Cocktails to Warm Up the Holidays

Cary, NC — Every Christmas gathering since the year my sister and I both ranked in the “above 21 club,” we have enjoyed putting together creative and festive cocktails for the family to enjoy as we unwrap our gifts.

Over the years, we’ve found a few favorites including a bright red favorite of Crown Apple whiskey and cranberry juice (rosemary is always a nice touch for an added bit of greenery) or a classic mulled wine or cider in the crockpot that can stay warm all night long for the inevitable refills.

This year, perhaps because I have recently acquired a mixology set, I’m thinking it’s time to up the game with a new recipe. Here’s a few new ones I’m adding to my family’s 2021 menu, all (of course) titled with my take on a holiday pun.

The best part? No instructions are needed — just throw all ingredients into a jar or cocktail shaker and give it a few shakes to combine and get everything nice and chilled.

The Santa Clausmopolitan

Makes 2 drinks | Served in a martini glass


  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces Triple Sec (Cointreau can be used instead if preferred)
  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 cup of ice
  • Orange slice, lime & rosemary make for great garnishes if desired

Red-Nosed Rum Punch

Makes 1 drink | Served in a lowball glass

The key to success with this one is to already have the ginger ale poured into the glass before shaking the remaining ingredients. Let’s just say I recently learned why carbonated ingredients do not belong in an enclosed shaker.


  • 1 tablespoon Maraschino Cherry Juice
  • 1 ounce Ginger Ale
  • 1.5 ounces Kraken Black Spiced Rum or your favorite rum
  • 3 ounces Pink Lemonade
  • Ice Cubes

No Sleep Til Christmas Martini

Makes 2 | Served in a martini glass

To break up the red and fairly sweet theme going thus far, I’ll also plan to offer a more luscious, dessert and caffeine-driven cocktail consisting of eggnog, espresso (or cold brew!) and a dash of rum. A toss-up alternative name for this one is “Gettin’ Blitzen.”

Side note: this one can easily be dairy-free by switching for a vegan eggnog.


  • 2 ounces dark spiced rum (or bourbon or vodka)
  • 2 ounces Kahlua
  • 2 ounces espresso or cold brew
  • 6–8 ounces eggnog, depending on the size of your cocktail glass
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of cinnamon or nutmeg

Have Any Holiday Drink Recipes in Your Family?

I’d love to see some shared in the comments!

Story by Ashley Kairis. Recipes and images courtesy of Nyssas Kitchen, Lisa and Alex from It’s Not Complicated.

This article was originally published on FoodCary, a site that has been serving up Cary’s food scene since 2014. You can subscribe to FoodCary for free, by email.

2 replies
  1. Kara
    Kara says:

    Thanks for sharing these holiday cocktail recipes! Looking forward to trying them plus I love the clever names. I like making a Holiday Moscow Mule with cranberry juice and Cranberry Margaritas 🙂

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