The holiday season is also considered cocktail season for many of us. From family events to get-togethers with friends, holiday parties and more. Although things are a bit different in 2020 and most of us won’t be able to gather as usual, we can still have virtual cocktail parties or enjoy a delicious drink on a cold night on our own. I’ve put together this list of travel themed Christmas drinks for those of us who are feeling a little stuck this year and want to add a bit of travel into our festive season. The recipes below are from drinks I’ve discovered on my own travels, or use various types of alcohol associated with different parts of the world. I hope that these travel themed Christmas drinks add a bit of fun to your holiday season!
Gluhwein is my favourite Christmas drink. I first tried it back in 2011 when I experienced the Christmas markets of Austria and Germany and was lucky enough in 2015 to get a recipe from an Austrian chef. While I still love visiting European Christmas markets, this recipe is really easy to make and has become a part of my family Christmas traditions here at home too.
You can find my recipe for Gluhwein here.
Winter Hot Toddy
Looking for something to warm you up on a cold winter day? A hot toddy will do the trick! Turn this classic into a travel themed Christmas drink by using your favourite Irish whiskey or Scotch then swap out boring hot water for delicious apple cider. Bonus: Hot Toddies are also said to help with coughs and colds. If only all medicine tasted this good!
Here’s how to make an Apple Cider Hot Toddy
- 1 ounce of Irish whiskey or scotch (whatever you prefer, I use whiskey)
- 5 ounces of apple cider (non-alcoholic)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 wedge of lemon
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 2 cloves (optional)
*Makes 1 serving
Heat up the apple cider in a pot on the stove (or microwave). As it’s warming up, pour your whiskey or scotch and honey into the bottom of an Irish coffee glass. Add in the hot cider and garnish with a cinnamon stick, lemon wedge, and cloves. Enjoy!
White Christmas Sangria
Fruity sangria is synonymous with Spain but for this travel-themed Christmas drink, we’re making a wintery version with cranberries and apples. I got this idea from several other recipes but combined it to create my own version which includes Canadian apple cider (non-alcoholic) and no carbonated additions. Garnished with a sprig of rosemary, this drink looks festive and tastes delicious.
Here’s what you need to make my version of white wine holiday sangria
- 1 bottle of your favourite pinot grigio
- 1 granny smith apple (chopped into small cubes)
- 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries (whole)
- ¼ cup fresh cranberries (sliced in half)
- ½ cup of your favourite apple cider (non-alcoholic)
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 springs of rosemary + extra for garnish
*Makes 4-6 servings
Mix all ingredients together in a large pitcher. Stir briefly to dissolve sugar. Refrigerate or 4-5 hours so flavours can combines. Pout into individual glasses, make sure each one gets some of the fruit! Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and enjoy!
*Tip: This is a tart drink- not very sweet. If you like sweeter drinks, make simple syrup and add to taste.
Christmas Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail
This travel themed Christmas drink recipe is an ode to France and the delicious and classic French Kir Royale- a champagne cocktail made with champagne and crème de cassis (or, when I make it at home, Chambord). We’re going to put a holiday spin on this one by combining the champagne (or prosecco/save/sparkling wine- as you prefer) with pomegranates.
Here’s how to make this pomegranate champagne cocktail.
- Champagne (can also be prosecco, cava, or sparkling wine)
- 1 tsp Pomegranate seeds
- Pomegranate syrup (enough to float the seeds a little)
*If you don’t love the idea of adding the sugar to your drink by making pomegranate syrup, you can just use pomegranate juice. However, it won’t have the same ombre effect in the glass since the syrup is heavier and stays at the bottom.
Place 1 teaspoon of pomegranate seeds into the bottom of your champagne flute and pour enough pomegranate syrup of juice overtop to cover the seeds until the top seeds float. Top up the rest of the glass with the champagne/prosecco/cava.
*Tip: you can make your own pomegranate juice by blending the pomegranate seeds and then using s strainer to separate the juice from the pulp. To make it a syrup, add sugar until it thickens up (like making simple syrup). 1 Pomegranate gave me enough seeds + syrup for 4 drinks.
Sugar Cookie Martini
I’m bringing in the Irish Bailey’s for this travel themed Christmas drink recipe which is a play on a classic holiday treat: the sugar cookie. There are a number of variations of this recipe online, some use a chocolate liquor instead of amaretto. Some use flavoured vodka (cake or vanilla) but I stuck with what I had on hand here at home and the result is pretty delicious if you have a sweet tooth.
Here’s how to make a sugar cookie martini
- 1 ounce vodka
- 1 ounce amaretto (I used Disaronno)
- 2 ounces of Baileys Cream Liquor
- Optional: decorating sugar for garnish
Rim glass with decorating sugar (if you choose to).
Combine vodka, amaretto, and baileys in a shaker with ice. Shake for to mix, pour, and serve.
psst: looking for something warmer? Check out my authentic Irish coffee recipe for another taste of Ireland
I hope you have fun with these travel-themed Christmas drinks!