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.
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.
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 recipes to enjoy this Christmas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
In my opinion, you can substitute whiskey for bourbon in any of these recipes. Bourbon tends to be slightly sweeter but for the most part, they are similar enough to substitute.
More easy holiday cocktails
- Try this Non-Dairy Bourbon Milk Punch. It’s totally unique and perfect for people who don’t want dairy in their drinks.
- You can easily add a little bourbon to my Mulled Spiced Cider for a delicious warm, wintery drink.
- If you’re not into bourbon, a classic Vodka and Cranberry is just right. It’s a gorgeous color and super tasty.
- Fireball and Eggnog is a super simple drink idea full of holiday flavors.
- Make a Holiday Moscow Mule if you like sipping something refreshing from a copper mug.
- Browse this list of Vodka Cocktails for Winter to find something yummy made with vodka instead.
- This Christmas Cosmo is so simple and has an amazing flavor with a simple homemade flavored syrup.
- If you love the bubbly, you need to check out this collection of Christmas Champagne Cocktails!