The Christmas season is a time for feasting. Turkey dinners with roasted spuds, Cayman Christmas beef, minced pies as an afternoon treat, delectable passed appies at drinks events, and of course the drinks themselves.
Here are six thirst-quenching recipes for delightful Christmas cocktails, sure to wow your guests at your next holiday event.
The U.S. may have eggnog, and Cayman prefers spiced sorrel, but the U.K. also has its own offering for Christmas drinks in the form of mulled wine.
Simple to make, this recipe comes from Mary Berry – most recently of “Great British Bake Off” fame – as featured in her BBC installments of Mary Berry’s Absolute Christmas Favourites recipes.
- 1 large orange
- 3 lemons
- 12 cloves
- 2 satsumas or clementines
- 2 x 750ml bottles red wine
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 150g/5½ ounces caster sugar (optional)
- Brandy, to taste (optional)
- Carefully peel the zest very thinly from the orange and lemons using a vegetable peeler. Squeeze out the juice and set aside.
- Stick the cloves into the satsumas.
- Pour the wine, 1.2 liters/2 pints of cold water, and the citrus peel and juices into a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the clove-studded satsumas and cinnamon sticks. Bring the mixture just to the boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, cover the pan with the lid, and continue to simmer for about 1 hour. Stir in the sugar gradually during cooking, until the mulled wine is sweetened to your liking.
- Strain the mulled wine and serve hot in cups.
Candy Cane Cocktail
After 10 of them, many may be tired of sucking on candy canes. But what if you could have them in liquid form? This easy recipe from Charles Corpion from The Four Seasons, via “The Martha Stewart Show,” delivers quite the sugar rush.
- 2 ounces strawberry vodka
- 4 dashes white creme de menthe
- 2½ ounces cranberry juice
- 1 candy cane, crushed, for garnish
- Ice cubes
- Place crushed candy canes on a small plate or saucer. Wet the outside rim of a chilled martini glass with water. Holding the glass by the stem, rotate the rim to coat with candy.
- In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, creme de menthe, cranberry juice, and ice. Shake until well combined. Strain into prepared glass and serve immediately.
Jamie Oliver calls this recipe, by Giuseppe Gallo, “A wickedly creamy brandy cocktail.” Original Alexanders were gin-based, but brandy versions now prove more popular, and this Christmas version takes the cake.
- 1½ ounces cognac
- 1 ounce crème de cacao white
- ½ ounce almond milk
- ½ ounce double cream
- 1 star anise
- 1 teaspoon peeled pistachios
- Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, then strain into a stemmed cocktail glass.
- Grate over a pistachio, then garnish with the whole nuts and star anise.
Make it a Mocktail
Christmas doesn’t always have to be boozy; in fact, it might be refreshing to wake up on Christmas morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. For times when alcohol is not called for, here are some delicious non-alcoholic options.
Peppermint hot chocolate
BBC’s “Good Food” is always a great source of food and drink recipes, and it doesn’t disappoint with this hot chocolate recipe, perfect for enjoying while the Christmas breezes are around.
- 200g bar plain chocolate, broken into chunks
- 20 ounces milk
- 5 ounce pot single or double cream
- Sugar, to taste
- Six peppermint candy canes, to serve
- Put the chocolate in a pan with the milk. Gently heat, stirring until all the chocolate has melted. Continue heating until the milk is steaming, then remove from the heat and stir in the cream.
- Divide the hot chocolate between six mugs, add sugar to taste and hang a candy cane on the edge of each.
- Pass the mugs round and let everyone stir their hot chocolate with their candy cane – letting as much of the sweet peppermint dissolve as they fancy.
Cranberry Pomegranate Bellinis with Lime
Perfect for Christmas or ringing in the new year, fivehearthome.com offers this fizzy concoction, with seltzer as a non-alcoholic replacement.
- For the simple syrup:
- ½ cup unsweetened 100 percent cranberry juice
- ½ cup unsweetened 100 percent pomegranate juice
- 1 cup sugar
For each bellini:
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 3-4 ounces Prosecco/champagne or seltzer
- Squeeze of fresh lime juice
- Whole cranberries and slices of lime for garnish, optional
To make simple syrup:
- In a small pot, stir together fruit juices and sugar. If the cranberry and/or pomegranate juice is already sweetened, reduce the amount of sugar in the simple syrup to ½ cup.
- Set pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
- Turn to low and simmer for five minutes, stirring until sugar completely dissolves.
- Pour syrup in a jar and cool completely. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
To make a bellini:
- Pour 1 ounce of cranberry-pomegranate simple syrup into a champagne flute.
- Top with 3-4 ounces of Prosecco or seltzer.
- Squeeze a wedge of lime into the bellini.
- For a garnish, use a toothpick to skewer a whole cranberry and half slice of lime, if desired.
Ginger Cinnamon Apple Cider Mocktail
Rachel of Rachelcooks.com knows a thing or two about being tee-total over the holidays. Her excellent blog provides this yummy recipe for an apple cider mocktail, perfect for any party in the run up to Christmas.
- Ginger-Cinnamon Simple Syrup (make extra):
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- About 1-2 inches of ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
For one Fake-tini:
- 2 tablespoons of Ginger-Cinnamon Simple Syrup
- 1 cup apple cider
- Ice for mixing
- Cinnamon sugar for rimming the glass
- Apple slice or cinnamon stick to garnish (optional)
For the syrup:
- Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Heat until sugar is dissolved.
- Let cool completely and strain to remove ginger and cinnamon.
For the Fake-tini:
Prepare martini glass by wetting the rim with apple cider and then dipping in cinnamon-sugar.
- Add ice to martini shaker. Pour in cider and simple syrup.
- Shake and pour into prepared glass.
- Garnish with apple slice or cinnamon stick.