Our best Christmas cocktail recipes make Champagne cocktails, classic cocktails, and even a beer cocktail, which is perfect if you’re spending Christmas in the sultry southern hemisphere and enjoying Christmas lunch in the sun. Having a wintery white Christmas in the northern hemisphere? Turn up the heating or make our negroni with warming spices.
Traditional Christmas drinks such as egg nog aren’t suited to the weather here in Cambodia, so over the years that we’ve spent Christmas in Siem Reap, we’ve adapted classic cocktail recipes with spices and fruits to add some festive flavour, creating some of our favourite Christmas cocktail recipes in the process.
Whether you’re celebrating Christmas in the southern hemisphere where you might be having Christmas Day lunch in the sun, or you’re spending Christmas in the wintery northern hemisphere dreaming of sunshine, these are fantastic Christmas cocktail recipes that will add much seasonal cheer to your Christmas dinners and parties.
Before you scroll down, we have more Christmas recipe collections, including our best dip recipes for crackers and crudités for festive parties, best Christmas starters (including devilled eggs), best Christmas salads, and best desserts for Christmas. We also have homemade edible Christmas gifts you can make and Christmas gifts for food lovers designed with Terence’s mouthwatering images in our Grantourismo shop.
Every day between now and Christmas, we’ll be adding more Christmas cocktail recipes, along with recipes for Christmas day breakfast and brunch, festive finger food and nibbles, and Christmas mains, so do bookmark this page, drop by and visit again, or subscribe (bottom of the site).
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Now let me tell you about our best Christmas cocktail recipes for your festive meals and parties over the Christmas and New Year holiday season.
Christmas Cocktail Recipes from Champagne Cocktails to Classic Cocktails with a Festive Twist
Classic Champagne Cocktail Recipe with a Tropical Fruit Twist
A classic champagne cocktail recipe calls for Champagne, Angostura bitters, sugar cubes, and brandy or Cognac, and has traditionally been garnished with a maraschino cherry.
Firstly, you pop a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters onto a sugar cube. It should be partly not completely saturated. Drop it into champagne flutes. When you pour the Champagne in, it’s the process of the sugar slowly dissolving that will create that joyful fountain of bubbles in the flute that brings a smile to everyone’s face.
Next you add brandy or Cognac (go for one ounce or 30 mls), then pour chilled brut Champagne (4-6 ounces or 120-180 mls) into a flute, right to the top, and garnish with a maraschino cherry. A slice of orange is also popular.
A tip: always open your bottles of Champagne and add the bubbly to the flutes immediately before you serve the cocktails.
To make our classic Champagne cocktail recipe with a tropical fruit twist, all you need to do is just dice up your favourite tropical fruit and add 4-5 pieces to the flutes with the sugar cubes.
Classic Negroni with Spices Recipe
When it comes to Christmas cocktails, it’s hard to beat this classic negroni with spices recipe, which is one of our best Christmas cocktail recipes. This festive negroni has become our favourite Christmas cocktail since we first came up with the idea during one of the first festive seasons we spent in Cambodia.
You need a really good reason to mess with a classic negroni recipe and there are few better reasons than Christmas. Terence has mixed a classic negroni with subtle spice and fruit that – in keeping with the Christmas spirit – has warmed the drink up.
We’ve used ingredients we can get here in Siem Reap, Cambodian oranges, star anise, and cinnamon sticks, which he has simmered into a sugar syrup. When it comes to the spices, do make sure they’re fresh. If they’re not, you can roast them in a dry pan for a few minutes until fragrant. If they don’t give off spicy aromas, then bin them and go buy fresh cinnamon and star anise.
You’ll spot a single spherical ice cube in the glass. The reason is that the spherical ice cube melts slower and keeps the drink cold. There’s nothing worse than a negroni that’s weak and warm. We use these spherical ice cube makers.
If you’re celebrating Christmas in the sultry southern hemisphere, serve your festive negronis before Christmas dinner. For those of you in the chilly north, this is a warming winter cocktail.
Classic Aperol Spritz Recipe
This classic Aperol spritz recipe makes the original Aperol spritz cocktail, and it makes one of the best Christmas cocktail recipes, especially if you’re spending Christmas Day in the sun.
The bittersweet Italian aperitif is sipped all over Italy, most famously in Venice, especially in the summertime, although these days it’s one of those drinks made right around the world. Regardless, it’s a taste of sunny summers in Italy in a glass that will brighten any day, making it the perfect drink to sip in the sunshine over Christmas in the southern hemisphere.
The classic Aperol spritz recipe is super easy to make too – so easy that after a couple of times mixing this sunny Italian aperitif you won’t even need a recipe. So, what is an Aperol spritz cocktail exactly?
If you’ve been to Italy and you didn’t get a chance to try this insanely popular cocktail, it was that bright orange drink that you probably noticed the locals sipping during aperitivo hour – the late afternoon cum early evening drinks that Italians enjoy together before heading off to dinner.
White Peach Bellini Recipe from Chef Peter Gilmore
This White Peach Bellini recipe is courtesy of one of Australia’s best chefs, Peter Gilmore, who helms the kitchens of Quay and Bennelong in Sydney, two of Australia’s finest restaurants.
Chef Peter Gilmore shared his super easy but very delicious White Peach Bellini recipe with us a few years ago. He says it his go-to Christmas Day drink and there’s a bit of a tradition of him serving this drink at his Christmas lunches.
The White Peach Bellini also has some tradition attached to it. It was conceived by Harry Cipriani of Harry’s Bar in Venice back in 1948. He named it after Jacopo Bellini, a 15th century Venetian artist, for the pale pink hue Bellini regularly used in his paintings.
This is a White Peach Bellini recipe for a frappé-style bellini and it couldn’t be more simple – just a few ingredients and ice and you have a stylish, summery drink that’s perfect for a blue-sky Christmas Day in Australia.
White peaches are in season in Australia in summer, but you can use yellow peaches or store-bought peach juice. The drink won’t be the same pretty colour, but it will still taste wonderful.
Watermelon Mint Cooler Recipe
This watermelon mint cooler recipe is another of our best Christmas cocktail recipes as it’s super easy to mix leaving more time to spend with loved-ones.
It makes for a refreshing light cocktail to drink on a stifling summer afternoon if you’re celebrating Christmas in the southern hemisphere, or a sticky day in the tropics. If you’re in the chilly northern hemisphere turn up your heating and pretend you’re some place warm.
Our watermelon mint cooler recipe makes use of the watermelons that are in season now here in parts of Southeast Asia and Australia. Most watermelon mint cooler recipes don’t include coconut water. I’ve added it as we drink fresh coconut water all the time here in Cambodia – straight from the coconut – and it’s absolutely delicious in this fruit cocktail.
Looking for a headier cocktail, skip the coconut water, and go for sparkling wine or Champagne with vodka, gin, white rum, or tequila, which can also go in the blender. Whatever you do, garnish with fresh mint for extra zing.
Margarita Recipe for Mexico’s Quintessential Cocktail
This classic Margarita recipe makes another one of our best Christmas cocktail recipes. We learnt this Margarita recipe on our first trip to Mexico many years ago and still make it, wherever we are in the world. Come sunset when we were in Mexico, I would reach for the tequila, Triple Sec and limes and mix us some Margaritas. Bliss.
Use a dedicated Margarita glass or Champagne coupe. A classic Margarita requires only a rub of fresh lime on the rim before dipping it into quality salt. This Infused Margarita Lime Salt, supposedly made from the finest sea salts and real fruit, is fun.
If you’re spending Christmas Day with loved ones enjoying a seafood feast in the sunshine or barbecue in a park and making picnic Margaritas, pack this cool all-in-one ‘glass rimmer and reamer‘ for juicing your limes and dipping the rim of your Margarita glass into the juice, and take these re-usable Margarita ‘glasses’.
If you must use a Margarita Mix, go for something organic like the Tres Agaves Margarita Mix or this handcrafted small-batch Margarita Vintage Original Cocktail Mixer by Powell & Mahoney, which they claim is made with all natural ingredients to the original 1937 recipe.
Classic Pina Colada Recipe
This classic pina colada recipe makes another of our favourite Christmas cocktail recipes. That means a rich aromatic cocktail that screams sunshine and Christmas day lunch outdoors.
This recipe does not contain any Malibu, a coconut flavoured rum that was invented for bartenders to simplify the classic piña colada recipe. The original piña colada recipe is simple enough, especially if you’re not making your own coconut cream and sugar syrup.
I serve our pina coladas in tall vintage crystal tumblers or highballs with kitschy swizzle sticks and paper umbrellas. If you really want to go all tiki you could chop your pineapple in half, hollow out one half, and pour your pina colada into the pineapple.
You’ll need to sit your pineapple on a saucer – if you haven’t sipped a cocktail from a pineapple in a while, they have spiky thorns – and we recommend using bamboo straws instead of plastic. They’re in theme and they’re better for the environment.
Michelada Recipe for A Spicy Mexican Beer Cocktail
Our michelada recipe makes the spicy Mexican beer cocktail that has a kick of chilli and it’s another one of the best Christmas cocktail recipes if you get to enjoy Christmas Day in the sunshine. If you haven’t tried a michelada before, put this on your Christmas cocktail menu.
We sampled our first michelada one sunny Saturday at La Lagunilla market in Mexico City where every young Mexican hipster seemed to be nursing a hangover — and a Michelada.
It was a fun, fantastic, thirst-quenching drink that I knew I had to make, as refreshing as an icy cold beer is on a warm summer’s day. But it also had some kick to it, which a beer without a rim of spice usually lacks!
You can make your own homemade chilli salt (this infused lime salt also works) and we recommend a big glass tumbler, preferably a recycled glass Mexican tumbler like the one pictured for authenticity.
Cuban Mojito Recipe with a Cambodian Twist
This classic Cuban mojito recipe is based on the mojitos we sipped in Old Havana on our first trip to Cuba way back in the mid-Nineties, and it’s another of the best Christmas cocktail recipes you can make if you’re enjoying Christmas lunch in the sun.
Thirst quenching and refreshing, it was just the thing we needed after hours spent in a sweat, strolling the empty streets of Old Havana or ambling along the Malecon. A Cuban mojito is a refreshing drink that is a perfect sip for a sultry day.
As we’re in Siem Reap, we gave it a Cambodian twist and made it even more aromatic by adding kaffir lime leaves and a lemongrass stalk. Note that the limes and mint should only be lightly muddled.
If you add kaffir lime leaf and lemongrass, just crush one kaffir lime leaf slightly and only bash the base of the lemongrass stalk – you want to release the aromas and flavours without smashing your ingredients.
Caipirinha Recipe for Brazil’s National Cocktail
Unlike drinks such as Italy’s limoncello, which is best sipped in the late afternoon southern Italian sun after a long slow lunch and doesn’t travel so well if you live in cold climates, the caipirinha does, as long as you take a bottle of proper Brazilian cachaça home with you. It’s another of the best Christmas cocktail recipes to make if you’re spending Christmas Day in the sun.
In my opinion, most bartenders fail the caipirinha test. Given that Brazil’s national cocktail is made with just a few ingredients, cachaça (an alcoholic beverage made from fermented sugar cane), sugar and limes, how can it be so hard? And while it is simple, it’s simply brilliant when it’s done right.
Firstly, it’s all about the Cachaça. There are two main types, industrial and artisanal. It’s easy to tell the difference as the industrial Cachaça is generally clear and cheap and the artisanal Cachaça is darker and relatively more expensive. More on how to make the perfect caipirinha on the link below.
Limoncello and Cherry Liqueur Recipes
These recipes for homemade limoncello and cherry liqueur bring back so many memories. When we were in Alberobello, Puglia, the caretaker of our trullo, Maria gave us a bottle of her own olive oil, taught us how to make pasta with a colossal bunch of pomodorini (her homegrown tomatoes) that she hung in our kitchen, and on a pizza-making day left us a jar of her marinated olives and her dried oregano.
On our drive to Maria’s home another day, she pointed out her olive groves, cherry trees, grape vines, and vegetable garden, and during lunch she served her own wine.
When Maria and Anna, an Alberobello guide, took us to Anna’s family’s restaurant, her parents Maria and Michele served us their own liqueurs, a potent, fragrant limoncello while Michele’s specialty, a cherry liqueur. These are the recipes. They were not only wonderful souvenirs but they make the best Christmas liqueurs.
Please do let us know if you make any of our best Christmas cocktail recipes in the comments below as we’d love to know how they turn out for you.