Whether you belt it out with pride or roll your eyes in disgust, there’s no doubting that most people know the choral sing-along “The 12 Days of Christmas” by heart. The song has been around for decades. Literally. The first known reference to the song dates back to 1780, which means we’ve sung it for a lot of Christmases. Thanks to over-eager retailers and people seeking a little holiday cheer, we start singing about drummers, partridges, and swans before we even carve the Thanksgiving Day turkey and indulge in winter holiday cocktails.
But First, What are the 12 Days of Christmas
Technically (historically) speaking, the Christmas season starts on December 25th and runs for 12 days through January 6th. For Christians, this period is the time between the birth of Christ and the arrival of the three wise men. Whether Eastern or Western Christianity, Latin Antiquity, or modern customs, the 12 days are acknowledged and celebrated with different traditions – feasting, merriment and gift giving. One could make the (8 lords-a-leaping) leap that the song lyrics represent gifts given throughout the 12 days, with each one getting increasingly more lavish.
While we can’t deliver turtle doves, golden rings, or milking maids, we can offer you 12 winter holiday cocktails inspired by that (in)famous Christmas song.
My True Love Gave to Me, 12 Winter Holiday Cocktails
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a We Make a Nice Pear. Azuñia Reposado organic tequila, cognac, spiced pear, fresh lemon, and honey simple syrup are spritzed with absinthe in this intoxicating elixir. With winter holiday cocktails as delicious as this, we definitely want to be on Santa’s nice list.
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, 2 Greater Roadrunners. We created this smoky concoction out of our love for the Sonoran Desert, a truly spectacular place in the winter. It combines Azuñia Reposado organic tequila, Orange Curacao, mesquite honey syrup, fresh lemon, and finished with AZ Sunshine bitters. Will all of this deliciousness fit in our stocking?
On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, 3 Gardens of Mayahuel. Born in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, the Garden of Mayahuel is a colorful delight. Azuñia Blanco organic tequila and French liqueur are mixed with a fresh juice made of apples, ginger, and cilantro, and sweetened with simple syrup. New Orleans’ French75, the bar that serves this cocktail daily, balances the sweet with the savory using oregano and fresh black pepper. No gift-wrap needed.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, 4 Birds of Paradise. Calling birds were actually colly, or black birds. It’s not that we’re opposed to the boisterous raven-colored birds, we just prefer the whimsy of the bright colored flower as represented in this cocktail. Azuñia Black tequila, Mestizo Añejo, Cruzan Black Strap, and Bruto Americano make the base of the Peter Barriga specialty drink. Add in charcoal simple syrup, tamarindo syrup, and fresh pineapple and lime juice to finish it off. The pineapple leaf and flower garnish make the perfect bow.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, FIVE GOLDEN RINGS. Yes, it’s obligatory that we belt that out in unison. The only thing that butters a person up better than rings is a golden winter holiday cocktail. The Butter Me Up is a velvety concoction of Azuñia Añejo tequila and rum with hot-buttered batter and vanilla cardamom whipped cream. We suggest serving up a few mugs of these before you head out caroling. People still carol, right?
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, 6 Pumpkin Lattes. Never mind the geese-a-laying, the Pumpkin Latte is a creamy drink made from Azuñia Reposado organic tequila, ginger liqueur, real pumpkin puree, heavy cream and egg white. Being that we start celebrating Christmas from the moment the first leaves start to change colors, pumpkin holiday cocktail recipes should definitely be a “thing”. Serve alongside a giant slice of pumpkin pie to double up the holiday cheer.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, 7 Souled Out cocktails. The black swan of cocktails, the Souled Out is a unique variation of a tequila negroni created by Jasmine Garcia, an expert mixologist. Made with Azuñia Black, 2-year Extra Aged Special Reserve Añejo tequila, Aveze Gentian, Royal Combier, and Piri Piri Tincture, this drink stands out amongst the other holiday cocktail recipes. A couple of these cocktails might put us on the naughty list. But it would so be worth it.
On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, 8 Sherry-Tequila Eggnog cocktails. Is there anything that tastes more like Christmas than eggnog? Not in our recipe book. And this milky libation is no exception. Homemade eggnog, sherry, and Azuñia Añejo tequila get a sprinkling of seasonal spice – nutmeg. Might we suggest leaving one of these on Santa’s cookie plate?
Cocktail and Picture: Trial and True
On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, 9 Cynar Margaritas. A blush colored rose served as the inspiration for this cocktail created by Trial and True. Azuñia Blanco organic tequila, Cynar, and orange bitters dance together with Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur and muddled sugar and lime. If we had to imagine the classical holiday ballet “The Nutcracker” as a cocktail, it would be this. Excuse us while we close our eyes and dream of the Land of the Sweets, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Clara as we drink.
Cocktail and Picture: Tipple and Nosh
On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, 10 Adonis Chariots. Adonis was a Greek God, but we’d like to think in a different era he’d be a leaping lord holding court. Strong and well structured, Adonis Chariot is a bold combination of Azuñia Reposado organic tequila, Sherry, Spanish Vermut, enhanced with orange bitters. It will give you a little extra muscle to put together all those toys Christmas morning.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, 11 Picked Peppers for the Lemon Hills cocktail. This herbaceous drink is a real pied piper – a charismatic cocktail wooing you from across the bar. Azuñia Blanco organic tequila, mezcal, gin, Yellow Chartreuse, bell pepper syrup, orange bitters, and muddle basil create a beautiful symphony. Stir one up and gather ’round the fire for a re-telling of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
On the twelfth night of Christmas, my true love gave to me, 12 drummers drinking Añejo Old Fashioneds. In our opinion, the best nightcap is simple, unfussy, and traditional. The Añejo Old Fashioned is all that plus a little class. Azuñia Añejo tequila, Angostura Bitters, and sugar over ice and a citrus garnish are the only ingredients in this refined drink. Pah-rum-pum-pum-pum.
We Wish You a Happy Holidays
Thank you for joining us for all 12 or Winter Holiday Cocktails. We’ve enjoyed singing along with you. From all of us at Azuñia, we wish you a bright and happy holiday season full of good tidings, cheer, and tequila. ¡Salud!