By Maggie Walters

Nothing says it's the holidays like an Advent calendar! I've seen some really crafty calendars including one with miniature houses featuring windows that open up for each day as well as a quilt with pouches filled with festive dolls/figures to represent different days in the countdown.

One thing I have not seen is an Advent calendar with cocktails! This is the time of year when people entertain the most with cocktails, so it just makes sense to combine the two.

I've created a list of cocktails representing the twelve days of Christmas, based on that very catchy holiday song!

Some of these days in the countdown actually have cocktails named after them, others I had to get a little creative. I tried to use the same spirits as best I could for multiple cocktails, making it as easy on the pocket book as possible. 

Enjoy! Happy Holidays!


On the First Day of Christmas My True love gave to me:

Partridge In a Pear Tree

  • 1 1/2 oz Berentzen pear liqueur

  • ½ oz lemon juice

  • ¼ oz Bouvet Rose Cremant de Loire (sparkling wine)

  • sprig of rosemary

Add all ingredients, except Champagne and rosemary, to an ice filled shaker. Shake well and strain into coupe glass. Top with Champagne and add rosemary garnish.


Two Turtle Doves

  • 2 oz 360 vanilla vodka

  • 2 oz Frangelico

  • 1 oz Disaronno Amaretto

  • 1 1/2 oz whole milk

Fill shaker with crushed ice. (Crushed ice gives you those little ice floaties on top of the drink, like at bars and restaurants. It also makes the drink extra cold. Just a little bar tip for you.) Mix vanilla vodka, Frangelico, amaretto and milk. Shake vigorously. Pour into a martini glass and enjoy!


Three French Hens

Since hens lay eggs, why not celebrate this day with a tasty eggnog! This recipe involves some time in the kitchen, but I promise your effort will be well rewarded. 

Serves 4-6

  • 4 egg yolks

  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon

  • 1 pint whole milk

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 1/4 oz Old Grand Dad Bounded Bourbon

  • 1 1/4 oz Kraken Spiced Dark Rum

  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • 4 egg whites

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat together the egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar until the yolks lighten in color and the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, Bourbon, rum, and nutmeg and stir to combine.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running, gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.


Four Calling Birds

Here in the south calling turkeys during hunting season is definitely "a thing." So why not include some Wild Turkey Bourbon in our "4 Calling Birds" cocktail?

Serves 2

  • 5 fresh sage leaves

  • 4 oz. Wild Turkey 101 proof bourbon

  • 4 oz. cranberry juice cocktail

  • 4 dashes angostura bitters

  • ice

  • fresh sage, cranberries and cinnamon stick for garnish (optional)

In the base of a cocktail shaker, muddle the sage. Add Bourbon, cranberry juice and bitters, shake to combine, then add the ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a high ball glass and serve garnished with fresh sage, cranberries and a cinnamon stick.


Five Gold Rings

This cocktail features a gold rum and a gold 'ring' of lemon!

  • 1 oz Remy Martin VSOP cognac

  • 1 oz Bacardi Gold Rum

  • 1 oz lemon juice

  • 1 oz simple syrup

  • 3 oz boiling water (approximately)

  • lemon wheel, cloves and cinnamon stick for garnish

Add ingredients to 3 oz of boiling water in a mug. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a lemon wheel studded with cloves.


Six Geese a Laying

The perfect elegant cocktail for any holiday gathering: a classic martini made with Grey Goose Vodka.

  • 2 1/2 oz Grey Goose vodka

  • 1/2 oz Noilly Prat Original French dry vermouth

  • 1 dash Orange Angostura bitters

  • 1 lemon peel for garnish

Build ingredients in mixing glass. Top with cubed ice. Stir. Fine strain into chilled cocktail glass Garnish with lemon peel.


Seven Swans a Swimming

Here's a spin on a classic cocktail named 'white lady' created pre-prohibition. It's white as a swan and so good it'll have you swimming with cheer.

Rosemary Simple Syrup:

  • ½ cup water

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 2 springs of fresh rosemary

To make rosemary simple syrup, add water and sugar to saucepan. Bring to a boil and mix until sugar is dissolved. Add in the rosemary springs, remove from heat and allow to steep 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature and remove rosemary. Chill.



  • 2 oz gin

  • 1/2 oz lemon juice (about half a lemon)

  • 1/2 oz rosemary simple syrup

  • 1/2 oz Cointreau

  • 1 egg white

  • rosemary sprig, for garnish

To make cocktail add gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, Cointreau and egg white to cocktail shaker. Do not add ice. Dry shake the shaker vigorously for about 30 seconds. Add ice and shake an additional 15 to 20 seconds to chill drink.
Strain into martini or coupe glass and garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.


Eight Maids a Milking

Here’s a milk-based cocktail classically referred to as a “milk punch” sure to get you in the spirit!

  • 2 oz. rum – Kraken Spiced dark rum recommended

  • 1 tsp superfine sugar

  • 6 to 8 oz milk

Shake well with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker, then strain into Collins glass. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon, whichever you prefer.


Nine Ladies Dancing

I went with a classic gin-based cocktail called the Pink Lady. With the herbaciousness of gin combined with applejack brandy it'll get you into the holiday mood. Plus, it's so good you'll feel like dancing! 

  • 1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin

  • 1/2 oz Applejack brandy/liqeuer

  • 1/2 oz lemon juice

  • 4 dashes grenadine (to taste)

  • 1 egg white (will suffice for two drinks)

  • Luxardo Cherry for garnish (optional)

Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker and shake very hard, without ice, for 10 seconds. This emulsifies the egg white. Fill shaker with ice and shake again for 10 more seconds. Strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with cherry, if desired.


Ten Lords a Leaping

Macallan has its own cocktail dubbed this festive name. If the Scotch masters have crafted this, it’s definitely worth a try!

  • 2 oz Macallan 12 Year Old Double Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky

  • 1/4 oz St. Elizabeth allspice dram

  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters

  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice

  • 1/2 oz honey syrup (one part honey, one part water boiled together for about 5 minutes and chilled)

Add all ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg and a Luxardo cherry.


Eleven Pipers Piping

Featuring Piper Heidsieck Champagne. This is “THE” classic cocktail recipe. Served at bars and hotels worldwide.

  • 1 sugar cube

  • 2-3 dashes of angostura bitters

  • Piper Heidsieck Brut Champagne

  • lemon twist for garnish

Drop sugar cube into Champagne flute, sprinkle with angostura bitters. After bitters soaks into sugar, top with Champagne and drop in lemon twist. Enjoy!


Twelve Drummers Drumming

Who needs a drum when you can have a 'dram'? Rusty Nail featuring Drambuie

  • 1 oz Drambuie

  • 2 oz Famous Grouse Blended Scotch

  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir ingredients with ice until well-chilled in a mixing glass, then strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Garnish with a lemon peel, twisting it over the drink before you serve to release its citrus oils.

Clark TrimComment