Christmas Cheers: Traditional Christmas Drinks in 10 Countries

It’s fair to say that, thanks to the commercialization of this Christian-based holiday, traditional Christmas drinks now carry a hint of sophistication. But, what if we told you that not too many moons ago, Christmas wasn’t the conservative, family-oriented holiday you know today? What if, instead, it began as a series of wild, uninhibited, and alcohol-fueled parties that consisted of dancing and excessive drinking? 

Well, whether you object to this holiday’s controversial beginnings or not, one thing is certain; our modern Christmas wouldn’t be the celebration we know today without alcohol. And, as history would have it, traditional Christmas drinks now form part of holiday culture all over the world! Of course, the ‘scandalous’ party element has long since taken a back seat. And, for now, family and friends gather to feast and sip on their favorite holiday concoctions. Keep reading to find out more about Christmas drinks in different countries and how you can make the holidays special with drinks! 

traditional christmas drinks with gingerbread cookies and christmas decorations.

Why We Make Traditional Christmas Drinks: The History of Alcohol at Christmas

Stuffed turkey, cranberry sauce, and pudding aside, it’s easy to forget in these modern times that Christmas began with the alleged birth of Jesus Christ. Although the actual date of his birth has never been proven, Christians associated his conception with the Spring equinox. And, assuming a 9-month pregnancy, the date of his birth was marked as December 25th. Celebrations then took place each year from the 17th to the 23rd of December. 

These celebrations often created a period of chaos, with excessive drinking and unruly behavior within the community. Yes, the people of the Middle Ages were literally going ham. Drinking had become so synonymous with Christmas that by 1644, English Puritans banned the celebration altogether until 1659. A book written by Stephen Nissenbaum called ‘The Battle For Christmas’ describes how Victorian entrepreneurs like Dickens and his 20th-century successors domesticated the Christmas season into what now represents family, charity, and has a great emphasis on children. 

In the present day, although Christmas isn’t the unruly carnival season it once was, there’s still room for being ‘merry’. Thanks to pop culture, and society’s love for jiggle juice, Christmas remains linked to liquor. And, if (which is actually a ‘when’) you happen to get drunk at your family’s Christmas Eve dinner party, your biggest concern is probably the discerning look from mom. 

10 Traditional Christmas Drinks: Merry-Go-Round The World

The silly season isn’t complete without traditional Christmas drinks. And, the world agrees. Well, at least these 10 countries do! Below are a few merry concoctions drunk during the holidays around the world: 

Mexico: Ponche Navideño

Known as a tropical country, it’s no surprise that the traditional Christmas drink of Mexico has a fruity twist. This warm Christmas punch translates into ‘punch with a sting’, as the recipe includes guava, apple, pear, raisins, orange slices, Mexican apricot, and brown sugar. The ‘sting’ comes from the added brandy or tequila. 

England | UK: Wassail

When a drink has its own Christmas carol, you know it means business. The famous drink in the ‘Here we come a-wassailing Christmas song is a toast to good health and celebration. It is a hot-mulled cider that includes sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and orange juice. Of course, modern versions are spiked with rum or brandy. 

Italy: Vin Brûlé

Around late November or early December, Christmas markets begging to appear all over Italy. And the one thing you can be sure to find is Vin Brûlé. This hot, spiced mulled wine is made with fruity wine and ingredients such as honey, orange peels, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, pepper, and lemon.

Venezuela: Ponche Crema

Similar to the Christmas drink staple; eggnog, this Venezuelan version was born all the way back in 1900. And, is the product of experimenting with creating drinks using traditional Venezuelan cuisine. The original traditional recipe includes milk, eggs, sugar, and the purest grape alcohol. However, over the years, Venezuelan families have added their own ingredients like condensed milk, lemon peel, cinnamon, and rum. 

Australia: Sangria 

Since it’s usually hot around Christmas time down under, Australians opt for something a little different from the warm rum-infused drinks that other countries enjoy. The best part about making Sangria is that it has no rules. You can use red, white, or rose wine and add ingredients like orange juice, ginger ale, sugar, and more to liven it up. As long as it’s chilled, you’ve made the perfect Aussie Christmas drink!

traditional christmas drinks eggnog with cinnamon sticks and pine cones.

Spain: Sherry

We know what you’re thinking. Sherry is a sickly sweet drink that you find in the back of Grandma’s secret liquor cabinet. But, that isn’t (always) true. Sherry wines range from the driest to the sweetest in the world, and Spaniards have a great appreciation for them. A bone-dry sherry is often a popular aperitif served before Christmas lunch as part of Spanish holiday traditions. 

USA: Eggnog

As probably one of the most notorious traditional Christmas drinks of our time, there’s no way Eggnog wasn’t making it on this list. Deriving from a British Medieval milk punch, it is traditionally prepared with egg whites, egg yolk, heavy cream, and milk and seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg. Of course, a dash of rum is added for that extra kick.

Colombia: Canelazo

Canelazo is a warm and comforting drink that is not only drank during the Christmas season but whenever the weather is cold or when there is rainfall. It is made by mixing ‘Aguardiente’ (their national alcoholic beverage also known as ‘firewater’) with sugar cane and adding the mixture to boiling water with cinnamon.

Germany: Feuerzangenbowle

If you can’t pronounce the name, you probably can’t handle it. Kidding. Sort of. This traditional German Christmas drink also goes by the name ‘German Fire Punch’, which you can already imagine is not for the faint of heart. Drank during Christmas and New Year’s, Feuerzangenbowle is a type of mulled wine mixed with rum. It is made by placing a sugar cone over the fire while allowing the caramelizing sugar to melt into the mulled wine under the rack. 

Greece: Tsipouro

We have a lot of thanks to give to the Greeks when it comes to the creation of alcoholic beverages. And their traditional Christmas drink is no exception. Made especially for the holiday season, Tsipouro includes a blend of whiskey, brown sugar, cloves, and thin slices of apple. This mixture is left in a bowl for a few days (usually a week) and is boiled with water. The mixture is strained and served warm.

How to Make A Christmas Cocktail: A Not-So-Traditional Christmas Drink Recipe

Now it’s time to take tradition into your own hands and make a delicious Christmas drink! Follow the simple steps below to create a quick and easy holiday drink: 

What You’ll Need (Makes one drink)

  • 2 ounces of vodka 
  • ½ ounces of elderflower liquor 
  • ⅓ cup of squeezed clementine or blood orange juice 
  • ginger beer 
  • pomegranate arils (for topping) 
  • 1 frig fresh thyme or mint


  1. Add vodka, elderflower liquor, and clementine juice to a jug. Chill in the fridge before serving. 
  2. Before serving, add ice, ginger beer, and pomegranate arils with thyme or mint garnish 
  3. Sip and be merry! 
traditional red christmas drink with berries on table with candlelight.

Happy Holidays From DG!

We hope this article has you excited for the silly season, and ready to try some new drinks over the holidays!

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