Tis the Season: 10 Cocktails that Taste Better than Gluhwein

by Maris Callahan on December 15, 2009


This past weekend I took a little field trip with Ang to the Christkindlmarket in Chicago’s Daley Center. Getting there was somewhat of an adventure – when a wrong turn almost led us straight into a pop-up church on the side of the road.

No, I’m not joking.

But the real adventure didn’t begin until we made our way up to the counter and ordered the festive boots full of gluhwein, a spiced red wine that seems to be somewhat (in)famous around these parts.

Now, I’m not a big red wine drinker but I’m also not one to say no to wine in the afternoon. That is, I’m not one to say no to holiday tradition.

At the risk of sounding like a cynic, the wine was not good. And to matters even more grim, it tasted worse and worse as it cooled off. Though we wound up sacrificing our wine to the trash cane, the afternoon did get me thinking: I write a food blog about cooking for twenty-somethings and not once have I created a cocktail concoction to share with you.

So, in honor of holiday party season and in honor of my first and last boot of spiced wine, I bring you some of my favorite sounding cocktails and spirits from around the interwebs. I haven’t tried them all (really, I don’t usually drink in the afternoon) but someday, I might and if you’re throwing a holiday get-together this season, you should too.

Photo: RealSimple.com

Ten Cocktails for the Holidays:

  1. Inn Cuisine’s Big Mill’s Festive Cranberry Liqueur: Two words. Cranberry. Liqueur.
  2. YumSugar’s White Cosmopolitan: All the trimmings of a classic Cosmopolitan, but it won’t stain your new couch or white carpet.
  3. Elana’s Pantry’s Orange Fizzie Cocktail: There’s no alcohol in this, but I don’t see why you couldn’t add some.
  4. The Kitchn’s Hot Rum Cow: Now I personally despise Angostura bitters so this would make me run the other way. But imagine the giggles! “What are you drinking honey?” “A hot rum cow!”
  5. Recipe Girl’s Candy Cane Martini: Why eat a candy cane when you can drink one?
  6. Baking Bites’ Raspberry Mojito: Just because the summer is eons away doesn’t mean you can’t crank up the heat and pretend you need to cool off with these sweet, minty refreshers.
  7. Pink of Perfection’s Classic Martini: I’ve never been one for a martini. Or one for drinking straight vodka. For some, a simple, unfettered beverage might be the perfect accompaniment to a big meal.
  8. Phoo-D’s Mulled Apple Cider with Rum: Mulled Cider > Mulled Wine. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.
  9. Fine Living’s Peppermint Patty: Now, you’re speaking my language.
  10. Good Life Eats’ Wassail: A hot spiced cider punch associated with Christmas, Wassail is often spiked with dark rum. It can also be enjoyed sans booze, by the mugful for breakfast or as an afternoon pick-me-up.

Tell me – what are your favorite holiday cocktails??

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Daryl December 15, 2009 at 5:13 am

What a fun post! Maybe it should ne called Gluewine


kat December 15, 2009 at 9:28 am

We’ve decided to create a cocktail for New Year’s this year so thanks for the inspirations…


Sandie (Inn Cuisine) December 15, 2009 at 11:00 am

Giggling @ your wine adventures at Christkindlmarket! Aside from the wine, did you have fun?
Thanks for mentioning the Cranberry Liqueur (I have a batch steeping as I type). Also, keep your eye out on the blog—there’s a super duper seasonal cocktail recipe coming up (from a brunch I attended over the weekend). Dangerously delish!


Good Taste. Healthy Me December 15, 2009 at 12:43 pm

There is an absolutely delicious drink that would be great this time of year. It’s called a Paralyzer (I know, completely ridiculous sounding). It’s strong though and tastes yum!
1 part tequlia
1 part kahlua
1 part vodka
4 parts light cream
4 parts coke
Combine all in glass with ice. I know it sounds totally disgusting but it’s amazing! I just had an epiphany. To make it more christmasy I might switch out the light cream for eggnog…. ;)
BTW this is obviously a splurge drink. The calories in this baby are insane!


thatShortChick December 15, 2009 at 1:09 pm

raspberry mojitos, yes please! sorry to hear the gluhwein was a no-go.


so Spiffy Girl Japan April Marie December 16, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Fun.. a white cosmo sounds right up my alley..


mandy December 16, 2009 at 11:32 pm

I had wassail the other day for the first time ever. Needless to say, it won’t be the last. The orange fizzie cocktail sounds fun as well. I have been enjoying a wine that I found through a local winery — its a concord grape wine with cinnamon and clove. Its delicious hot or cold.


healthy sports December 17, 2009 at 11:09 am

Love your cup.. where did you get that?


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