Festive Holiday Drinks for Fabulous Celebrations

Here are seven of the most delicious holiday drinks you have ever tasted. From cocktails like Southern Comfort Hot Toddy to the best eggnog ever, these festive holiday drinks will make any party more fun.


There’s nothing like festive holiday drinks to make holiday parties come alive. It’s no wonder that cold weather makes us want to snuggle and keep warm, and hot beverages certainly help. So, I’ve taken some favorite recipes and changed them up a bit to delight your guests. (It’s also perfectly acceptable for you to enjoy these festive holiday drinks during an intimate evening with your special loved one.)

I have also included my favorite eggnog recipe for when you want a cold and refreshing holiday beverage. Enjoy!


Grand Marnier Hot Chocolate (Serves 8-10)

festive holiday drinks include grand marnier hot chocolate
Photo by Denise Schreiber

Delicious hot chocolate might be the queen of all festive holiday drinks. This hot chocolate gets its kick from Grand Marnier. But if you want a non-alcoholic drink, leave out the liqueur and instead add 4 strips of orange peel (½ inch wide) to the liquid as it is heating.



2/3 cup natural, unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch-process cocoa powder or dark cocoa powder such as Droste, Ghiradelli or Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup water

6 cups milk (whole milk or you can substitute half and half for 3 cups of the milk…it just makes it a lot richer)

1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

2/3 cup Grand Marnier


In a 4-quart saucepan, sift cocoa powder then whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, salt and water. Stir the mixture constantly and bring it to a boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn it. Stir in the milk, vanilla and cinnamon sticks, and heat until very warm without boiling or simmering. Stir in Grand Marnier (or the orange peel). Serve immediately, or you can transfer the hot chocolate to a slow cooker and place it on warm for the evening.

Serve this festive holiday drink with whipped cream and freshly grated orange peel in each serving.


Southern Comfort Hot Toddy (Serves 4)

southern comfort hot toddy

Here’s one of my favorite festive holiday drinks. A cup of Southern Comfort Hot Toddy is a tasty addition to any celebration. And it’s great for whatever ails you (even if you’re just faking it). Plus, this is an easy cocktail recipe to make!



4 ounces of Southern Comfort

½ cup of simple syrup (to make simple syrup, combine ¼ cup sugar and ¼ cup water and heat until sugar is dissolved.)

8 small cinnamon sticks

1 teaspoon of whole cloves

2 cups of boiling water

4 slices of orange or lemon for garnish


Pour Southern Comfort into cups. Make simple syrup, then add cinnamon sticks and cloves and gently heat for 3 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves. Add to boiling water and pour into cups. Add garnish and enjoy!


Irish Dream Coffee (Serves 1)

irish dream coffee
Photo by Denise Schreiber

Irish coffee is one of my favorite beverages on a cold, holiday season night. My Irish Dream makes traditional Irish coffee even better by adding liqueur to give it a more full-bodied flavor.



1 ounce of Jameson Irish Whiskey or Red Breast Irish Whiskey

3 ounces of freshly brewed hot coffee

1 ounce Bailey’s Irish Cream

1 ounce chocolate liqueur (your choice)

Whipping cream

Chocolate syrup

Chocolate shavings


Heat mug with hot water. Pour out water, and then add whiskey, Irish cream and chocolate liquor. Then add hot coffee. Top with whipping cream, drizzle syrup then sprinkle chocolate shavings on it.


Mexican Coffee Variation

For a “south of the border” version of this recipe, substitute Mexican Sierra Norte whiskey for the Irish whiskey and substitute Kahlua for the Baileys. Add a tiny pinch of red pepper before adding the coffee and toppings.


Hot Mama (Serves 8-10)

hot mama bloody mary cocktail

When you’re looking for hot and festive holiday drinks, a Hot Mama is a surprising delight. But this beverage can also be made cold and served during the summer months. Just keep the ingredients chilled and add a dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche to top it off.  It’s very refreshing on a hot summer day.

Hot or cold, this cocktail packs quite a punch!



1 16-ounce jar of fire roasted red peppers, drained and pureed

1 46-ounce bottle/can of tomato juice

2 cups tequila (If desired you can leave out the tequila for a non-alcoholic drink)

3 tablespoons of lime juice

3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon of horseradish

2 teaspoons of kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

Lime wedges


Heat pureed peppers and tomato juice in a slow cooker on low. Add lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish and salt. Stir until heated through completely. Add tequila just before serving. Garnish with freshly ground pepper and a lime wedge.


“Warm the Cockles of Your Heart” Cider (Serves 4-6)

hot apple cider is a star among festive holiday drinks
Photo by Denise Schreiber

Hot apple cider truly a Christmas party classic. To turn this festive holiday cocktail into a fabulous holiday drink for all ages, simply leave out the bourbon.



1 qt. fresh apple cider (reserve ¼ cup in a small bowl)

1 tablespoon of caramel sauce

A Fuji or Honey Crisp apple cut in thick slices

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1 ½ cups of bourbon such as Makers Mark

Cinnamon sugar


Heat cider, caramel syrup and apple slices until warm. While cider is heating, dip rims of cups or glasses into reserved cider then into cinnamon sugar. Add bourbon to mixture just before serving.


Hot Mulled Wine (Serves 6-8)

hot mulled wine

Most holiday partygoers only know about Hot Mulled Wine because Clarence the Angel orders one in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Here’s a recipe that brings this old-fashioned drink to the 21st century.



1 750ml bottle of a dry, red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot

2 cups of apple cider

¼ cup honey

Zest of 1 orange

½ cup orange juice (pulp free)

6 whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

1/3 cup brandy

6 cinnamon sticks for garnish

Orange slices for garnish


Combine wine, cider, honey, zest, orange juice cloves and 2 cinnamon sticks in a slow cooker or on the stovetop. When heated, add brandy. Serve with orange slices and cinnamon stick.


The Best Eggnog Recipe Ever (Serves 10-12)

holiday eggnog is a tasty treat

Some people hear “eggnog” and think of the disgusting yellow, slimy stuff that is sold in stores. But I make this eggnog every year for my open house and it is the hit of the evening!

This eggnog is cooked so there are no raw eggs, and you can add your own choice of spirits (or not) to your cup. It is sinfully rich and creamy and will convert ANYONE to eggnog. If you like, you can double this recipe—but you may need two saucepans.

WARNING: This beverage is not for those of you watching your cholesterol!



½ gal of whole milk

6 whole eggs

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

½ tablespoon of real vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pint of heavy whipping cream

Chocolate shavings for garnish


Heat milk in a large saucepan over medium heat but do not let it boil.


Beat eggs and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer until thick and pale, gradually adding sugar beating well. Gradually stir in about ¼ of the hot milk into the egg mixture then pour egg mixture into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens about 25-30 minutes and reaches 160 degrees. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and cool.

Before serving, beat whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the whipped cream into milk mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon and chocolate shavings before serving.

If serving with alcohol, just pour the alcohol of choice into the cup, then add eggnog. I serve it with Kahlua, (my favorite), Bailey’s Irish Cream, dark rum, bourbon or brandy.

If you have access to a high-quality chocolate milk, you can substitute that for the regular white milk!


Enjoy your festive holiday drinks—and have a fabulous holiday season! If you’re looking for a tasty dessert to eat with a hot toddy or other hot beverage, check out this recipe for Crabapple Whiskey Cake




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