3 Traditional Holiday Drink Recipes

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, it’s time to start prepping for our winter holiday celebrations! Whether you’re heading to a party, or hosting one yourself, spice up the evening with a fun cocktail concoction or two. Here are some traditionally festive ideas to try:


EGGNOG: Eggnog may be the most fun choice among your options. This recipe makes around 10 ounces – enough for one massive serving or two reasonable ones; use whatever glasses you feel like. The spirit can be up to you as well: bourbon, dark rum, and cheap French brandy all work well.

  • 2 ounces (maximum) of your booze of choice
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar (aka icing or confectioner’s sugar)
  • 4 ounces light half-and-half (5% cream)
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Combine the booze, eggs, powdered sugar, and cream in a cocktail shaker without ice and shake vigorously until your arms tire (this counts as a workout, right?) and the egg has broken down into a smooth froth. This will take at least one minute, but go longer if you can. Add ice and shake until the mixture is cold. Strain into one or two glasses. Before serving, toss a second pinch of nutmeg across the top, if desired.


  • Orange slices
  • Whole cloves
  • 1 ½ ounces dark Jamaican rum
  • ¼ ounce amaretto
  • ¼ ounce Grand Marnier
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cherry brandy (optional)
  • Hot black tea
  • ¼ teaspoon unsalted butter

Stud the orange slices with the cloves, by jamming the sharp side of the spice into the fruit rind. To a large heatproof mug, add the rum, amaretto, Grand Marnier, lemon juice, cherry brandy, and 1 whole clove. Top with the hot black tea and stir. Add the butter. Drop the studded orange slices into the drink.


  • Small piece of cheesecloth or a large tea strainer ball
  • Peel of ½ orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Any combination of the following spices and flavorings:
    • chopped fresh ginger
    • freshly grated nutmeg
    • crushed cloves
    • vanilla pods
    • currants
    • honey
    • apples
    • peppercorns
  • 1 bottle light red wine
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 ounces brandy

Place the spices and orange peel in the center of the cheesecloth and tie with a string (or place in the strainer ball if you have one large enough!). Add this makeshift bag of spices to a nonreactive pan with the red wine and brown sugar. Yes, that’s a lot of sugar, but copious sweetening is the secret to a successful hot drink, plus – it’s the holidays! Heat slowly and stir. When it’s steaming but not yet boiling, add brandy, stir again, and serve with lemon wedges.

~Post by Keely Platte

9780143111269Recipes excerpted and adapted from Drinks: A User’s Guide by Adam McDowell