Christmas when you’re little is all about waking up and rushing to the Christmas tree to open presents. Now we’re not saying we don’t love presents still (we do), but sometimes you want to enjoy the holiday with a drink. Which is why we’ve found our favourite holiday cocktails for the ultimate (slightly boozy) Christmas.
We couldn’t even start this list without including a Christmas staple. For this recipe you’ll want:
- 3 cups of full cream milk (skim or light will work, the eggnog just won’t be as thick and creamy)
- 1 cup of double cream
- 5 eggs
- 2/3 of a cup of sugar
- bourbon or rum
- vanilla, about 1 bean pod, or around 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
- cinnamon, about 3 sticks or around 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- nutmeg, about 1 teaspoon plus extra for garnishing
The exact amounts of vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg you use can be adjusted according to taste. The same goes for the alcohol you choose. Either bourbon or rum will work (or neither for a non-alcoholic version). The amount of alcohol you use it totally up to you. Do you like your drinks strong, or with just a little kick?
Once you’ve collected your ingredients, combine the milk, cream, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a pan over medium heat. Keep stirring the mixture to ensure the bottom doesn’t burn or overcook.
Separate your egg yolks and whites and set the whites aside for the time being. Then, combine the yolks and the sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer (you can mix by hand but you may get tired) until thick ribbons form when the mixer is removed. Slowly whisk in the milk mixture and add bourbon or rum. Refrigerate for up to three days.
Before serving, beat the egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Gently fold into your eggnog mixture (which can be reheated on the stove or left cool), garnish with ground nutmeg, and serve up a holiday favourite. (Makes about 8 servings.)
Another holiday staple, mulled wine just smells like Christmas. For this recipe you’ll want:
- 100g castor sugar
- 3 cloves
- cinnamon, around 1/2 a teaspoon (can be adjusted according to taste)
- the rind of 1 orange
- 1 roughly chopped apple (skin on)
- a 750ml bottle of a fruity red wine (Merlot or Pinot Noir work well)
This recipe is relatively easy. You can adjust it to include your favourite fruits or spices. Jamie Oliver loves clementines in his mulled wine, for example. You can also include lemons, more oranges, whatever you like really.
The simplest way to bring this drink together is to add everything to a large pot on a low heat, and stir it constantly, ensuring the sugar completely dissolves. Don’t let the mixture boil (the best way to keep an eye on it is to taste it a bit as you go). Serve hot/warm, garnished with some grated nutmeg.
Because we’re in Australia, we know that sometimes a glass of warm wine isn’t the best drink in the middle of summer. For a cooler variant on mulled wine, we love Christmas Sangria. For this you’ll need:
- 4 apples (can be any type of apple, choose your favourite), chopped
- 250g fresh cherries, pitted (can be chopped to make removing the pit easier)
- 300g fresh strawberries
- 1 orange (rind and juice)
- 300g cranberries
- a 750ml bottle of wine (a red or a rosé is perfect)
- lemonade, soda water, ginger ale, or another soda
- 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon (to taste)
- ice cubes
- OPTIONAL orange liqueur such as Cointreau
- OPTIONAL vodka
If you choose to include the orange liqueur, you’ll get a much stronger orange kick and may want use less juice and rind from your orange. If you choose to include vodka, soak it in the chopped apples overnight before starting the cocktail. You can choose from that point to use the vodka-infused apples in your drink, the apple-infused vodka (add more un-infused apple slices), or include it all. Much like the previous recipes, this one can be adjusted plenty. You can use pears instead of (or as well as) apples, you can add pomegranate, try ground ginger, not use cinnamon at all, or any other variance you like.
To make this drink, combine all the ingredients except the soda and ice cubes and stir. Let it sit for a few hours in the fridge. Just before serving, add the soda of your choosing as well as the ice, and voilà!
High Seas Iced Tea
As a lover of tea, I am always interested in a cocktail with tea in it. Combining tea with things (such as book genres — read about that here) is always fun. So the High Seas Iced Tea (also known as the Pirate’s Tea or a Tea & Stormy) is definitely appealing, and perfect for a relaxed summer afternoon after opening presents. It’s a classic Dark & Stormy (rum and ginger beer) combined with tea! It might not seem Christmassy at first, but the end product would tempt even Santa. For this drink you’ll want to gather:
- 3 cups of cold black tea
- 1 cup of rum (white, dark, even spiced if you’re adventurous)
- 3 cups of ginger beer
- 1 cup of pineapple juice
- 1/2 a cup of fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 a cup of cranberries
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1 lime
- ice cubes
Once your tea is brewed and cooled (you can adjust this recipe with different types of tea to suit your preferences or to just experiment), combine it with the pirate-y rum and the juice and leave to cool in the fridge. Just before serving, add all the other ingredients. This is another great recipe that you can adjust to suit your tastes — some extra lemon, or lime instead; soda water instead of ginger beer; berries too — whatever you like!
The cran-lime slide is one of the easiest cocktails for the holiday season. All you need for this drink is:
- 1 cup of cranberry juice
- 3 limes
- 55g castor sugar
- a 750ml bottle of sparkling rosé, chilled
First, juice and grate the rind off two of the limes, while slicing the other to form round slices (not wedges). Combine the lime juice and rind with the cranberry juice and sugar in a jug and stir until combined. Pour the mixture into your glasses (anything from basic tumblers to champagne flutes) and top up with rosé (the ratio is up to you). Finish off with the lime slices along the rim of the glasses. Now you’ve got the perfect red and green Christmas drink in no time at all!
White Christmas Mojito
A white Christmas may be a foreign idea to some parts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a stylish drink! For this you’ll want:
- one lime, juiced
- eight mint leaves (extras for garnish)
- one tablespoon of sugar
- half a cup of white rum
- half a cup of coconut rum
- 100ml coconut milk
- sparkling water
- pomegranate seeds
In a glass, combine and stir lime juice, sugar, and mint leaves until the leaves break down, then fill to halfway with ice. In a blender, blitz the rums and coconut milk until frothy. Pour over the ice then top with the sparkling water, a few extra mint leaves, and the pomegranate seeds and you’re done!
Christmassy Hot Milo
There’s just something about sipping a hot chocolate as Christmas Day comes to a close. So for a boozy Australian twist on this classic we’re looking for a hot Milo. For this end-of-day drink you’ll need:
- Crème de Menthe/peppermint schnapps/whiskey
That’s right. This is a super easy recipe with tonnes of room for individuality. We’ve listed three different types of alcohol to suit your needs. Some love that classic, Christmassy minty choc flavour – for which Crème de Menthe or peppermint schnapps are perfect. Others however, love that Irish coffee vibe in their hot chocolate which makes a good whiskey the perfect addition.
Warm the milk (up to 2 cups per person) over the stove in a pot, stirring constantly (or in the microwave in a microwave safe container). Once it’s reached your desired temperature, take it off the heat and add the Milo. Stir until the Milo is dissolved (or as dissolved as Milo ever can be). Add in your chosen booze and serve with a candy cane.
Remember to always drink responsibly and have a very merry Christmas!
All original recipes come from the author, Paige Riddiford.