Easy Christmas Simple Syrup for Cocktails

By Timo Torner / Last updated on September 3, 2023

Bring the holiday season into your drinks with our festive Christmas simple syrup. Packed with flavors of spices and citrus, this easy-to-make Christmas syrup will help you make the best Christmas cocktail ever.
Easy Christmas Simple Syrup for Cocktails

Just like seeing candy cane decorations, smelling and tasting Christmas spices immediately wakes these cozy, warm, and homely feelings. And with our holiday simple syrup, you can incorporate that feeling into cocktails like a Christmas Old Fashioned, Christmas Punch, and more festive cocktail recipes.

Our Christmas simple syrup is a deep red, spiced, sweet, and boozy syrup that is so delicious. Technically, it is a mulled wine syrup with an extra amount of flavor and booze. 

Flavors in our Christmas Spice Simple Syrup

Flavors in our Christmas Spice Simple Syrup

Thinking of Christmas Eve, fragrant flavors of mulled wine, orange, cloves, star anise, and gingerbread come to mind. As the latter doesn't fit the rest of the ingredients, I prefer to make a separate gingerbread syrup. 

The base of our syrup is a homemade mulled wine. Hence, For our spiced Christmas syrup, we choose the following ingredients:

  • Red wine: You need a dry red wine like a Merlot, Malbec, or Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Oranges: Sliced oranges and orange peel bring vibrant citrus flavors into the spiced syrup.
  • Cinnamon stick: A cinnamon stick (or better 2- 3 of them) brings spicy flavors to the spiced simple syrup.
  • Cloves: A key ingredient to many festive drink and food recipes, cloves are essential to make a great mulled wine base.
  • Star anise:
  • Sugar: I prefer brown sugar, but you can also use regular sugar as an alternative.

On top, we need 1 cup of water, a few ounces of aged rum, and a few dashes of Angostura bitters to marry the flavors and add extra depth and complexity.

How to use Christmas Simple Syrup in Cocktails

Christmas Simple Syrup in Cocktails

The best thing about our spiced Christmas simple syrup for cocktails is that it's so versatile. It pairs extremely well with dark, aged spirits like whiskey, rum, or Cognac but is also great with a vodka or tequila base.

It works in hot cocktails, cold drinks, and also as a festive addition to a glass of sparkling wine. Almost any cocktail recipe that incorporates simple syrup is a potential fit. 

Here are some recommended drinks to make with our homemade Christmas syrup:

  • Christmas Rum Sour: Aged rum, fresh lemon juice, Christmas simple syrup, and egg white are the ingredients in this festive holiday cocktail. This drink is one of my favorites and is best when garnished with a cinnamon stick and dehydrated orange.
  • Christmas Sparkler: Our spiced holiday syrup paired with chilled sparkling wine and fresh lemon or lime juice makes for a decadent holiday drink.
  • Festive Old Fashioned: The syrup pairs so well with bourbon that making an Old Fashioned with it is a must. For an extra seasonal touch, you can garnish the drink with sugared cranberries.

Other Uses for Holiday Simple Syrup

Other Uses for Holiday Simple Syrup

Our homemade Holiday syrup isn't only a great addition to your cocktail shaker, but you can also use it to bring festive flavors to desserts and breakfast. 

  • Pancakes: Replace maple syrup with our Christmas spice syrup to create a fragrant and boozy holiday breakfast.
  • Desserts: Drizzle the syrup over vanilla ice cream or whipped cream to bring warm spice flavors into your Christmas Eve desserts.

Bartender Tips to Make a Spiced Christmas Syrup for Cocktails

Making this spiced Christmas syrup requires balancing a lot of flavors. It's much more complex than making cinnamon simple syrup or herbal sweeteners like rosemary syrup. For that reason, we provide some pro tips and tricks to master the recipe.

  • The wine base: The wine might not be the star of the recipe, but choosing the wrong style of wine can certainly ruin the recipe. Always opt for a dry red wine. We recommended a dry Malbec, but you can use another style of red wine, as long as it's dry.
  • Additional spices: There are already a lot of flavors in the syrup but you can always tweak the recipe. Make it sweeter and warmer by adding vanilla bean pods or bring more warm, nutty flavors by adding cracked nutmeg.
  • Orange peels: In our recipe, we're only using sliced oranges. If you want to add more orange flavors, I recommend adding orange peels, not more orange slices. The essential oils in the peels bring the most flavors into a simple syrup.
  • Increase steep time for more flavor: After cooking, let the syrup cool down. If you let it sit for a few hours extra, the syrup extracts more flavors of fruits and spices.
  • Reuse the flavoring ingredients: As we add whole spices and orange slices, you can reuse these ingredients. Dry them on a rack, in the oven, or in a food dehydrator. They're fantastic cocktail garnishes and can also be used to decorate your Christmas dessert trifles.
  • Store it in the fridge: To extend shelf life, you should always store homemade syrups in a fridge. As we add aged rum at the end of the recipe, we increase the alcohol content, which makes sure the syrup will be good for about 4-6 weeks.
  • It's a perfect gift: Do you need a Christmas gift for a whiskey or rum lover? Why not choose a nice bottle of bourbon or rum with a small bottle of this amazing syrup? That is an excellent way to wish someone a Merry Christmas. Trust me, they'll love the syrup! 
Easy Christmas Simple Syrup for Cocktails

Christmas Simple Syrup Recipe

A festige Christmas spice syrup for cocktails and mixed drinks.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Shaking time35 minutes
Resting time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Course: Drinks
Keyword: Christmas Cocktail, Christmas syrup, Mulled wine syrup


  • 1 cup water - (240 ml)
  • 480 ml Merlot or other red wine
  • 135 g Brown sugar
  • 5 slices orange
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 12 pcs cloves
  • 3 pcs star anise
  • 2 oz dark rum
  • 10-12 dashes Angostura bitters


  • In a sacuepan, add water, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, and orange slices. Bring to a boil and keept it until it is very fragrant.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and add sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add red wine and simmer for around 25 minutes. You may want to stir occasionally so the syrup does not burn. The mixture should turn slightly syrupy before you turn off the heat.
  • After turning off the heat, add dark rum and Angostura bitters.
  • Leave to cool. In the meawhile sterilise your syup bottle and let it dry.
  • Strain through a very fine sieve, fill it in your bottle and seal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

More Christmas Drinks & Cocktails

  • Glögg: Similar to mulled wine, Glöogg is the Scandinavian equivalent. 
  • Minty Hot Chocolate: A hot chocolate spiked with bourbon, and flavored with sweet peppermint notes from Peppermint bark RumChata
  • Holiday Cranberry Old Fashioned: Another Old Fashioned variation is this tasty cranberry Christmas cocktail with fresh cranberry flavors from homemade cranberry simple syrup. Garnish the drink with some sugared cranberries on a cocktail pick. 

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