Let me introduce you to some of the most festive and delicious Caribbean drinks to whip up this Holiday Season.
There is a picture that comes to mind when imagining being in the Caribbean. Part of that picture absolutely includes a drink, whether alcoholic or not, full of incredible island tastes and flavors.
The festive season in the Caribbean wouldn’t be right without an assortment of fun and holiday-style drinks to enjoy with friends and family. So, whether you’re celebrating at home somewhere chilly or right in the heart of the Caribbean, here are a few fun drink recipes to share!
Before we get into the recipes, here is a little bit of background on the history of drinks in the Caribbean.
Classic drinks originating in the Caribbean
Before we dive into a Christmas Caribbean drinks list, let’s check out which drinks are traditionally made and found on the islands:
- Piña Colada: I mean, what drink represents island style and flavors more than a Piña Colada? A slushy mix of coconut cream, pineapple juice, and rum, all mixed together to form a thirst-quenching and delightful cocktail. This cocktail is really quite drinkable. Legend has it that it was developed for the Caribe Hilton Hotel in the 50s by a bartender called Ramon Marrero.
- Mojito: Mint, lime, white rum, and sugar. This drink is an incredibly refreshing drink that just screams summer. The story goes that the famous explorer, Sir Frances Drake, bought lime and mint to Havana by ship. That, together with the growth of the sugar industry, inspired the drink.
- Rum Swizzle: The famous swizzle seems to have originated from The Swizzle Inn in the 18th century. Sticks were picked from trees and used to swizzle the cocktails in those days, hence the name. This pretty cocktail is made up of Gosling’s Black Sea Rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, bitters, Falernum, cloves, limes, almonds, ginger, and some simple syrup.
- Aruba Ariba: This fun and popular hotel drink is a blend of rum, vodka, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, orange juice, coecoei, and crème de banana. It is said that this drink originated in the Hilton Aruba Caribbean resort in the 60s.
- Daiquiri: There are so many flavor combinations that spring to mind when it comes to making daiquiris. This drink has been a global cocktail hit for decades. So long, in fact, that it’s become a total classic. The story goes that this drink was actually put together by Jenning Cox. He was hosting a party at home and ran out of alcohol except for some rum and so the daiquiri was born in his home. It’s one of those easy and impressive drinks to make at home, and so tasty.
- Blue Curacao: This is an orange-flavored blue drink. Go figure. The history and story of how this drink came about are a little blurry. It seems that, during the process of trying to grow oranges, the Spanish settlers in the 15th century realized that the peels of oranges were great for liqueur making. Centuries later, the trend of dying liqueur blue hit, and therefore, the drink was turned blue too!
Caribbean Festive Season Drink Ideas
Turning our attention to Christmas drinks, here’s a list that I hope will inspire you to get mixing during the Christmas season! Celebrating Christmas in the Caribbean is a festive and lively occasion. These drinks fall right into the category of getting the festivities rolling.
You’ll notice with these drinks that there seems to be a pattern of using fruity flavors and then the classic liqueurs like rum and then mixing them in some way with spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. That, and the way that citrus and orange are brought into a lot of the drinks.
Infuse a lovely dark rum with the holiday spices that we know and love. Think whole cinnamon, star anise, orange peel, cloves, allspice, vanilla, and nutmeg.
Use this infused rum for all your rum-based cocktail needs, and it’ll give a lovely little Christmas nod to the drink.
Ginger beer is a staple on all Caribbean Christmas tables. It can be made homemade by boiling and fermenting fresh peeled ginger and then adding in spices like whole cloves, cinnamon, and orange peels.
You can also purchase ginger beer from your local grocery store and infuse these spices with the beer to serve.
This is a lovely non-alcoholic drink to get together for guests. It’s a really good one to serve after a big holiday meal as it seems to calm the digestive system a little.
There are tons of health benefits to ginger beer, which I’ve listed further down.
Here is what you’ll need to gather to make a sensational ginger beer, complete with a little kick:
- ½ cup of peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 10 cups of boiling water
- 2 cups of granulated sugar
- 8 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 1 stick cinnamon
- Combine the boiling water, ginger, and spices (cinnamon, cloves, star anise) and allow them to cool.
- Strain the ginger beer into a large bowl or container and mix in the sugar. Serve with ice or just chilled in a jug.
Here are a couple of great benefits to drinking ginger beer. If the incredible flavor isn’t enough reason alone:
- Ginger is great for keeping your heart healthy. This is possible because ginger reduces inflammation in the body.
- As an antioxidant, ginger fights the effects that free radicals have on the body.
- Ginger is amazing for bone health.
Hibiscus flower in the culinary world is a major trend right now. It gives all its drinks and dishes the prettiest red color after boiling.
Sorrel is made with the hibiscus flower and makes a wonderful cocktail. Spices and ingredients such as lime, ginger, rum, and cinnamon are added, and you’ll have yourself a wonderful holiday drink.
This festive season cocktail can be enjoyed both hot and cold.
Non-alcoholic Sorrel recipe
This is probably one of the most commonly made drinks in the Caribbean, and it’s just so popular with locals. People make this drink year-round, but most of all, they make it at Christmas time.
Here is a recipe for an alcohol-free version that is great for the whole family. I think you’re going to just fall in love with the beautiful color and unique flavor of this drink.
You’re going to need sorrel flowers for this recipe. These can either be bought as dried petals or picked fresh, depending on where you’re located, of course.
The petals get boiled for a couple of minutes with some spices and then are strained, and their flavor is adjusted with sugar.
Here is what you’re going to need to gather up to make this drink:
- 4 cups of dried sorrel
- 8 cups boiling water
- 8 cups cold water
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 2 TBS fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 cups brown sugar
- Wash the sorrel petals under cold water.
- Add the 8 cups of water and bring it to a boil in a large pot.
- Add the sorrel, ginger, bay leaves, and spices. Cover the pot and allow the liquid to boil for half an hour.
- Remove the pot from the heat and leave it to cool to room temperature.
- Strain the liquid. Discard the whole ingredients and retain the liquid in a large container.
- Add in more water and sweeten it with the brown sugar. You should add the sugar in slowly and test the flavor as you go. Some people like the drink sweeter than others.
There are a couple of really great health benefits to consuming sorrel;
- Rich in antioxidants
- Great source of fiber
- Abundant in vitamin C
- Full of magnesium
Poncho de Crème
This is a brilliant way to make a Caribbean version of “egg nog”. This drink is super popular across the Caribbean Islands and is a blend of milk, condensed milk, rum, egg, bitters, and some nutmeg.
In Jamaica, this drink is sometimes called Egg Nog and is served with Guinness Stout.
Ponche Kuba Cream Liqueur
This drink was formulated by a Caribbean merchant named Don Jaime Sprock. He traveled to Cuba in the 40s, and his journey included discovering many different island drinks and ingredients.
During this time, he invented Ponche Kuba cream liqueur. This is now a classic holiday drink in many places and is made with condensed milk, dark rum, and cinnamon.
It is a quintessential set of festive flavors and is totally satisfying and tasty. Pour this drink over a little ice cream for an instantly delicious dessert.
Isn’t this the coolest name for a drink? This drink is over a hundred years old and includes both cinnamon rum (um, yum!) and clementine juice.
Could these flavors be any more festive?! I think not. The lovely balance of flavors in this drink makes it really quite easy to drink while also being easy to whip together.
Clementine is such a lovely fresh flavor and just that little bit lighter and less acidic than orange.
Think rum, mango, pineapple, and orange juice. This drink just screams Christmas in the Caribbean. It’s fresh and super satisfying. It tastes like more, though, so watch out.
Drinks in the Caribbean, as much as they are about the rum and liqueur flavors, are very much about the fruity flavors and the combinations of these tastes. This is one that needs to go on your Caribbean Christmas drinks list, for sure.
This is a little bit of an odd name for a Christmas drink. Nevertheless, the flavors are on point.
Cream of coconut, orange juice, rum, and freshly grated nutmeg makes this drink festive-ready. The nutmeg and cream of coconut combination are really what makes this
This drink originates from the British Virgin Islands and is rather strong.
This might be why it’s called the painkiller – because you’ll need to have painkillers on standby if you have too many of these drinks in the holidays, so take it easy.
The Caribbean Coquito
This delicious drink originated in Puerto Rico and is a blend of rum, sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk or cream, evaporated milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and a little bit of coconut essence if you want to add it.
This is a really authentic and tasty beverage, made and laid before guests at the start of every holiday period. It’s sweet and pretty strong, so go slowly as you get used to this fun drink. Smooth and creamy, it just tastes like more.
This is one that I put together based on a set of ingredients that work well together.
- 1.5 oz tequila
- 1 tsp orange blossom water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ oz orange liqueur
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- 1.5 oz coconut water
- ½ dropped of bitters
- 1 TBS simple syrup
- 1/3 of a lime wedge
Try combining all of these in a cocktail shaker with some ice. Serve it in a pretty glass with a wedge of lime attached to the side.
This one is another adaptation that I’ve put together that has all the good Christmas vibes. Try shaking these ingredients up with a bunch of ice cubes and then serving them up as a lovely chilled festive Caribbean-style cocktail:
- 1 oz Tequila
- 1 oz dark rum
- ½ oz sugar syrup
- 2 TBS coffee liqueur
- ½ shot of cold espresso
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
Spiced Rum and raisin
Here is another Caribbean-style drink that I’ve whipped up. It takes a little pre-planning as the rum gets infused with some festive spices. See what you think of these moreish flavors.
- 6 cloves
- 1 stick cinnamon, broken up
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 1 cup of rum
- 10 raisins
Place the ingredients inside a tea ball strainer. Place that into a cup or small bowl and then pour over your rum. Allow this concoction to infuse overnight. Remove the tea strainer so that you are left with only the infused rum
For the next step, you will require the following ingredients:
- ½ oz of simple syrup
- ½ oz of the rum-infused with the spices
- 1 splash of bitters
- 1 swatch of orange peel
- Orange juice
Mix the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker with some ice. Give them all a really good shake for about 6 seconds or more. Pour them through a strainer and enjoy.
Golden Apple Juice
This is a super popular Christmas beverage. It’s such a refreshing and light drink that is fantastic for kids and adults alike. Bursting with flavor and lovely health benefits.
Traditionally, in the Caribbean, this drink is made with juice that is extracted straight from the pulp, as opposed to using juice in its pure form.
The golden apple used in the Caribbean is different from the apple that the Western world is used to. This one has a spiky seed buried inside it.
You can serve up a large jug of chilled golden apple juice in the center of the table. Pour it over ice, and you’ll have a drink you’ll want to sip on all day long.
Here are the ingredients and steps to making your own absolutely yummy golden apple juice:
- 2 cups golden green apple puree
- 8 cups water
- 2 TBS peeled and grated ginger
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 lime
- Add the golden green apple puree to a large bowl.
- Mix in the water, ginger, sugar, and the juice of the lime.
- Strain the drink and chill before serving.
Boozy Caribbean Egg Nog
This is kind of like egg nog, but it’s made up to be beautifully thick. It’s got the feeling of a milkshake, although it’s a bit of a boozy milkshake if you will.
Serve it as a post-Christmas dinner treat. This one is so filling that it could almost be served in place of dessert!
Here is a list of what you’ll need to make this lovely drink:
- 1 cup of vanilla ice-cream
- 1 x 12 oz can of evaporated milk- chilled
- 2 x 14 oz cans of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup dark rum
- ½ cup ice
- In a blender, combine all the ingredients and blend them until they are perfectly smooth.
- Serve this drink chilled in a glass. You may need a wide straw to sip it up. It’s that thick!
Jamaican Guinness Punch
Guinness beer and the Irish go hand in hand. While Ireland is quite a way off from the Caribbean, the Irish did, in fact, introduce Guinness beer to the islands. And so, Jamaican Guinness Punch was born.
The taste profile of this drink is slightly bitter, although the bitterness, in this case, is tempered by the sweetness of the incredibly rich sweetened condensed milk. This one is a little on the decadent side, so go slow.
Why they decided to include a raw egg in this concoction, I have no idea. If you decide to leave it out, go for it.
Anyway, here is the ingredient list and path to making this drink up for friends and family.
- 1 x 2 oz bottle of Guinness stout, cold
- 1 raw egg, beaten
- ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ cup of almond milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ginger powder
- Add the cold Guinness stout, the beaten egg, and the milks to a blender. Blend the drink until it’s lovely and smooth.
- Pour the drink into a serving jug and sprinkle in the spices. Stir them in gently. Chill everything in the refrigerator.
Christmas Coconut Fizz
This fizzy and fresh little number has a sparkling twist to it. Serve this elegant cocktail in a Champagne glass when you’re entertaining an elegant crowd.
Here is what you’ll need to gather to get this fizzy fantasy served up:
- 130ml dark rum
- 200ml coconut water
- Juice of 2 freshly squeezed limes
- Prosecco or sparkling wine
- Slices of fresh lime
- Add the rum, coconut water, and freshly squeezed lime juice to a cocktail shaker.
- Add the ice, seal the shaker and shake for about 2 minutes or until you can feel the ice has chilled the content really well.
- Strain the liquid, through the shaker, straight into the Champagne glasses. You’ll want to fill the Champagne glass a third of the way up with this liquid.
- Top the rest of the glass up with the Prosecco or sparkling wine.
- To garnish, make a little cut into the lime slices. This cut should run from the center, out, and through the edge of the piece of lime to make a little slit. Slide this onto the edge of the Champagne glass, and you’re good to serve.
The idea of coming up with Caribbean Christmas drinks may feel overwhelming, but really, a lot of these drinks are super simple to make. All that is needed is that you have access to the ingredients.
Pick a couple of your favorites from the list and experiment with making them for family and other guests this holiday season. Making cocktails and drinks is a really fun practice, and they are often the real talking points of an evening or event.
There are so many pretty colors and flavor combinations to choose from. So, get peeling, squeezing, mixing, and tasting! It’s going to be a jolly Caribbean Christmas for sure!