about ten seconds. Pour it into a wine glass or brandy snifter. Sprinkle cinnamon powder on top and stick the cinnamon stick down in the glass for garnish.


Poinsettia cocktail
The Poinsettia is a champagne cocktail, which makes it ideal for holiday parties. It’s light on the alcohol, easy to drink (even for very occasional drinkers) and festive.
It’s also a wonderful brunch drink, and the cranberry gives it a nice touch of autumn flavors for fall and winter.


  • Champagne
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau
  • 3 ounces cranberry juice
Put the Cointreau and cranberry juice in a chilled champagne flute. Stir them and top the rest of the way with champagne.
Harder Version
To make it a little harder, add an ounce of vodka or tequila.
Non-alcoholic version
To avoid alcohol all-together, replace the champagne with ginger ale.

Candy Cane

Candy Cane cocktail
The Candy Cane cocktail is a fabulous holiday dessert drink. Of course, you don’t have to save it for dessert – it’s just deliciously sweet enough that you could.
With a name like Candy Cane, you might expect this cocktail to be peppermint flavored, and it certainly does have that element. But there’s so much more: berry vodka and white creme de cacao round out the peppermint schnapps so you have a delicious combination that’s almost hard to pin down. Chocolate, berry and mint – how good can it get?


  • 3/4 ounce SKYY Berry vodka
  • 3/4 ounce peppermint schnapps
  • 3/4 ounce white creme de cacao
  • 1/4 ounce grenadine
  • Half ‘n’ half
  • Crushed hard peppermint candy.
Mix the vodka, peppermint Schnapps, grenadine and creme de cacao with ice in a cocktail shaker. Be sure to shake it up thoroughly. Rim a cocktail glass with crushed hard peppermint candy and pour the shaken mixture into the glass. Top it off with half ‘n’ half.

Kerry MisMis *hic

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