A Toast to Timeless Traditions: Historic Holiday Cocktail Recipes

Peppermint Martini with candy cane as a holiday cocktail

With the holiday season approaching, it’s the perfect time to raise a glass to tradition with holiday cocktail recipes. This year, we invite you to explore a selection of historic holiday cocktails that have been enjoyed for generations. Each of these classic drinks carries with it the echoes of holidays past and the enduring warmth of time-honored customs. So, let’s delve into these historic holiday cocktails and make a toast to the enduring customs that bring us together each year.

Mulled Cider

Mulled cider is a beloved holiday tradition that has warmed hearts for generations. With its roots dating back to the 17th century, it’s a sip of history that connects us to the warmth of yesteryears. This comforting drink combines apple cider with a blend of aromatic spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the season while paying homage to the age-old tradition/drink named wassail, an ancient practice of caroling, toasting, and blessing orchards that harks back to medieval England.

Mulled Cider Holiday Cocktail Recipe:

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 cup liquor (bourbon, brandy, or dark rum)
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Orange peel strips
  • Heat the cider with the spices in a saucepan, strain into mugs adding liquor, and garnish with an orange peel strip.

Hot Buttered Rum

Hot Buttered Rum is a comforting drink with its origins in colonial America, making it a perfect addition to your holiday cocktail recipes. This warming libation takes us back to the 17th century when it was a favorite among early American settlers and quickly became a cherished tradition. Combining dark rum with a rich batter made from brown sugar, butter, and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, Hot Buttered Rum is like sipping a piece of history, capturing the cozy charm of colonial celebrations.

Hot Buttered Rum Holiday Cocktail Recipe:

  • 2 oz dark rum
  • 1 tbsp hot buttered rum batter (made with brown sugar, butter, and spices)
  • 6 oz Boiling water
  • Combine rum and batter in a mug, then fill with boiling water. Stir until the batter is dissolved.


Eggnog is a creamy and indulgent holiday drink that has been cherished for centuries. This traditional concoction has its origins in 18th-century England, where it was known as “posset,” a warm, spiced ale-based drink. Over time, it evolved into the rich and sweetened milk, egg, and spirits-based beverage we know today. Eggnog is often spiked with rum, brandy, or bourbon, making it the perfect embodiment of holiday cheer.

Eggnog Holiday Cocktail Recipe:

  • 1 oz dark rum, brandy, or bourbon (or a combination)
  • 4 oz Eggnog
  • Ground nutmeg for garnish
  • Combine the spirits and eggnog in a glass, stir gently, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Peppermint Martini

The Peppermint Martini is a contemporary holiday delight that marries the classic taste of peppermint with the modern flair of a martini. It’s the perfect sip for those who seek a bit of sweet indulgence during the holiday season. Rimmed with crushed candies and garnished with a candy cane stick, this cocktail is both a visual treat and a delightful taste of the holidays.

Peppermint Martini Holiday Cocktail Recipe:

  • 2 oz vanilla vodka
  • 1 oz white crème de menthe liqueur
  • 1 oz peppermint schnapps
  • Crushed candy canes for rimming
  • Peppermint candies or a candy cane for garnish


Q: What are some other popular holiday cocktails?

  • Cranberry Mimosas
  • Gingerbread Martinis
  • White Chocolate Peppermint Martinis
  • Hot Toddy

Q: What are some tips with holiday cocktail recipes?

  • Use fresh ingredients whenever possible.
  • Make sure your liquor is cold.
  • Shake your cocktails vigorously.
  • Rim your glasses with sugar or salt for a festive touch.
  • Garnish your cocktails with fresh herbs, fruits, or spices.

Q: What are some tips for hosting a holiday cocktail party?

  • Plan ahead and make a list of ingredients for holiday cocktail recipes.
  • Set up a bar area with all of the necessary supplies.
  • Offer a variety of cocktails to please everyone.
  • Have some non-alcoholic options available.
  • Provide food to snack on.
  • Play some festive music.
  • Enjoy the company of your guests!



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