12 Unexpected Christmas Cocktails

close up of cocktail being poured into martini glass
Barman is making cocktail

No hot chocolate, mulled wine, or hot buttered rum here. We scoured the internet to bring you a fun round up of some truly unexpected Christmas cocktails.  Serve one of these at your next party and your guests will be raving (and likely asking for the recipe). From classic cocktails with a holiday twist to completely new and festive combinations. These are all treats for your taste buds. 

Drinks for a couple, a crowd, or a gaggle-we’ve got you covered. It’s time to really mix-it-up this holiday season (pun intended!)

Mistletoe Margaritas

I adore a good margarita. It’s one of my go-to favorites, so a Christmas version is a must try for me. This one is delicious and gorgeous- those red cranberries come on! Bonus- make it your way with red or white cranberry juice. Fellow margarita lovers, this one’s for you! Recipe and image courtesy of Home Sweet Eats

Eggnog Martini 

While Eggnog may be traditional, an Eggnog Martini is a bit unexpected. This one is quick and easy to make as well with only three ingredients; vanilla vodka, eggnog, and amaretto liquor. Recipe and image courtesy of The Spruce Eats

Spicy Pomegranate Moscow Mule

Raise your hand if you like Ginger Beer. Me! This drink has it all with 3 kinds of fruit juice, vodka, jalapeno slices and Ginger Beer. Bonus- the author gives the recipe in single serving or pitcher! This removes the guesswork for a party, but also inspires me to mix one up just for me after a long day of Christmas prep. Image and recipe courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

Very Cherry Christmas Drink

Chocolate covered cherries in a glass! This drink is rich chocolatey heaven. Plus the red cherries against the white drink bring the Christmas wow factor. Bonus- you can mix up a batch to chill in the refrigerator before a party for quick easy serving. Bailey’s fans, this one’s for you! Recipe and image courtesy of Mix that Drink

Reindeer Tracks Martini

This one could be a dessert all on its own. Made with Frangelico, chocolate vodka, and white creme de cacao, it’s rich, creamy and oh so smooth. Bonus-it has a cookie crumble garnish! The author recommends serving with salty or savory appetizers or nibbles. Recipe and image courtesy of Mix that Drink

Black Christmas Bottled Cocktail 

If you want to serve the most unexpected looking cocktail this holiday, this is it. From the dark black color and minimal garnishment this drink is anything but traditional Christmas. The author calls it the, “…brooding, moody sister to your classic Manhattan, except in a holiday sweater.”  Bonus- you make it in a bottle so it’s ready for a group or will keep in the fridge if you’re pouring for one! Image and recipe courtesy of Stir & Strain. 

Peppermint Bark Mimosas

Could this drink look any more festive? It practically screams Christmas in a glass and I love it! Bonus- you can prep the peppermint bark and candy canes in glasses before your guests arrive and let them double as decor. Adding the Peppermint Schnapps and Champagne is quick and easy so you won’t be slaving away making drinks all night instead of enjoying the party. Recipe and image courtesy of Delish

Cherry Whiskey Sour

This drink looks perfectly Christmassy with its bright red color and snowy whipped topping. The bourbon is smooth and the cherry and lime juice are tart- an unexpected winning combination.  Bonus- you can make the whipped topping in advance and it’s easy to add as needed during a party! Image and recipe courtesy of DIY Candy

Marshmallow Shooters

These are adorable and the perfect size for sipping since they are a bit rich. The perfect post holiday meal drink for a couple or a crowd. Recipe and image courtesy of Mix that Drink

White Christmas Dream

Another wintery snowy cocktail to get you in the festive spirit. This one combines vodka, amaretto and heavy cream. Sure to bring all the warm and cozy vibes. Bonus- the minimal ingredients and limited prep make this one as easy as one, two, three. Recipe and image courtesy of The Spruce Eats


Apple Cider Sangria

Cider may traditionally invoke thoughts of fall, but the addition of cinnamon here brings it right into winter. Perfect for the holidays and easy to make several servings at one time.  Bonus- you can use traditional or sparkling cider. Recipe and image courtesy of A Couple Cooks

Driven Snow Cocktail 

Chocolate Liquor, Ginger Liqueur and Rum garnished with peppermint-yes please! This looks heavenly and is definitely not on my traditional holiday drink menu. I love the suggestion of serving with gingerbread cookies. Image and recipe courtesy of Country Living

Bonus Cocktail

Chocolate Covered Spiked Cherries

Not a cocktail, but definitely worth inclusion here.  What a fun and completely unexpected option for a post-holiday meal treat.  Who needs an after dinner drink when you have these? No one, the answer will be no one. Rich and satisfying plus completely customizable with your choice of liquor and chocolate. Image and recipe courtesy of Inspired by Charm.

Cheers to the holidays! 

Please drink responsibly and remember to never drink and drive. Arrive alive and stay safe this holiday season. 

Christmas Cocktail FAQs

What alcohol is usually paired with Eggnog?

Eggnog is generally paired with brandy. However, there are versions with rum, bourbon,cognac or even irish whiskey.

What are traditional Christmas cocktails

  • Eggnog
  • Hot Buttered Rum
  • Mulled Wine/Wassail
  • Spiked Hot Chocolate
  • Christmas punch
  • Almost any drink with peppermint
  • Mimosa
  • Hot Toddy

Is Eggnog served warm?

Eggnog can be served either warm or cold. It all depends on your preference and what alcohol you are using as a mixer.

How many cocktail options should I offer at my holiday party?

A good rule of thumb is two. One with a clear liquor like vodka, gin, white wine, gin etc. And one with a darker liquor such as rum, whiskey, brandy, red wine etc.

Pro-tip make sure one option is self-serve or make ahead so you can enjoy the party and not spend your entire evening behind the bar. Don’t forget non-alcoholic beverage options too!

How do you mix a good drink?

  • Make sure you have the right equipment, especially a good jigger and shaker.
  • Have fresh ingredients on hand. This includes fruit juices and garnishes.
  • Use quality liquor.
  • Keep sparkles on hand i.e. club soda, sparkling water, and sparkling wine.
  • Use lots of ice.
  • Chill glasses as appropriate for specific drinks.
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