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Essential Christmas Drinks, Made Even Better With Booze

Make the season a little merrier with eggnog, mulled cider, hot chocolate, and other top-rated holiday drinks. These festive favorites are even tastier with a touch of booze. So once you've served the kids the non-alcoholic versions, add a little Christmas cheer to your own. We've included suggestions for which spirits make the best additions.


It's a rich, indulgent favorite, and Christmas wouldn't be the same without it.


Eggnog | Photo by Meredith

Which Spirits Mix Best with Eggnog: Rum is a classic match, but bourbon and brandy stake their claim, too. Feeling bold? Add a touch of all three.

Coquito (Tropical Eggnog)

It's the next best thing to Christmas on a tropical island when cream of coconut combines with spices and white rum.

A Note about Raw Eggs: Some eggnog recipes contain raw eggs. For safety's sake, use pasteurized eggs or heat the eggnog mixture to pasteurize them yourself. Eggs need to reach a temperature of 160 degrees F (71 degrees C). Here's how to do it:

  • Beat the eggs in a saucepan with the sugar and milk or cream called for in your recipe. Sugar has an insulating effect, and will help prevent the eggs from coagulating in the heat.
  • Stir the mixture constantly over low heat until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Use an instant-read thermometer. When the mixture reaches the correct temperature, immediately place the pan in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking.

Hot Chocolate

A classic winter warmer, hot chocolate goes to cozy extremes when you mix in the spirits.

Hot Chocolates

Hot Chocolates | Photo by Meredith

Which Booze Mixes Best with Hot Chocolate: There are just so many ways to go with hot chocolate. The short answer is rum, bourbon, brandy, and tequila. Chocolate is a New World original, so maybe it's not unusual that hot chocolate would pair so well with tequila and mezcal..try it with chiles and a dash of cinnamon. Or go Irish, with a touch of Bailey's...and maybe a drop or two of Irish Whiskey. Liqueurs also work wonders with hot chocolate: try Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Frangelico, and peppermint schnapps.

Coffee Drinks

Gingerbread lattes, peppermint mochas, chocolate lattes -- spice up your cup of joe this season.

Brown Sugar Caramel Latte

Brown Sugar Caramel Latte | Photo by House of Aqua

Which Spirits Combine Best with Coffee Drinks: Bailey's (with or without Irish whiskey), Kahlua, and peppermint schnapps are classic companions with coffee. Amaretto, Frangelico, and Grand Marnier are other magical additions. Or try combining Tia Maria and rum.

Mulled Cider

Nothing alerts the nose to the holidays quite like the aroma of hot spiced cider.

Mulled Cider

Mulled Cider | Photo by Meredith

Which Spirits Mix Best with Mulled Cider: You can't go wrong adding a little dark rum to the mix. Bourbon would also pair nicely with a spiced apple drink. Or add a splash of vodka for boozy benefits without altering the flavor profile.

Wassail and Punch

Traditionally made with ale, wassail is also a friendly place for fruit juices and rum. It'll cure what wassail's ya.

Wassail Punch

Wassail Punch | Photo by Meredith

Which Booze Pairs Best with Christmas Punch: Many of these recipes call out the spirit of choice, but play around; punch is the perfect playground for booze. Rum, brandy, bourbon, vodka, they can all work Christmas miracles.

Champagne Cocktails

When the mood calls for simple sophistication, you can't beat champagne cocktails.

Champagne Cocktail

Champagne Cocktail | Photo by Meredith

Check out our Complete Collection of Christmas Drink Recipes

Carl Hanson

About Carl Hanson

Carl will eat that. Share with him @CarlNo9 on Twitter.