Essential Christmas Drinks, Made Even Better With Booze
Make the season a little merrier with eggnog, mulled cider, hot chocolate, and other top-rated holiday drinks. These festive favorites are even tastier with a touch of booze. So once you've served the kids the non-alcoholic versions, add a little Christmas cheer to your own. We've included suggestions for which spirits make the best additions.
It's a rich, indulgent favorite, and Christmas wouldn't be the same without it.
Which Spirits Mix Best with Eggnog: Rum is a classic match, but bourbon and brandy stake their claim, too. Feeling bold? Add a touch of all three.
"It's taken me several years to perfect this recipe," says NATALIESMOM. "Now everyone asks, 'When are you making the eggnog?' This uses cooked eggs for safety, and you can use more or less rum to taste. It's a bit of work to make, but well worth it. You'll never buy store-bought eggnog again! Enjoy!"
"Good old-fashioned eggnog flavored with vanilla and rum extract," says MRSMAYNARD. "Be sure to make extra!"
It's the next best thing to Christmas on a tropical island when cream of coconut combines with spices and white rum. "This a traditional Puerto Rican eggnog," says GISELLE73. "I am Crucian-Puerto Rican (from St. Croix, VI) and we enjoy this made with our own Cruzan Rum. So, kick up your feet and enjoy!"
A Note about Raw Eggs: Some eggnog recipes contain raw eggs. For safety's sake, use pasteurized eggs or heat the eggnog mixture to pasteurize them yourself. Eggs need to reach a temperature of 160 degrees F (71 degrees C). Here's how to do it:
- Beat the eggs in a saucepan with the sugar and milk or cream called for in your recipe. Sugar has an insulating effect, and will help prevent the eggs from coagulating in the heat.
- Stir the mixture constantly over low heat until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
- Use an instant-read thermometer. When the mixture reaches the correct temperature, immediately place the pan in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking.
Check out our collection of Eggnog Recipes.
A classic winter warmer, hot chocolate goes to cozy extremes when you mix in the spirits.
Which Booze Mixes Best with Hot Chocolate: There are just so many ways to go with hot chocolate. The short answer is rum, bourbon, brandy, and tequila. Chocolate is a New World original, so maybe it's not unusual that hot chocolate would pair so well with tequila and mezcal..try it with chiles and a dash of cinnamon. Or go Irish, with a touch of Bailey's...and maybe a drop or two of Irish Whiskey. Liqueurs also work wonders with hot chocolate: try Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Frangelico, and peppermint schnapps.
Heat milk with semisweet chocolate and crushed candy canes, garnishing each mug with whipped cream and a small candy cane. "The rich flavor of chocolate combines so well with peppermint," says Verushka. "This is the perfect drink to sip while trimming the tree."
"Hot chocolate could warm you up on a cold day, but what about those unmercifully cold sub-zero days? This recipe uses a combination of spices and creamy chocolate to create a smooth drink with a lingering warmth," says Mike. "Garnish with a candy cane or cinnamon stick if desired."
A rich hot chocolate spiced up with a pinch of chili powder. "This is an easy way to spice up regular hot chocolate mix," says Sheldyn. "Add more or less of each ingredient, depending on taste. Serve with marshmallows or whipped cream and enjoy."
Explore out collection of Hot Chocolate Recipes.
Gingerbread lattes, peppermint mochas, chocolate lattes -- spice up your cup of joe this season.
Which Spirits Combine Best with Coffee Drinks: Bailey's (with or without Irish whiskey), Kahlua, and peppermint schnapps are classic companions with coffee. Amaretto, Frangelico, and Grand Marnier are other magical additions. Or try combining Tia Maria and rum.
Stir a little molasses and some spices into hot coffee and top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cloves. "This drink was inspired by a gingerbread latte I had at a local coffee shop," says Jennifer.
"Sometimes coffee is a dessert in itself," says bjergins. "This is one of my favorite morning treats to make a Monday seem less intimidating. You'll need a battery-powered milk frother or it's just not the same."
"This makes one VERY large, indulgent latte, and could probably serve two," says Hugatunity. "Enjoy!"
Check out our collection of Latte Recipes.
Nothing alerts the nose to the holidays quite like the aroma of hot spiced cider.
Which Spirits Mix Best with Mulled Cider: You can't go wrong adding a little dark rum to the mix. Bourbon would also pair nicely with a spiced apple drink. Or add a splash of vodka for boozy benefits without altering the flavor profile.
"Nothing beats a mug of hot cider on a cold winter day," says Stella. "This recipe is great as it calls for fresh apple cider and pure maple syrup. Start with only 6 strips each of the orange and lemon peel, and adjust to taste."
"Make some memories with the aromas of cinnamon, clove and lemon, mingled with hot apple cranberry cider," says Michele O'Sullivan. "If desired, float a fresh lemon slice in each cup."
"This recipe uses an automatic coffee maker to brew the cider," says Sara. "If you don't own one, heat it in a slow cooker or a saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop. Grab your mugs and dive into this hot drink!"
Check out our collection of Cider Recipes.
When the mood calls for simple sophistication, you can't beat champagne cocktails.
Enjoy these festive champagne and orange juice classics in glasses rimmed with orange liqueur and sugar. "A real treat for the holidays," says SILVREZS. "My family enjoys these on Christmas morning."
This classic drink dates back to the Civil War era and makes even a less expensive bottle of Champagne taste great with the addition of Angostura bitters and a sugar cube. "Easy," says Cindy D. "Subtle bitters taste balanced by the extra sugar."
A splash of cranberry juice added to champagne creates a festive holiday cocktail. "This is a nice holiday cocktail," says Kathy Roy Larsen. "We always serve this at our Christmas Eve open house. It has such a nice taste!!"
Take a look at our collection of Champagne Cocktail Recipes.
Wassail and Punch
Traditionally made with ale, wassail is also a friendly place for fruit juices and rum. It'll cure what wassail's ya.
Which Booze Pairs Best with Christmas Punch: Many of these recipes call out the spirit of choice, but play around; punch is the perfect playground for booze. Rum, brandy, bourbon, vodka, they can all work Christmas miracles.
Hot apple cider is sweetened with pineapple juice and honey and spiced with clove-studded oranges, cinnamon, and nutmeg. "The aroma of this punch tells you that fall is in the air," says Michele O'Sullivan. "Make a batch, and your home will have a fragrance that will alert anyone's sense of smell."
"Made famous by that caroling song," says Mathilda. "A drink that will warm you from head to toe."
"This recipe is great to have with or after Christmas dinner," says Audrey Wariner. "It's one of our Christmas traditions."
Check out our Complete Collection of Christmas Drink Recipes