What’s Cooking – Twelve Days of Christmas Cocktails


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Photo: Giantbomb.com

Photo: Giantbomb.com

At church, the Twelve Days of Christmas marks the period between Christmas and Epiphany. In song, it’s a celebration of gifts that steadily increase in grandeur as each day passes. In this roundup, at the bar and in your kitchen, the Twelve Days of Christmas is the time to try twelve different holiday cocktails that steadily increase in ingredients, heaviness or, well, a jolly-ole good time. Avoiding the traditional eggnog and mulled wine this year, here’s to twelve days of holiday cocktails that put a very merry Christmas in your cup.

The Sleigh Ride Cocktail

Ho Ho Ho! Who needs Santa when you can have your very own Sleigh Ride Cocktail? This recipe comes from the blog Lauren Kelp, when Lauren herself crowns the Sleigh Ride Cocktail a holiday favorite. It’s first on our list due to the minimal ingredients required:

  • 1 bottle Champagne
  • 2 ounces pear brandy , such as Poire Williams
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 sugar cubes or 5 tsp. sugar
  • Mandarin Orange Old Fashioned Cocktail

    This Mandarin Orange Old Fashioned Cocktail by Andi at The Weary Chef contains only one more ingredient than the last. Nevertheless, you might need to head to the grocery store on this Second Day of Christmas. The American home tends to abound with oranges during the holiday season, so use a fresh one if you’d like to save money there. I doubt you own orange syrup (please correct me in the comments section if you do), and don’t forget the maraschino cherries! They’re just the best.

  • ¼ c. mandarin orange slices packed in light syrup
  • 1 tbsp. syrup from oranges
  • 2 maraschino cherries (or more if you like extras like me)
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • Vegan Coconut Buttered Rum Cocktail

    Because I couldn’t bring myself to suggest the drinking of butter on the Third Day of Christmas Cocktails, a feat better suited for the Twelfth Day of Christmas, I found a lighter version of this holiday classic. The Vegan Coconut Buttered Rum recipe comes from drink Editor Todd of Honestly Yum. We’re getting a bit more complex, ya’ll. For a drink that’s mixed with ‘batter,’ I hope you went to the store yesterday.

    For the cocktail:

  • 2 oz aged rum
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil batter (adjust to taste)
  • 4 oz hot water
  • cinnamon stick for garnish (optional)
  • For the coconut oil batter

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • pinch of salt
  • Apple Pie on the Rocks

    The Fourth Day of Christmas Cocktails calls for pie, but not really pie. Bring on the apple juice and booze with this Vegan Apple Pie on the Rocks recipe by Jackie from Vegan Yack Attack. The beauty of this drink is that it tastes like apple pie without the cream. We have eight days of drinks to go! Stay light and keep to the juice aisle.

  • 1 oz. Vanilla Vodka
  • 1 oz. Fireball Whiskey
  • 4 oz. Organic Apple Juice
  • Pinch of Ground Cinnamon
  • Brown Sugar for the rim
  • Cinnamon Stick for Garnish (Optional)
  • Ice
  • Belgian Winter Fizz

    It’s the Fifth Day of Christmas, and now you are safe to transition from the juice aisle to the dairy section. But take it slow. We’re not yet half-way there. Grab a carton of eggs, or check the expiration date on the box of ones you have at home, and try this Belgian Winter Fizz cocktail from a favorite New York neighborhood bar The Tippler.

  • 2 oz. Tanqueray gin
  • 1 tsp. Maraschino liqueur
  • 1 tsp. orange marmalade
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small egg white
  • 3 oz. Belgian golden ale
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Sugar N’ Spice White Russian

    Congratulations. It’s day six, and Mandy is here as your Let’s-Feel-Full-from-Drinks Spirit Guide. She even includes a carton of cream in her photograph to mark this celebratory moment. Just grab a few extra sticks of cinnamon, and your average White Russian is officially christened for Christmas.

  • 1 oz. Smirnoff Cinna-Sugar Twist
  • .5 oz. Kahlua or any coffee-flavored liqueur
  • .5 oz. half & half
  • Cinnamon sticks to garnish
  • Check out the mixing instructions for this Sugar N’ Spice White Russian recipe from Mandy’s blog Waiting on Martha.

    Peppermint Patty Cocktail

    This drink requires only three ingredients, but it’s the portion of creamy liquer that pushes it to day seven. On the Seventh Day of Christmas Cocktails your true love will say to thee, “Try this Peppermint Patty Cocktail designed by sisters Jordan and Jocelyn from This Girl Walks Into A Bar. It’s the bomb.”

  • 2 ounces white chocolate liqueur
  • 1 ounce peppermint schnapps
  • Crushed peppermint candy
  • Coquito

    It’s the Eighth Day of Christmas Cocktails, and you’re ready for a drink. Let’s start again with the classics. The Coquito is the eggnog-like drink originating in Puerto Rico, that place where it’s not snowing outside. Pretend you’re in a tropical wonderland and take advantage of not being in a swim suit with a few rounds of this traditional Coquito Cocktail by Melanie from O So Chic.

  • 1-15oz can of Coconut Cream
  • 1-12oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-14oz can of evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • A dash of ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cloves (Optional)
  • White rum
  • Homemade Crème de Menthe


    Not only is this drink beautiful but also it gets the job (of dessert) done. Mint and chocolate make an excellent team and serve to cleanse the palette after a few big holiday meals. Just check out Toni’s easy recipe for the Homemade Crème de Menthe Cocktail to see how to mix it. Her blog, the Boulder Locavore, is pretty awesome, too. Cheers!

  • 1 part Crème de Menthe
  • 1 part Crème de Cacao
  • 1 part cream
  • The Tom and Jerry

    Also known as eggnog’s hot cousin, the Top and Jerry Cocktail had no competition in its running for the Tenth Day of Christmas Cocktails. It’s about as classic as you can get when it come to traditional holiday drinks in this country, and it’s about as heavy as it is classic. You make this one by mixing a batter of whipped eggs, sugar, rum and spices into even more alcohol, hot water, and then milk. Get the full scoop on how to perfect the creamiest Tom and Jerry Cocktail with Sarah’s recipe from Food52.

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 pounds powdered sugar, or as much as you need
  • Fresh nutmeg for grating
  • Christmas Cookie Martini

    We’re nearing the finish line, and it’s time to drink up. Try cake on the Eleventh Day of Christmas Cocktails to ensure you’re living right. That’s right: this Christmas Cookie Martini by Elsie from A Beautiful Mess encourages you to use actual cake as your base. Whatever cookie signifies “Christmas” for you, sprinkle that one around the rim.

  • 2 parts Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
  • 1 part vanilla vodka
  • 1 part vanilla cake or whipped cream
  • Vodka
  • Ice
  • Frozen Peppermint Mocha Mudslide

    ‘Tis time. Celebrate the Twelfth Day of Christmas in such a way that leftovers go home with your loved ones. This Frozen Peppermint Mocha Mudslide by Carolyn from Boxes & Jars contains candy, ice cream and syrup to take you into the food coma and also coffee to bring you out of the food coma. We all yearn for balance in our lives, and this frozen cocktail is a place of sorts to find it.

  • 1 oz. Vanilla Vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Peppermint Schnapps
  • 1/2 oz. Coffee Liquor
  • 1 oz. Chocolate Syrup
  • 2 scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Whipped Cream & Crushed Candy Cane for Topping
  • What are your favorite holiday cocktails? Share your recipes with us below!

    • Jars

      So glad I could pin this article and can’t wait to try some of these out with my loved ones over the holidays…. and year round! My favorites – the Sleigh Ride and the Peppermint Patty – delicious!