23 Merry Bourbon Christmas Cocktails to Try This Festive Season

December 13, 2023 by Helena Lombard

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It’s the holiday season which means it’s time to wind down with your family and get festive with our very merry Christmas whiskey cocktails. Served hot or cold, on ice or straight, before dinner or after, these holiday bourbon cocktails will go down a real treat with whiskey lovers and novices alike! 

1. Old Fashioned

Top view of rich Old Fashioned Cocktails with Orange peel garnish

If you’re feeling a little nostalgic and yearning for the good old days, serve up an Old Fashioned. This is probably one of the most iconic bourbon Christmas cocktails out there. 

While there are many variations of this classic drink, we love the taste of the original, and you will too. To make one, you’ll need good quality bourbon, simple syrup, aromatic bitters, ice—and good company to share it with. 

2. Brown Sugar Old Fashioned

Brown Sugar Old Fashioned with cherries and orange slices

The addition of brown sugar gives the original Old Fashioned cocktail a more profound and richer taste with hints of caramel. Simply muddle brown sugar, water, and bitters in a glass until the sugar has dissolved. Then add the bourbon and ice and stir it up like a traditional Old Fashioned. Finally, garnish with orange peel and cinnamon for the taste of a dessert in a glass.

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3. Apple Butter Old Fashioned

Apple Butter Old Fashioned in tumbler with apple slices and cinnamon sticks

With the warm and inviting spiced flavours of apple pie in every sip, the Apple Butter Old Fashioned cocktail is one of the tastiest whiskey Christmas cocktails you can serve this holiday season. Made with real apple butter (that you’ll be making from scratch!), this cocktail has vibrant flavours and is a wonderful sweet sipper to end your Christmas feast.  

4. Bourbon Apple Cider

Close up of Bourbon Apple Cider cocktails on the rocks with fresh apple garnish

‘Tis the season that begs to be draped in comfort—and a Bourbon Apple Cider is one of those winter bourbon cocktails that will make your cheeks glow. The best part is that you can make this in a big batch, which is perfect for festive season get-togethers. So call your friends, and get merry! 

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5. Mint Julep

Refreshing Mint Julep Cocktails served in copper cups

This is one of the easiest bourbon holiday cocktails you’ll make this season. Most famous as the official drink of the Kentucky Derby in the US, this minty bourbon drink is delicious enough to serve all year round and simple enough to mix together during a busy Christmas cocktail party. The only liquor in a Mint Julep is bourbon, so you’ll want to make sure you reach for a top-shelf bottle. Best served as a refreshing welcome drink before dinner. 

6. Bourbon Watermelon

Refreshing Bourbon and Watermelon cocktails

While watermelon feels more like summer than Christmas, adding bourbon puts the Murricane (named after famous actor Bill Murray) firmly on our list of best Christmas cocktails. Taste-wise, it’s an exciting drink. Basil, elderflower liqueur, and cracked black pepper elevate the bourbon taste to something complex and memorable.  

Read next: 11 Watermelon Cocktail Recipes to Impress a Crowd

7. Hot Toddy

Hot Toddy cocktails

After a long day of Christmas festivities, a Hot Toddy cocktail is precisely what you’ll need on a cold evening to shake off the winter cold and get that fireplace feeling. This warm cocktail is best enjoyed as a nightcap just before bedtime. While a traditional Hot Toddy should be bourbon-based, this recipe lends itself to many different spirits and variations with only one firm rule: drink it while it’s hot. 

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8. Werther’s Hot Toddies

Warm Werther's Hot Toddy cocktails

As far as bourbon Christmas cocktails go, this is the one you’ll want to make for that sweet tooth in the family. This is one indulgent Hot Toddy made with Werther’s Original candies and caramel, and it’s easy to do. Rim serving mugs with crushed candies. Combine water, more candy, and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer until the candy has melted. Take off the heat and add lemon juice and bourbon. Pour into prepared mugs and enjoy!

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9. Bourbon Chai Toddy

Bourbon Chai Tea Toddy

Take the traditional hot toddy to a whole new spice level with the addition of chai tea. Its complex flavours of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and star anise elevates this toddy to absolute comfort in a mug. It is the epitome of cosiness and is simple to make with freshly brewed chai tea. Mixed with bourbon (or dark rum if that tickles your fancy), honey, and lemon juice and will warm you right up. This is one of the best holiday whiskey cocktails you can make to keep the cold at bay.

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10. Warm Christmas Cocktail

Warm milky Christmas cocktails

Creamy and packed with coconut, caramel, and vanilla flavours, you can make a batch of warm winter cocktails and keep it on the stove, ready to serve when the masses arrive for Christmas festivities. Simply warm up equal parts milk and coconut milk, sweeten to your liking with brown sugar, and flavour with some fresh vanilla pods. Once it’s simmering, whisk the mixture until frothy. Next, pour 60ml of bourbon into pre-heated mugs, add the foamy coconut milk and garnish with nutmeg or cinnamon.

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11. Italian Gentleman

Italian Gentleman Cocktail - The Italian Gentleman Cocktail, a sophisticated and flavourful drink.

The Italian Gentleman might remind you of a Negroni. Getting the taste of this drink right will be a delicate balancing act. We suggest you choose a bold bourbon so that the bitterness of the Campari doesn’t overpower the drink. To make one, shake together Campari, bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and orange bitters with ice. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass and add a twist of either orange or lemon peel to finish it off.    

Read next: 15 Whiskey Cocktails To Drink All Winter

12. Cinnamon Maple Bourbon Sour

Bourbon and Cinnamon Sour

This is a spin-off of the original Whiskey Sour, and it’s a must-have as part of your winter bourbon cocktails this Christmas season. A kiss of maple syrup and a sprinkling cinnamon give it a delicious Christmas taste. The lemon counteracts the sweetness, and the bourbon will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. All in all, this is a definite Christmas cocktail party winner.

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13. Kentucky Cousin

Kentucky Cousin cocktail with cherries and lime

If you love the taste of black tea and you also love bourbon, then you will no doubt enjoy the Kentucky Cousin cocktail. It’s a great cocktail to serve on Christmas Day to wind down after all the eating. It might remind you a little bit of a Mint Julep, if you’re a fan of those.

To make one, muddle together a lemon slice, 2 – 4 mint leaves, two brandied cherries (pipped), and 15ml simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Then add ice, 60ml bourbon, 30ml cherry liqueur, 30ml lemon juice, and 120ml cooled tea, and shake until nicely chilled (around 30 seconds). Finally, strain into a rocks glass and serve with a candied cherry. It’s a wonderfully unique taste that will surprise your guests – in a good way!

14. Cherry Sazerac

Cherry Sazerac cocktail

Speaking of strong cocktails, these bourbon Christmas drinks might leave your guests a little ‘absinthe-minded’, so slowly does it! The original Sazerac is a cognac and whiskey drink that originated in New Orleans as a traditional cocktail for Mardi Gras. The added maraschino cherry juice gives this version a sweeter taste.

To make one, add 30ml of absinthe to a chilled rocks glass and swirl it around. Discard any leftover absinthe. Add ice to a small cocktail shaker, then add 60ml rye whiskey, 1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice, 30ml cognac, and 2 dashes bitters, and stir until cold. Strain into the prepared rocks glass and garnish with a cherry and lemon peel.

15. Big Apple Manhattan

Editorial image of two Big Apple Manhattan cocktails on a table in a home lounge at Christmastime with festive decor

This Christmas cocktail party drink is an ode to New York winter. It is a spin-off of the timeless bourbon-based Manhattan with a fruity apple twist. To make one, fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add 60ml rye whiskey, 30ml apple brandy, and 2 dashes bitters. Next, strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with sliced apple or a brandied cherry. While scrumptious, it’s pretty potent, so proceed with caution.

16. Pickle Juice Whiskey Sours

Two Pickle Juice Whiskey Sour cocktails with pickle garnish

If you’ve ever had a Pickleback Shot (a shot of bourbon followed by a shot of pickle juice), you’ll really enjoy this Pickle Juice Whiskey Sour. To start, you’re going to rim a coupe glass with Old Bay seasoning. Then, in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add bourbon and pickle juice and shake it until cold. Next, strain into a glass and garnish with pickled cucumbers and lemon slices. A delicious and tangy cocktail best served before dinner.

17. Fireball Margarita

Editorial image of two Fireball Margarita cocktails on a table in a home lounge at Christmastime with festive decor

While this bourbon drink is more Taco Tuesday than Christmas cocktail, it’s a great contender to start your Christmas cocktail party. Fireball whiskey is made by ageing Canadian whiskey in American bourbon barrels and infused with natural cinnamon giving this bourbon its unique fireball taste. To make one Fireball Margarita, mix together 30ml Fireball Whiskey, 30ml orange liqueur, 30ml tequila, and 60ml margarita mix. Pour it over ice in a tall glass and garnish with a wedge of lime.   

18. New York Sour

New York Sour Cocktail

The New York Sour is a classic cocktail that has been enjoyed by bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts for over a century. This sophisticated twist on the Classic Whiskey Sour features a bold combination of whiskey, red wine, lemon juice, and sugar, creating a perfect balance of sweet and sour flavours. A timeless drink worthy of your best dinner party.

19. Spiked Hot Chocolate

Top view of three mugs of Ancho Reyes Hot Chocolate being poured. presented on a rustic wooden surface partially covered in a raw linen table cloth, with small cookies scattered around

When the weather cools, it’s time to make like the Aztecs and whip up this intensely rich and warmly spiced Tequila Hot Chocolate. Mexicans have been enjoying this boozy hot chocolate for thousands of years, and they were clearly on to a good thing! We’ve got options to make it dairy-free, vegan-friendly or as a mocktail, so you can rely on this Mexican Hot Chocolate cocktail to make a great dessert in a mug.

20. Bourbon Milk Punch

Clarified Milk Punch

Clarified Milk Punch is a refreshing cocktail with a rich history. Combining spirits, citrus, and spices, it undergoes a unique clarification process using milk. The milk binds with impurities, resulting in a clear liquid with a smooth texture. The final drink is balanced, subtly sweet, and provides a surprising clarity to its flavours. Typically made using Cognac and rum, it also goes down a treat with bourbon as its base spirit, especially if you want some caramel notes in the mix.

21. Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

Editorial image of two Cranberry Bourbon cocktails on a table in a home lounge at Christmastime with festive decor

Cranberry cocktail recipes are always super popular around the holidays, and this one is as easy to pour as it is to enjoy. To make one, add 45ml bourbon, 30ml sweet vermouth, 60ml orange juice, 30ml unsweetened cranberry juice, and 30ml simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and shake until cold. Fine strain into a serving glass over fresh ice, and garnish with sugared cranberries and a rosemary sprig if preferred.

22. Amaretto Sour

Two Amaretto Sour cocktails on a table outside with a typical scene in Florence on a sunny day as backdrop

An Amaretto Sour is a classic cocktail blending amaretto liqueur with fresh lemon juice and simple syrup. Shaken with ice, it delivers a harmonious mix of sweet and sour notes. The amaretto’s almond flavour, coupled with the citrusy zing, creates a well-balanced drink. Strained over ice, it’s a timeless, easy-to-enjoy cocktail with a delightful combination of flavours.

23. Christmas Kentucky Buck

Editorial image of two Christmas Kentucky Buck cocktails on a table in a home lounge at Christmastime with festive decor

If you love a Kentucky Mule, you’ve got to try the decidedly festive Christmas Kentucky Buck. To make one, add 60ml bourbon, 30ml lemon juice, and 30ml simple syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into an glass with fresh crushed ice. Top with 60ml club soda, and garnish with fresh cranberries before serving.

There you have it – 23 amazing bourbon Christmas cocktails to deck the halls this year. Tag us in your festive Instagram pictures, and remember to sign up for our newsletter to get the most sparkly holiday inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.


Eggnog is without a doubt the number one Christmas drink. It’s so popular that it’s enjoyed in 27 states across the US. 

With its hints of oak, caramel, and vanilla, bourbon goes well with apple cider, sweet vermouth, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, coffee, and soda water.   

Bourbon mixed with cranberry juice is called a Blizzard and it’s a wonderful and warming addition to your Bourbon Christmas cocktails. Making one is simple: add ice to a cocktail shaker, then pour in bourbon, unsweetened cranberry juice, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Give it a good shake and strain it into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with sliced lemon and cranberries. Happy sipping! 

There are loads of traditional Christmas drinks you can mix up on Christmas eve. For something sweet, make a Grasshopper cocktail or an Eggnog Martini. If you want something warming, there are loads of Hot Toddy variations you can try. And if you want the perfect ending to your Christmas feast try your hand at making an Old Fashioned or a festive Apple Butter Old Fashioned.  

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