8 Festive Drinks to Have at Holiday Dinner

8 Festive Drinks to Have at Holiday Dinner


The holidays are almost here, which means that holiday-themed food and drinks can’t be far off. Among the most famous of our holiday delicacies is eggnog.

Eggnog dates back to Medieval Europe, where it started as a type of posset. A posset is a drink of wine mixed with curdled milk. Eggs and spices were soon added to it to make egg nog.

Today, our methods of making eggnog are safer and much more savory, and we’ve added plenty of other festive drinks to our holiday celebrations.

Unfortunately, most of these other drinks don’t get the attention they deserve, so we’ll be discussing some of them in this article.

1. Spiked Eggnog

Even though we’ve already discussed eggnog a bit, spiked eggnog had to be on this list. It’s become such a holiday staple that people have come up with seemingly infinite ways to make it.

One cocktail pairs Wild Turkey bourbon and orange juice with eggnog. Another pairs homemade eggnog with brandy and spiced rum, and still another cocktail pairs St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram with cognac, syrup, homemade eggnog, and nutmeg.

If you’re looking for food to pair these eggnog recipes with, steaks are your best bet. Steak goes well with most kinds of whiskey, which bourbon and St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram both are. Bourbon isn’t often referred to as whiskey, but it is technically a very specialized type of whiskey.

For the other, more fruit-based drinks, seafood might be best.

festive drinks

2. Wassail Spiked Apple Cider

Wassail and apple cider are technically two different drinks, but they’re very similar. Wassail is a European drink that was originally made to celebrate the apple harvest. Fittingly, this cocktail starts with a base of apple cider. Then, add cloves and whole baked apples.

Two cups of orange juice and a cup of lemon juice are often added, and a bit of brandy completes it all.

Might we suggest E&J VSOP premium brandy? VSOP is short for Very Superior Old Pale. This means that they age the brandy at least four years before selling it.

Like most wines and other fruit-based liquors, this cocktail goes well with seafood, chocolate, mushrooms, and meats.

festive drinks

3. Mulled Wine

Mulled wine is another popular recipe this time of year. Mulled wine dates back to the Roman Empire during the first century CE.

Given its long history, it should come as no surprise that there are multiple different recipes for mulled wine. The Roman version was originally made with red wine and dates.

These days, the two main ingredients are apple cider and wine. Other ingredients commonly placed in mulled wine include orange peels, sugar, star anise, cloves, and honey.

Much like wassail, mulled wine pairs best with chocolates or seafood.

festive drinks

4. Espresso Martini

If you’ve ever been curious about what happens when you mix coffee with booze, the espresso martini is for you. To make this cocktail, mix simple syrup with coffee liquor such as Kahlua, espresso, and vodka. When it comes to vodka, two of the biggest names are Smirnoff and Grey Goose.

Probably the youngest drink on this list, the espresso martini was invented in the early 1980s in New York City. This cocktail isn’t specific to one season or holiday, but it somehow caught on as a holiday treat all the same.

Vodka is the main source of alcohol in a martini Vodka pairs with ham, pickles, pierogi, and German or Polish sausages.

festive drinks

5. Cranberry Mimosa

This holiday favorite mixes cranberry juice with sparkling wine or champagne. Because this cocktail doesn’t use hard liquor, it makes for a light refreshment. 

Feel free to add a few garnishes or decorations to spice up your next holiday party. Dishes you might want to eat with a mimosa include oysters, steak, and fried chicken.

festive drinks

6. Candy Cane Cocktail/Winter Wonderland

The next entry on our list of Christmas cocktails is the candy cane cocktail or the winter wonderland cocktail. Like many entries on our list, this cocktail has a few different names.

Begin by mixing Godiva white chocolate liqueur with peppermint schnapps.  You can take the recipe a little further by adding vanilla rum and a candy cane for decoration.

This drink pairs well with banana cream pie, chili, or lemon garlic butter shrimp.

festive drinks

7. Manhattan

Sometimes, you really can’t beat the classics, and the Manhattan is nothing if not a classic. This barroom staple dates back to the 1890s and features 2 parts bourbon and one part vermouth and bitters. A single cherry is then added as a finishing touch.

Jim Beam is a favorite for bourbon, and Martini and Rossi are known for their vermouth.

Much like a cranberry mimosa, a Manhattan will complement fried chicken and steak perfectly.

8. Hot Buttered Rum

Buttered rum is great if you want a drink with more of a history. This drink began its life in Colonial times when molasses first reached the colonies from Jamaica. This new syrup-like substance made it possible to brew rum, which would fuel colonists, sailors, and pirates for many years to come.

This cocktail starts with two parts apple cider to one part rum. Then, you add butter, brown sugar, vanilla ice cream, and ground cinnamon. While Bacardi and Captain Morgan are the biggest names in rum, The Kraken is another brand that deserves recognition.

The Kraken comes from Trinidad and Tobago and comes standard as 94-proof, though variations exist. To determine the proof of a drink double the alcohol percentage in the drink. A 94-proof drink is therefore 47% alcohol. 

To put that in perspective, hard liquor such as vodka comes standard at 80- proof, and whiskey ranges from 80 to 100-proof.

The Best Festive Drinks to Light Up the Holidays

The holidays are a wonderful time of year when so many beloved holidays are being celebrated. Naturally, a vibrant holiday tradition has led to the creation of countless festive cocktails to celebrate those holidays with.

We’ve discussed some of our favorite holiday cocktails and foods to pair them with in this article, but there’s a lot more to know about cocktails. We can tell you more about them on our site.  If you want to know more about us, we invite you to read our story.

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