My parents did not incorporate much alcohol into our holidays. Mind! They were not teetotalers. We would have wine with the Christmas dinner – usually a German Riesling-  but that was basically it.

Only Grandmother Spo “liked a Christmas cocktail”. She insisted on having one every night. I used to worry about this, but I later learned she drank only one and it was really weak.  It was usually scotch and soda, but Christmas was the exception. Like the 12 days of Christmas, she liked something different each night between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It was always only one drink/night, but at least she was interested in doing things different. It seemed a festive thing to do.

So – in honor of Grandmother and her Christmas drinks, here are a few hohohos for the season.

Mulled Wine

2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

5 cardamom pods

3 black peppercorns

4 whole cloves

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups water

1 (750-ml) bottle dry red wine

1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise

1 small orange, thinly sliced

1 small lemon, thinly sliced

Special equipment: a 6- by 4-inch piece of cheesecloth; kitchen string

Wrap cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, peppercorns, and cloves in cheesecloth and tie with string. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a 5-quart heavy pot, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then add spice bag, wine, vanilla bean, and fruit. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.

Santa’s Pole (my favorite holiday drink)

1 can 7-UP

1 shot peppermint schnapps

1 shot vodka

2 splashes of either Grenadine or Hawaiian Punch

Mix all; pour over ice in a highball glass.


1 ounce Triple Sec

1 ounce brown creme de cacao

2 scoops vanilla ice cream

combine all in a blender until smooth and serve.


3/4 ounce blue curacao

2 ounces heavy cream

1/2 once white creme de cacao

1 1/2 ounce tequila

1/2 cup ice cubes

mix everything in a shaker, strain into a highball glass with ice.

Santa Shots

1 part Peppermint Schnapps

I part Green  creme de menthe

1 part grenadine

Put the schnapps in first. pour the creme de menthe over the back of the spoon to make a layer. repeat with the grenadine.

When completed there should be a layer of red, green, and clear.

The Grinch (I)

2 oz. Midori Melon Liqueur
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon simple syrup
Maraschino cherry for garnish

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
Shake well.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

The Grinch (II)
Make an apple martini and add the maraschino cherry.

Hot Toddy

1 oz brandy, whiskey or rum

1 Tbsp honey

1/4 lemon

1 cup hot water

1 tea bag

  1. Coat the bottom of a mug or an Irish coffee glass with honey.
  2. Add the liquor and the juice of the lemon quarter.
  3. On the side, heat water in a tea kettle and add the tea bag to make hot tea.
  4. Pour the steaming tea into the glass and stir.