Old Fashioned European Christmas Holiday Drinks

Gluhwein is immensely popular in German Christmas markets. Alongside all the stalls selling baubles and carved wooden toys, there will always be several selling hot wurst and hot gluhwein. This is a great drink to serve to carol singers or anyone who has been outdoors shovelling snow at Christmas.


  • 1 bottle inexpensive red wine
  • 2 inch slice fresh ginger
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 180 ml (6 fl oz, 3/4 cup) brandy
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange, studded with 6 cloves


  1. Gently heat all the ingredients.
  2. Strain into heatproof glasses or mugs, and finish with the orange slices.

English Mulled Wine

This drink has been a favourite in England for centuries. It’s similar to Gluhwein but more spicy.


  • 1 bottle inexpensive red wine
  • 2 heaped tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Rind of 1 orange, grated
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 60ml (2fluid ounces) sloe gin, if liked. (optional)


  1. In a saucepan, heat the wine, orange juice and rind, sugar, bay leaf and spices.
  2. When everything has dissolved, taste and correct the sugar.
  3. Bring to the boil briefly.
  4. Remove from the heat. If you are using the sloe gin, stir this in now.
  5. Strain into a large jug to remove the grated rind of the orange.
  6. Pour into mugs and serve hot.

The Snowball

The Snowball seems such a Sixties and Seventies drink, but with a name like that it gives any Winter party a cute period flavour.


For each glass you need

  • 45 ml (1 ½ fl ounce) advocaat
  • Lemonade
  • 7 ml (¼ fluid ounce) fresh squeezed lemon juice


Pour the advocaat into a ice filled highball glass. Top it up with lemonade. Finish with a slice of lemon.

Luxury Eggnog

There are many different kinds of eggnog. This is a highly indulgent variety, and frankly one cup of it is probably enough to keep most people going all day. But in the season of overindulgence this is the tops.


  • 6 eggs
  • Scant 1 litre (1 ¾ pints, 4 ½ cups) mixed milk and light whipping cream in the proportions you prefer
  • 200 grams (7 ounces, 1 cup) caster sugar
  • 125 ml (4 fluid ounces, ½ cup brandy
  • 250 ml (8 fluid ounces, 1 cup) light rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • ½ a nutmeg, finely grated
  • 1 pinch cinnamon


  1. Beat the eggs together hard with a food mixer till they froth up.
  2. Add the sugar, nutmeg and vanilla essence.
  3. Continue beating and slowly add in the cream. If you add it in too fast the mixture won’t work well. You have to take this slowly.
  4. When all the milk is beaten in, add the brandy and rum.
  5. Chill and serve garnished with a maraschino cherry.

Christmas is a time for celebration, and champagne is the best celebratory drink that there is. This is a great drink for New Years parties too.

Brandy Champagne Cocktail


For each glass you take

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 dashes of Brandy
  • Grapes
  • Champagne.


  1. Take 6 champagne flutes and add ½ tsp sugar, 2 dashes of brandy and 2 grapes to each glass.
  2. Top with champagne.

Buck’s Fizz

It’s one of the old favourites, but nonetheless, Bucks Fizz always goes down well. It’s very, very simple to make, using just orange juice and champagne.


Take equal measures of champagne and freshly squeezed orange juice. Fill a champagne flute half full of the orange juice, then top up with the champagne. Get those maraschino cherries out again and stick a couple of them onto a cocktail stick to garnish each glass.

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