A cocktail party with festive drinks

Five easy Christmas cocktail recipes to try this year

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There’s more to Christmas drinking than eggnog and mulled wine. We take a look at five of the best festive drinks out there.

‘Tis the season to be merry! And there’s no better way of getting merry than making some special cocktails for your loved ones. We’ve put together a list of five of the best (and simplest) drinks to throw together to make your festive season one to remember – or not, if you happen to have one too many…

Two Christmas cocktails - one served with a red ribbon.
Festive cocktails. © Kris Sevinc

1. Snowball cocktail recipe

This British classic was very popular in the 1970s and will add a retro-chic element to your Christmas gathering. Advocaat can be divisive but is leavened and freshened up here with lemonade and lime juice. You still get the creamy richness of the liqueur, but the drink is surprisingly light on the palate. It’s also dead easy to make, so is great for bigger groups as you can knock them out quickly.


100ml lemonade

25ml lime juice

60ml advocaat liqueur


Pour the lemonade and lime juice into an ice-filled collins glass before slowly pouring the advocaat on top. Stir lightly to integrate the ingredients without undermining the lemonade’s carbonation. Garnish with a lime wedge.

2. Gingerbread martini festive cocktail recipe

The almond and gingerbread flavours take an otherwise dry martini firmly into Christmassy territory. It’s sweet, spicy and very moreish, but packs a fair old punch, so go easy. Amaretto can be a bit of an intense flavour for some people, so feel free to use a little less than suggested in the recipe — try halving the amount. Finally, gingerbread syrup is more widely available than you might think.


60ml vodka

30ml dry vermouth

8ml amaretto

8ml gingerbread syrup


Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass. Serve with a gingerbread cookie.

Making a Gingerbread martini cocktail.
Gingerbread martini. © Ben Yang

3. The reindeer Christmas cocktail recipe

Don’t be intimidated by the spiced sugar syrup: add spices and equal parts sugar and water to a saucepan, simmer over a low heat until dissolved, then cool and strain into a small jug — job done. The spices are an integral part of the drink, which, along with the ginger, lends a festive warmth to a drink that’s rich with complex, subtle flavours.


20ml vodka

8ml sugar syrup infused with cinnamon, vanilla and cloves

3ml lemon juice

Two slices of fresh ginger

Top up with champagne


Muddle the ginger in the base of a shaker. Add all the ingredients apart from the champagne, shake with ice and fine strain into a flute glass. Top up with champagne and garnish with a sprig of holly and a maraschino cherry.

4. Fish house punch cocktail recipe

One of the most famous punch recipes of all time, the fish house punch is said to have been first served in 1848 at the State in Schuylkill, a fishing club in Philadelphia known as the ‘Fish House’. It was created to celebrate women being allowed into the club for the first time for the annual Christmas bash. It even comes with its own (rather pejorative) poem:

There’s a little place just out of town

Where, if you go to lunch

They’ll make you forget your mother-in-law

With a drink called fish house punch


30ml cognac

30ml light rum

20ml peach liqueur

30ml cold black tea

15ml lemon juice

10ml sugar syrup


Shake all the ingredients with ice and fine strain into an ice-filled collins glass — it’s that simple.

5. Winter sidecar cocktail recipe

The classic sidecar cocktail gets a festive twist with the simple addition of clementine juice and cinnamon. Making the cinnamon sugar rim is quick and easy: moisten the outside rim of the glass with some clementine juice, sprinkle together some sugar and cinnamon on a dinner plate, flip the glass upside down and dip it into the mixture. You can use a damp cloth to neaten the rim if you want, then you’re good to go.


50ml cognac

30ml dry vermouth

15ml clementine juice


Shake all the ingredients with ice and fine strain into a martini (or stemmed) glass with a cinnamon sugar rim.

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