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30 Christmas Bourbon Cocktails to Make for Holiday Parties


These Christmas Bourbon Cocktails are just right to enjoy by the fire or at a holiday party. If you’re looking for simple bourbon cocktails to make for a crowd and sip all holiday season long, browse this collection of easy recipes.

Collage of images of holiday cocktails made with bourbon.
Let’s make some simple Bourbon Christmas cocktails!

Christmas cocktails with bourbon are great for all your holiday parties!

Bourbon is something I was introduced to by my husband’s family and is part of their holiday tradition. Over the years, I’ve learned to love it and now enjoy adding it to our Christmas celebrations too.

Like panettone and funny family Christmas Cards, bourbon cocktails are something I look forward to as we head into the holiday season.

And since bourbon is a classic cocktail ingredient – it’s featured in popular drinks like an Old Fashioned and Manhattan – these bourbon holiday cocktails are sure to be a hit at any Christmas party. Or even sipped while playing a Hallmark drinking game.

Why Simple Bourbon Drinks are Great at Christmas

Not only can it be sipped on its own, but bourbon is a great liquor to use in cocktail recipes. It brings a complex and warm flavor with notes of spices.

From festive cocktails featuring seasonal ingredients to refreshing drinks perfect for a party, you’ll find a variety of delicious easy Christmas cocktails to enjoy this season.

Sometimes you can taste smokiness from the barrel aging process. And it is often described as tasting like vanilla with hints of caramel and oak.

Related post: Pine Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

It can be served hot or cold so it works well in classic drink recipes like a Bourbon Mule and also hot toddies.

Plus it pairs perfectly with other holiday flavors like cranberry, cider, and cinnamon which you’ll find in the collection below.

A bottle of bourbon also makes a great hostess gift idea as it’s a great way to toast the holidays! And it’s also FREAKING AMAZING in my Bourbon Cake recipe.

Candy cane martinis on a table with text next to it.

Simple Bourbon Cocktails for Christmas

This list of Bourbon Holiday Cocktails is full of drink recipes that have yummy seasonal flavors perfect to enjoy during the holidays. If a recipe calls for whiskey, you can simply swap it out for bourbon.

How to Make Your Drink Look More Festive

This list features some of the best bourbon drinks to make for friends and family but they may not look as festive as you want.

To make any drink look more holiday-ready you can do a few things. Take a look at the ingredients and see if there is one that would work well as a garnish. A cinnamon stick is a great idea. So is a sprig of rosemary.

You can sugar any fruit or herb, like cranberries or rosemary and it makes it look like it’s dusted with snow.

Add a green herb garnish to any drink that is reddish to bring out those traditional holiday colors.

Or use a Christmas-themed drink stirrer or cocktail picks.

How to Pick the Best Bourbon

Before you can start preparing these bourbon holiday cocktails, you’re going to need to find the perfect bottle for your drinks. But if you’re not a bourbon expert, knowing what to look for can be difficult! 

One of the most confusing parts about purchasing bourbon is understanding the difference between bourbon and whiskey.

While bourbon is a whiskey, whiskey isn’t always a bourbon. Although the process of making whiskey and bourbon is similar – both are made from a fermented grain mash and aged in wood barrels – the characteristics of each alcohol variety are slightly different.

As you search for the best bottle of bourbon for your next holiday get-together, look for these characteristics:


The key to distinguishing between a bourbon and rye whiskey is corn. To be labeled a bourbon, the liquor must be made with at least 51% corn mash. Brands featuring more corn are often sweeter.

Bourbons with a high rye content (more than 10%) typically have a spicier flavor while bourbons with a high wheat content usually have a nuttier flavor.


In addition to its ingredients, bourbon also has a time limit on its aging process. Bourbon must be aged for at least four years, so it’s a good idea to check the age statement on your bottle. Typically, the longer the bourbon has been aged, the bolder the flavor will be.

Where it’s Made

While whiskey can be produced anywhere in the world, bourbon can only be made in America. Kentucky is the most popular distilling location in the US, but bourbon can be brewed anywhere in the country.


If you’re searching for a pure bourbon that’s full of flavor, looking for cask strength or barrel-proof bourbon is the way to go.

While most bourbon varieties are cut with water to reach the distiller’s desired proof, cask strength bourbon is poured straight from the barrel to the bottle, creating a spiced, woody flavor in the whiskey.

Collage of bourbon cocktails to make for holiday gatherings.

For Making Cocktails

The points above are awesome to know if you are planning to drink the bourbon straight. When you are planning drinks made with bourbon whiskey, you can worry a little bit less about the nuances as the other drink ingredients will blend the flavors.

Bourbon can be very expensive, and those bottles are typically better for sipping. Look for a mid-priced bottle that still tastes great, but you won’t feel bad about using in a mixed drink.

Some bourbon brands I enjoy, that are affordable and also great for using in Christmas Cocktails with bourbon are:

Can you substitute Whiskey for Bourbon

These can easily be Christmas Whiskey Cocktails by using whiskey in place of the bourbon in any of the recipes.

In my opinion, you can substitute whiskey for bourbon in any cocktail recipe. Bourbon tends to be slightly sweeter but for the most part, they are similar enough to substitute and most people (who aren’t liquor experts) probably won’t be able to tell the difference.

More easy holiday cocktails

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  1. Sitting by a fire with one of these bourbon cocktails and a book in hand is going to be on my to-do list as long as it’s cold outside! Love how many options you have to pick from here, thanks for sharing!

  2. I haven’t tried very many bourbon cocktails. I think these all look great though. I think I would really like the cherry bourbon milkshake!

  3. These Christmas bourbon cocktails all look so tasty. I’m thinking pomegranate bourbon punch for this next party.

  4. Oooh, there might be a “mocktail” version of the Spiked Bourbon Apple Cider cocktail happening in our home on New Year’s Eve! What an extensive list of bourbon cocktails! You have something for everyone!

  5. I’m adding many of these bourbon cocktails to my Christmas drink menu. Especially that cherry bourbon milkshake, it looks fantastic!

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