Christmas time is here, and that means everyone is eager to celebrate with gifts, holiday music, and maybe a Christmas cocktail loaded with holiday flavors. Beyond sipping on a hot chocolate by the fireplace or having a drink at the office holiday party, bars are starting to see more patrons looking for some extra cheer this winter season. To capitalize on this new tradition and to turn these guests into dedicated regulars, we're publishing some delicious Christmas cocktail recipes that any bar can use to commemorate the snowy season.

Some people might think Christmas cocktails need an expensive list of ingredients that most bartenders wouldn't encounter on a normal night. However, to make life a bit easier, we've concocted several Christmas drinks that use simple but recognizable holiday flavors like cranberries, peppermint, and cinnamon. These invoke that wintery feeling of winding down with family on Christmas morning, all without taking too much effort to make.

In most cases, bartenders will see that these festive cocktails are a simple variation on classic favorites. Sometimes you'll need to add a little extra ginger beer to a white Russian, utilize sparkling wine instead of lemon-lime soda, or just top off the glass with a little more sweet vermouth or allspice dram than usual. Other drinks like sangria can also be prepared before your bar opens for the night so your bartenders can serve patrons these cocktails as fast as they serve a shot of vodka. Just remember to serve the cocktails with some fun holiday cups to let patrons really feel like they're attending a Christmas party.

Cranberry juice Christmas drinks

Cranberries perfect for a Christmas cocktail drink at a bar.
Just looking at a cranberry can evoke the joy of Christmas. Photo by Yulia Khlebnikova / Unsplash

Red is probably the most recognizable color used to evoke some Christmas cheer. Thankfully you don't need to splurge on food coloring or mysteriously colored goop to get that red flavor into a drink. Below you'll find some cranberry juice cocktails that'll appeal to a patron's holiday spirit as much as their taste buds.

You can also make similar Christmas cocktails with pomegranate juice or any other naturally red-colored ingredient. Don't be afraid to experiment with various juices too. These experiments appeal to guests craving a different experience of Christmas drink besides the usual cranberry juice cocktail with vodka.

1. Cranberry bourbon Christmas cocktail

Barrels of bourbon stacked on top of each other for Christmas time.
Whiskey has a strong taste profile, making it perfect for a unique cranberry cocktail. Photo by Katherine Conrad / Unsplash

The cranberry bourbon Christmas cocktail is as simple as it sounds. Take some bourbon and elderflower liqueur, stir it in with sweetened or unsweetened cranberry juice, then fill up the rest of your cup with either a carbonated beverage like club soda or ginger beer for added flavor. Alternatively, if you mix pomegranate juice instead of simple syrup or cranberry juice, the drink will shine with a delicious sweet-tart flavor on the tongue. Some bars even include a sprig of fresh rosemary or a candy cane for an extra seasonal twist.

2. Jingle juice holiday punch

Holiday punch bowl poured into a cup for patrons
Pouring a cup of holiday punch gives a warm, home feeling to patrons. Photo by Trnava University / Unsplash

Just because you'd usually find a punch bowl at an office holiday party, that doesn't mean you can't create your own fun holiday punch to serve at your bar. Jingle juice holiday punch is a fun and tasty drink that anyone can make with a few simple ingredients like orange juice, pineapple juice, and of course, cranberry juice. However, since it is the holidays, don't forget to add a little extra alcohol alongside the usual holiday flavorings into the punch drink so patrons can feel like it's worth a purchase.

When deciding on the type of alcohol to use, try including more holiday-tasting ingredients. Dark rum, vanilla vodka, and peppermint schnapps are easy and versatile drinks you can include in your punch for a little extra alcohol. Don't hesitate to sprinkle in some fresh cranberries and pomegranate seeds for some extra red cheer and tangy flavor into your Christmas punch.

With the right bar point-of-sale system, you can get the right data for your success without any wait.

We recommend using your bar's point-of-sale system to see which flavors you can utilize from your best-selling drinks. If patrons at your bar prefer drinks with raspberry liqueur over vodka, add some of it to your jingle juice punch.

Wine-based Christmas cocktails

Christmas wine bottles on a rack for a nice Christmas cocktail at a bar.
With so many wines to choose from, there is plenty of wine-based cocktails to craft as well. Photo by Klara Kulikova / Unsplash

Patrons looking for a classier drink at a bar will always opt for a glass of red or white wine. While wine isn't everyone's alcohol of choice, it's still a versatile drink for different types of occasions. Contrary to what some beverage puritans believe, wines can even be used as an ingredient in crafting delicious Christmas cocktails. Since wines possess a less pungent alcoholic taste, wine-based Christmas cocktails are great for anyone looking for a smooth drinking experience instead of a sweet-tart flavor.

3. White wine holiday spritzer

two women talking while holding drinking glasses
The white wine spritzer always leaves a patron smiling. Photo by Michael Discenza / Unsplash

The white wine holiday spritzer is a classic bubbly drink reminiscent of the holiday parties from Mad Men. Simply mix together your white wine of choice along with a sweet carbonated beverage like ginger beer or lemon-lime soda, then add a dash of whatever juice to solidify your preferred flavor profile. For some more fun flavors, you can also add specific fruits that would pair well with the drink. While it may look simple at first, this fun drink is probably the most versatile Christmas cocktail out there since it remains a beautiful-looking beverage for the festive season, all without being too strong with its alcohol. Just don't forget to serve with ice cubes to keep the drink cool and refreshing.

4. Red wine holiday sangria

Fruits and spices in a pot of slow cooked sangria for a Christmas cocktail.
A deliciously slow-cooked sangria could become your bar's next hidden gem. Photo by Hannah Pemberton / Unsplash

While white wine spritzers fit into any mood, sangrias offer a richer and more nuanced flavor profile. Sangrias are more similar to jungle juice since you're mixing a series of flavors together to essentially craft a sweet, alcoholic stew. If you want to serve your sangria hot, try preparing your ingredients (including the wine) in a slow cooker. This method might seem unconventional to some people, but a slow-cooked sangria with the right ingredients creates a drink with deeper holiday spices and flavors. Throw in some mint, mulberries, or any winter citrus to evoke the Christmas cheer after every sip.

Ginger holiday cocktails

Ginger and cinnamon sticks next to a cup of ginger Christmas cocktail.
Ginger in a Christmas cocktail unlocks a hidden Christmas flavor. Photo by Julia Topp / Unsplash

Ginger is probably the most unappreciated flavor in the Christmas canon thanks to its sweet yet somewhat tart taste. While we might take it for granted now, ginger at one point used to be the ideal ingredient and flavor for different Christmas celebrations throughout the world. Nowadays, alongside delicious gingerbread cookies on Christmas morning, ginger is mostly associated with gingerbread houses adorned with frosting as snow and gumdrops for windows.

For bars wanting to capture that flavor, we've included some Christmas cocktails that utilize ginger beer, ginger syrup, or even gingerbread cookies as the main source of flavor. As always, don't be shy to change things up a bit to fit your bar's image and holiday vibe. Patrons, especially those going on a bar crawl, love to see something new they haven't tried yet.

5. Gingerbread White Russian

Gingerbread house with candy and other Christmas decorations.
Gingerbread will always evoke a nostalgic Christmas feeling for your drinks. Photo by Randalyn Hill / Unsplash

White Russians are creamy cocktails that make the patron forget they're sipping on vodka most times. To add some extra holiday gingerbread to a white Russian, you only need to slightly alter the classic recipe with a little splash of ginger flavoring. We recommend using ginger liqueur to make the white Russian doesn't lose its smooth flavoring. Some recipes recommend mixing in some coffee liqueur, then sprinkling in some brown sugar and vanilla extract to let that ginger flavor shine. Again, don't be afraid to experiment and make your own variations on these classic drinks. Why not also include a peppermint white Russian?

6. Yule mule

Person holding stainless steel spoon in brown ceramic mug.
This variation of the Moscow mule is perfect for a cheerful time at a bar. Photo by Gary Meulemans / Unsplash

The yule mule is another variation on a classic drink that any bar can place on their holiday drink menu. This slightly altered Moscow mule still uses most of the same ingredients, like ginger beer, vodka, and fresh lime juice. However, to transform your Moscow mule into a Yule mule, you only need to add fresh cranberry juice or sugared cranberries alongside some rosemary for extra flavor. Christmas cocktails like the Yule mule are great for bars since they don't demand a ton of labor nor do they require a ton of different ingredients from several supermarkets.

white ceramic mug with happy new year print
There's more to a Christmas cocktail than adding vodka to your hot chocolate. Photo by Kate Laine / Unsplash

While we can't cover every Christmas cocktail your bar can serve, here are a few popular options to include on your drink menu this Christmas season. As always, we highly recommend that you play around with these Christmas cocktail recipes and create your own variations with a festive twist. At the end of the day, you want your patrons to enjoy drinks that responsibly lull them into the festive spirit.

7. White Christmas martini

While this Christmas cocktail might sound a bit more complicated than the average vodka or gin martini, a white Christmas martini is perhaps the simplest drink listed here. Simply mix together the vodka or gin of your choice alongside some cinnamon and heavy cream. If possible, try experimenting with vanilla vodka or another cream-based liquor like Baileys Irish Cream or RumChata. These will make great creamy cocktails thanks to their undiluted flavors.

brown wooden sticks on white table
Cinnamon can become a secret weapon when flavoring a cocktail. Photo by Diana Polekhina / Unsplash

With that Christmas Martini looking like snow itself, add some chocolate powder to the rim to make this vodka cocktail. These gorgeous cocktails are great for those guests who always post themselves celebrating with a drink on Instagram. Make sure you place your own bar's social media account information in different places so guests can tag your bar on their own social media posts.

8. Spiced apple cider hot toddy

sliced apples on cup with cinamon
Apples and cinnamon are always a great combination for a Christmas cocktail or any drink. Photo by Tijana Drndarski / Unsplash

A hot toddy will always be the cool older sibling to the hot chocolate. Of course, since a regular hot toddy is just a mixture of hot water, lemon, honey, whiskey, and spices, there's some extra cheer you can add to turn that drink into a delicious combination of holiday flavors. Instead of water, use apple cider to give the drink to get an extra pick me up for anyone left shivering in the cold. For a more dessert feeling, throw a small dollop of whole milk or heavy cream. Keep some cinnamon sticks on hand.

Don't forget these cocktail tips for your bar

Bartender in a bar restaurant pouring a crafting a Christmas cocktail with tequila and lemon.
There's more to a bar than a delicious cocktail. Photo by Aurélien Lemasson-Théobald / Unsplash

Now that you've got some delicious Christmas cocktails for your bar during the holidays, it's also a good time to assess your drink menu as well. Below you'll find some simple changes that any bar can make to ensure their more patrons can safely enjoy their time at your business.

1. Include zero-proof cocktail options

Bartender preparing a delicate Christmas cocktail with an orange peel.
Crafting a zero-proof cocktail isn't as hard as it sounds. Photo by Louis Hansel / Unsplash

It doesn't matter if it's the middle of summer or the peak of the holiday season. Bars are a great place to hang out with friends, coworkers, or an anonymous crowd celebrating the upcoming New Year. That means, with all sorts of people walking into your bar, there's some great potential to sell unique zero-proof cocktails to patrons who'd prefer to stay sober for the night.

Zero-proof cocktails, also known as mocktails, are delicious crafted beverages that go beyond a simple virgin beverage. Instead of using traditional alcoholic ingredients, zero-proof cocktails use a combination of different fruit juices, syrups, and teas to create a unique flavor profile. For example, most mocktails use maple syrup instead of the usual alcoholic orange liqueur to get a sweet-tart flavor.

Man pouring a mocktail for Christmas time at the bar.
You might need some different ingredients, but crafting a mocktail still requires the same creative drive. Photo by Ash Edmonds / Unsplash

Your zero-proof cocktails don't need to be too elaborate either. You can just substitute the alcohol in your typical Christmas cocktail recipes with other types of ingredients like vanilla ice cream or ginger ale. You can even offer a simple hot chocolate or other traditional Christmas drink to warm up any designated driver so they aren't left shivering in the cold.

2. Ensure safety with an angel shot system

Bathroom sign in a bar for an angel shot.
An angel shot sign is usually placed near the restroom for safety and discretion. Photo by Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

Everyone wants to have fun at the bar, especially while sipping on a festive drink during the holiday season. Unfortunately, certain guests have a tendency to make other patrons feel uncomfortable despite all the holiday cheer. Women in bars are particularly susceptible to aggressive men who won't leave them alone. Since every bar wants its patrons to feel safe, more businesses are starting to implement an angel shot system as a part of their overall drink menu.

While an angel shot might sound like a typical drink order, it is actually a unique code. If a patron ever feels stuck in an uncomfortable situation, they can order an angel shot from the bartender. Depending on the type of angel shot the bartender will then take the necessary actions to ensure their safety, such as escorting the patron to their guest or even calling the police.

3. Prepare Christmas cocktails ahead of time

Lemons sliced at a bar counter in preparation for a Christmas cocktail drink.
Don't stick it to the last minute to slice up lemons and prepare those Christmas cocktails. Photo by Daniel Herron / Unsplash

Sometimes, the hardest thing about making Christmas cocktails is all the extra steps needed to make the drink feel like it's made for the holiday season. We all know that it can take a bit too much time to make a drink, complete a transaction, and serve the bar patron. To help speed up your bar's serving time, try preparing some simple Christmas cocktails before your bar opens up for the night. That way, you can simply pour your cocktail into a cup for a patron without any extra delay.

With the right point-of-sale in your bar, you can also cut down on your labor costs. SpotOn's labor-management software integrated with the POS system enabled Adalina to save back-office hours in their scheduling, all while saving nearly $500-800 each week.

Don’t let your point-of-sale system get in the way of serving your guests, especially when they’re all eager to celebrate Christmas and the start of the new year.

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