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7 Christmas Pitcher Cocktails to Delight (& Warm) Your Guests

Is it just me, or does the Christmas season always seem to sneak up on us? One minute we're enjoying Halloween, and the next thing you know, stores are playing Christmas music and decking out their aisles in red and green. If you're like me, you may have already started planning your holiday get-togethers. And if you're looking for some festive drink ideas, I've got seven Christmas pitcher cocktails that are sure to impress your guests. Enjoy!

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What’s a Christmas or holiday pitcher cocktail?

There are cocktails you have to mix or shake one or two at a time – which are acceptable for smaller gatherings but become burdensome when serving larger groups. Pitcher cocktails are the answer because you can mix them up to a day in advance and let your guests help themselves.

Host Tip: When offering pitcher cocktails, make one that’s on the sweet side (vodka, rum), spirit-forward (gin, bourbon, whiskey, brandy), and include a mocktail – which will cover almost everyone’s preferences.

Cozy Christmas Rum and Bourbon Cocktails

christmas rum and bourbon cocktails

Hot buttered rum with a fruity twist from Michelle Ferrand, Cup of Zest

“I wanted something simple to whip up while spending time with the family. I did a little research and came across hot buttered rum, which was nothing I’d ever tasted. Butter, booze, and sugar, yes, please! But I also wanted to make the drink a little more interesting. My step-mom suggested using up some mandarins and the pomegranate juice she had in the fridge. Both were perfect additions to the spiced hot buttered rum!” – Michelle Ferrand, Cup of Zest

There’s nothing quite cozy as hot buttered rum for cold winter nights. Cup of Zest blogger Michelle Ferrand suggests making a big batch in advance and serving it hot in an insulated pitcher or thermos, “so you don’t need to take up precious room on the stovetop.”

Before you make your cocktail, you’ll need a dark rum. We recommend:

Ten to One Caribbean Dark Rum. It’s versatile, sweet, and perfect for Christmas rum cocktails like the Hot Buttered Rum recipe. It’s a blend of 8-year-old aged Barbadian, Dominican, Jamaican, and Trinidadian rums.

Buy it in our online bottle shop here.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz dark rum (Ten to One Caribbean Dark Rum)
  • 4 Tb unsalted high-quality butter (Kerry Gold is Michelle’s favorite)
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8th tsp ground clove
  • 1/8th tsp kosher salt

Optional

  • Pomegranate juice and pomegranate arils (seeds)
  • Zest and juice from mandarin oranges

Directions

  1. Evenly distribute the rum and butter between four 8-ounce mugs.
  2. Place the water, sugar, and spices in a small pot and bring to a boil, occasionally whisking to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Evenly distribute that boiling, sweet and spiced water between the mugs and stir well to melt the butter.
  4. Drink it piping hot

For the optional pomegranate and mandarin extras

If you want to add in either (or a combo of both) of these fabulous additions, make sure the juice is super hot. You want to make sure you keep your drink piping hot while drinking it, and cold liquid will drastically reduce its temp. Also, the butter will solidify (ew!) if the drink gets cold!

  • Add in 2 tablespoons of pomegranate juice in each cup and some arils for garnish.
  • Add in the zest and juice of one mandarin orange in each cup.

Spiked Peppermint Bark Chocolate Christmas Bourbon Cocktail from HelloFresh

christmas bourbon cocktail

“The hustle-bustle of the holiday season is upon us, and that means festive celebrations are merrily in store. There are a few must-haves at a holiday party, starting with irresistible cocktails!” – Claudia Sidoti, Head Chef, Hello Fresh

Peppermint bark is one of my all-time favorite wintertime sweets, and I love the idea of making it into a drink with bourbon! The best part is: You can easily make this into a ‘mocktail’ by just creating a version without booze – always essential to make sure everyone at the party feels included.

Before you make your cocktail, you’ll need a spiced bourbon. We recommend:

Redemption Bourbon Whiskey. A subtle rye-forward bourbon, Redemption is well-balanced with vanilla and caramel notes. This spiced bourbon is perfect for a Christmas bourbon cocktail like the Spiked Peppermint Bark Chocolate cocktail with a bit of rye.


Buy it in our online bottle shop here. 

Ingredients

  • 12 oz bourbon (Redemption Bourbon Whiskey)
  • 6 oz peppermint schnapps
  • 12 packets of your favorite hot chocolate
  • 12 oz chocolate chips (melted)
  • Whipped cream & crushed peppermint candies to serve

Directions

  1. Dip the rims of your serving cups in the melted chocolate
  2. Mix hot chocolate according to package directions
  3. Add peppermint schnapps and bourbon
  4. Pour into cups and top with whipped cream sprinkled with crushed peppermint!

Cold Christmas Cocktails

cold christmas cocktails

The Lion’s Tail from Lauren Van Mullem, TruerWordsbyLauren.com

“We host a cocktail party once a month during the summer, so when it’s the holidays, we’re often asked to ‘bring a little something boozy’ to our friends’ parties. This is one of our holiday go-to’s. The Lion’s Tail is Christmas in a coupe.”Lauren Van Mullem

This classic cocktail's cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove flavor profile make it holiday-ready. Allspice dram is the secret ingredient that makes the magic happen, and it can be hard to find, so you may want to order it online in advance.

Note: The original Lion’s Tail isn’t a pitcher cocktail, so to get the proportions right (just as if you were shaking each one with ice), Lauren says it’s okay to put a few ice cubes in your serving pitcher to dilute it just a bit, if needed. Don’t forget to keep that pitcher cold using a champagne bucket with ice.

Each poured cocktail should be just over 3oz., best served in a coupe glass. This recipe makes 12 servings.

Before you make your cocktail, you’ll need a complementary bourbon. We recommend:

Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey. This bourbon is perfect for a cocktail like The Lion’s Tail. It’s sweet, with honey, marzipan, and wildflower notes, adding a dried oak finish to this fruity delight of a drink.

Buy it in our online bottle shop here. 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups bourbon (Elijah Craig Small Batch)
  • 6oz Allspice Dram
  • 6oz lime juice
  • 3oz simple syrup (or to taste)
  • 12 dashes Angostura bitters

Directions

  1. Combine in a large pitcher and stir (adding a few ice cubes if it’s too strong). Get your coupes ready for guests to self-serve. No garnish required.

Maple Cardamom Eggnog from runamokmaple.com

christmas holiday brandy cocktail

No holiday cocktail post is complete without an Eggnog recipe, and this one from Runamokmaple is several steps above the average (and a flight of stairs above what you’ll find at the grocery store.

“This is the real-deal eggnog made from scratch, with the updated addition of Cardamom Infused Maple Syrup instead of plain old sugar. The maple syrup adds a caramel note, and the cardamom compliments the bourbon beautifully. Remember Heat Miser and Freeze Miser from ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’? There is no doubt in my mind that this would be their holiday drink, so make a batch and invite some friends over to watch together.” – Laura Sorkin, Co-founder of Runamok Maple

Before you make your cocktail, you’ll need a spiced bourbon and a brandy. We recommend:

Bourbon

Redemption Bourbon Whiskey. Once again, we love our Redemption Bourbon. A subtle rye-forward bourbon, Redemption is well-balanced with vanilla and caramel notes. With a bit of rye, this spiced bourbon is perfect for a Christmas bourbon cocktail like the Maple Cardamom cocktail.

Buy it in our online bottle shop here. 

Brandy

Singani 63. Singani 

A Bolivian brandy, Moscatel of Alexandria grapes comprise Singani 63. It’s floral, with notes of jasmine, orange blossom, honeysuckle, and lemon citrus. It’s clean, clear, and adds a warm element to the Maple Cardamom Christmas bourbon and brandy cocktail.  

Buy it here.

Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 Tbsp Runamok Maple’s Cardamom Infused Maple Syrup (RunamokMaple.com)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 oz bourbon (Redemption Bourbon Whiskey)
  • 1 oz brandy (Singani 63)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Directions

  1. Put egg yolks in a bowl with maple syrup and whisk.
  2. Heat half the milk on the stove to just a simmer.
  3. Add heated milk slowly to the egg mixture.
  4. Return to stove and bring to just 160 degrees, making sure not to boil.
  5. Remove and cool.
  6. Add remaining milk, bourbon, and brandy and chill.
  7. When ready to serve, whip the cream and gently fold in.
  8. Pour into cups and serve with freshly grated nutmeg on top.

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The French Mistletoe – from Chef Craig Bell, owner of Reclaimed Bar & Restaurant in Chicago

christmas pitcher cocktail

This take on a French 75 (made with gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and simple syrup) isn’t strictly a pitcher drink, but you can quickly multiply the proportions for the number of guests you have. Just remember to wait until the last minute to top the drinks off with sparkling wine, so the bubbles don’t flatten!

“When thinking about a holiday cocktail for your home party, look for subtle flavors that balance acidity with a touch of sweetness since your guests will also be having small bites with their cocktails. Steer clear of the cinnamon and nutmeg because while they are great, they can be a little overpowering when paired with food. I recently paired the French Mistletoe with herb and stone-ground mustard encrusted Lamb Chops. The mustard glaze cut the richness of the chops, and the herbs carried over to the French Mistletoe, and its cherry finish rounded things off.” – Chef Craig Bell, Reclaimed Bar & Restaurant

Before you make your cocktail, you’ll need either tequila or a gin. We recommend:

Tequila

Espolon Blanco Tequila.  Espolon Blanco is a single-sourced tequila from Jalisco, Mexico. It’s won countless awards for its super-premium flavor and craftsmanship. Just like other Blanco tequilas, it’s perfect for a cocktail because its flavor doesn’t overwhelm the drink but adds a subtlety to it. It’s sweet, floral, and tropical, with notes of lime, lemon, pineapple, and spice: the best addition to the French Mistletoe Christmas Gin and Tequila cocktail. 

Buy it from our online bottle shop here. 

Or, alternatively, if you choose to make the cocktail with gin, we suggest: 

Gin

Beefeater London Dry Gin. Beefeater Dry Gin is the golden standard for mixing gins. It hints of lemon zest with a dark, bitter citrus rind note to round out the flavor. 

Buy it from our online bottle shop here. 

Ingredients

1 serving (multiply for a pitcher and add sparkling wine to each tumbler)

Directions

  1. If making single servings, put the above ingredients in a shaker with ice.
  2. Shake and strain into a 10oz tumbler glass with ice.
  3. Top off with Champagne or Prosecco.
  4. Garnish with lime.

Apple Cider Sangria by Jennifer Shreckengost of Wanderlust and Wellness

christmas wine cocktail

“For holiday entertaining, I always like to have a pitcher cocktail. They can be made ahead of time and then pulled out right as your guests arrive.” – Jennifer Shreckengost

There’s nothing like sangria for effortless hosting. It’s beautiful, the garnishes are automatic, and everyone loves it. This sangria uses a bottle of Pinot Grigio or any bottle of semi-sweet white wine – and the flavor only improves the longer you let it sit.

Before you make your Christmas wine cocktail, you’ll need white wine. We recommend:

I Brand & Family Pinot Gris Cienega Valley Eden Rift Vineyard 2020. The I Brand & Family Pinot Gris is a pinkish-orange wine, with flavors like strawberries, raspberries, and watermelon sorbet. 

Buy it from our online bottle shop here. 

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle of semi-sweet white wine (I Brand & Family Pinot Gris)
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup club soda or sparkling water
  • 1/4th cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ red apple, sliced
  • ½ red pear, sliced
  • ½ green pear, sliced
  • 4 cinnamon sticks

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and sit for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.
  2. Let guests serve themselves (don’t forget the spoon!)

Wintery Christmas Mocktails

holiday wine cocktails

Wassail from Montanya Distillers

No cocktail party is complete without a good mocktail – not just fruit juice or soda! Wassail, a hot mulled cider, has a long history dating back to Medieval times. It’s delicious on its own, but you can also give guests the option of making it boozy by adding rum!

My favorite part about this cocktail is that once you make the Wassail mix, you can store it for up to 4 weeks in the fridge. It’s the perfect pitcher cocktail to wow guests when you are not expecting them!

Before you make your Christmas rum cocktail, you’ll need a rum. We recommend:

Flor de Caña 4-year-old Añejo Oro Rum. This is a light-bodied rum with no added sugar. It’s sweet with an almond and vanilla flavor, white chocolate, and orange citrus. Add in the crisp, dry finish, and you have the best rum for your Wassail Christmas rum cocktail. 

Buy it from our online bottle shop here. 

Ingredients

  • 6oz Wassail Mix (recipe to follow*)
  • 2.5 oz Montanya Oro rum (Flor de Caña)
  • 2 drops Rum Citrus bitters per 6.5oz serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Stir together and serve in an Irish Coffee glass or mug with an orange twist.

*Wassail Mix Ingredients

  • Mull the following ingredients in a pot
  • ½ gallon organic apple cider
  • 32 oz Cranberry juice
  • 1 orange, stuffed with 5 cloves
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 7 whole cinnamon sticks

Directions

  1. Bring all ingredients to a low boil in a pot, stirring occasionally.
  2. Simmer for a bit.
  3. Strain and transfer liquid to a glass jar for storage.
  4. Store up to 30 days in the refrigerator!

Conclusion

So whether you're looking to get into the Christmas spirit or just need a drink that will make your party guests merry, I've got you covered. These seven cocktails are sure to please everyone at your next gathering, and they're all easy enough to make in a pitcher so you can spend more time mingling with your guests.

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