Raise a Glass to the Best: Unveiling America’s Top Holiday Cocktail Selections

Highlight the most wonderful time of the year with the most highly-rated Christmas cocktails across the United States.

Whether you’re planning a small or large gathering or simply wanting to make drinks for the family (or to avoid boredom at holiday events you’d rather not attend), each of the most popular Christmas cocktails across the country is a winning drink.

The U.S. Distilled Spirits Council notes the spirit industry, which brings in $49 billion annually, sees the most profits in December.

In an effort to unwrap each state’s favorite holiday cocktail, a recent study by Upgraded Points revealed that class eggnog, Christmas margarita, Christmas punch, cranberry mimosa, cranberry orange whiskey sour, coquito and hot buttered rum are the most popular drinks across the country.

We’ll unpack these drinks, sharing what’s in them and how they’re made so you can decide which you want to try.

Here are the seven top Christmas cocktails!

1. Classic Eggnog

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What holiday is complete without eggnog? If you’re seeking a classic, affordable holiday drink, mix eggnog with spiced rum, brandy, bourbon, or cognac. Add a sprinkle of nutmeg, then garnish with a cinnamon stick to create a comforting cocktail that tastes like Christmas cheer.

While brandy is the most traditional spirit to pair with eggnog, you can play with the recipe. For example, try mixing dark rum and cognac to preserve eggnog’s flavors.

To get even more festive, you can make your eggnog from scratch, using a recipe in Martha Stewart’s first cookbook. Stewart’s ingredients include bourbon, cognac, dark rum, heavy cream, nutmeg, whole milk, and eggs.

2. Christmas Margarita

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A holiday-themed margarita, the Christmas margarita is a delicious twist on an iconic cocktail that is a perfect choice for holiday gatherings.

Where the official margarita is made of lime juice, triple sec, and tequila, the Christmas margarita combines cranberry juice, lime juice, triple sec or orange liqueur, and tequila, garnished with lime and orange slices, cranberries, and rosemary.

To make a white Christmas margarita, add coconut cream. Add simple syrup if you want to make the drink sweeter.

However you make your Christmas margarita, don’t forget the garnish: Sugar the rim and add cranberries and limes to bring out the flavor.

Keep in mind that this drink pairs well with appetizers!

3. Christmas Punch

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Christmas punch is a delightful drink that combines apple cider with sparkling wine, ginger ale, dark rum or brandy, oranges, cranberries, and lots of ice. Garnish with fresh cranberries, rosemary, and orange slices to create a vibrant, zesty drink that captures the spirit of the holiday season.

The great thing about Christmas punch—or boozy Grinch punch and jingle juice—is that you can create a batch and enjoy your party rather than spend the night doling out drinks.

Plus, Christmas punch is affordable to make. With only a few ingredients, this is a simple, affordable drink for large holiday gatherings.  

If you want a non-alcoholic version, that’s easy. Simply swap the wine for sparkling white grape juice or a lemon-lime soda like Sprite or Starry.

4. Cranberry Mimosa

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Kick off your festivities with the fizzy cranberry mimosa. This easy-to-make cocktail adds bursts of flavor and joy to any celebration.

The cranberry mimosa blends cranberry juice and sparkling wine, creating a crisp, tart drink that is refreshing and visually stunning with its vibrant red hue.  

Fill about one-third of your glass with cranberry juice. Then top off your glass with sparkling wine or champagne, and garnish with fresh cranberries or a twist of orange peel. This drink will help you start the holiday festivities off right.

5. Cranberry Orange Whiskey Sour

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Try this spin on a classic drink. The cranberry orange whiskey sour differs from the traditional whiskey sour by adding cranberry juice to the orange juice and garnishing with fresh cranberries, rosemary, or a twist of orange peel.  

This vibrant cocktail balances sweet, tart, and boozy notes—a libation that combines whiskey’s robustness with cranberries’ tartness. Add a bit of syrup to balance out any tartness in the cranberries.

This reviving blend of whiskey and cranberry juice makes the cranberry orange whiskey sour a simple, winning selection for the holidays.

6. Coquito

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Make a drink to remember with coquito, a Puerto Rican eggnog. A coconut-based cocktail, coquito is a creamy, tropical drink made with evaporated and condensed milk and cream of coconut, egg yolk, rum, and spices.

Also known simply as Puerto Rican eggnog, coquito has a silky texture created by coconut milk and is sweetened by condensed milk.

Evaporated milk adds a creamy consistency. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves enhance the flavor profile.

These spices arouse the senses with the comfort of familiar holiday aromas as the coquito transports your taste buds to a tropical winter paradise.

7. Hot Buttered Rum

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Winter is the best time for warm drinks! A favorite winter drink for many—it’s as irresistible as eggnog—hot buttered rum is a warm, sweet cocktail that’s comforting on cold evenings.

Hot buttered rum provides a tasteful journey into winter comfort as you count down the final days and hours of the year.

“Batter” is a delicious mixture of brown sugar, butter, and fragrant spices. Simply stir a dollop of batter (your spiced butter mixture) into a mug with dark rum and hot water. The butter adds a luxurious mouthful, enhancing the richness of the cocktail.

Author: Christopher Alarcon

Title: Journalist

Expertise: personal finance, side hustles, time management

Bio:

Christopher Alarcon is a journalist with a deep passion for personal finance. He has contributed to major online publications, including MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and Business Insider.