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“The Snowblower” Holiday Cocktail

With just 3 ingredients, this holiday cocktail is the perfect thing to whip up for your next holiday party. With the option to serve warm or chilled, it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser!

There’s just something about a warm holiday cocktail, isn’t there? Warm spices and scents, and holiday flavors. I’m all for a good margarita in the summer, but when winter comes around I need a different flavor.

This holiday cocktail contains just 3 ingredients and will warm you from the inside out.

The best part? You can serve it warm, or cold.

And if you live somewhere like I do, where it’s almost December and you’re still sitting outside in shorts and a tshirt (I’m looking at you, South Carolina), then you definitely need that kind of versatility.

two glass mugs filled with snowblower holiday cocktail surrounded by pine branches, cranberries and cinnamon sticks

Apple cider vs. apple juice

What’s the difference?

It can be confusing, for sure. The Kitchn has a great article on this here. Turns out there’s no one standard answer!

It can vary based on when the apples were picked, what the filtration was, and what spices were added to the juice.

I like to use Trader Joe’s spiced apple cider for this drink, which is available seasonally in their stores.

Keep in mind that we are not using hard cider, which is also made from apples, but is alcoholic in nature and would change the profile of this drink drastically.

Cranberry juice vs. cranberry juice cocktail

What’s the difference?

Well, cranberry juice cocktail is actually typically made of cranberry juice and a bunch of added sugar.

Cranberry juice, on the other hand, is usually labeled 100% juice. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s 100% cranberry juice. That would likely be way too tart to drink straight.

Often they combine the cranberry juice with a blend of other fruit in order to cut the tartness and add a bit of sweetness, without adding sugar to the mix.

For this recipe, we want to look for 100% true cranberry juice – no added sugar.

Dark rum vs. light rum

What’s the difference?

Dark rum is often aged longer than light rum. Light rums are often used in light and fruity cocktails, while dark rums are used in drinks with more depth of flavor.

Dark rums sometimes have brown sugar or caramel color added as well, but there’s not really a way to know that, as there are no “ingredients” listed on alcohol bottles.

My favorite overall dark rum, as well as the one I used for this drink, is Kraken.

Other rums that would work well would be a spiced rum like Captain Morgan’s or Mount Gay – although not quite as dark as Kraken, they would add the right flavor profile.

close up vertical image of a glass mug filled with cider holiday cocktail surrounded by pine branches, cranberries, and cinnamon sticks

How to serve this holiday cocktail cold

The quickest and easiest way to drink this cocktail is to serve it chilled over ice. Simply mix the ingredients, then serve over ice. Garnish with a cinnamon stick if you want!

How to serve this holiday cocktail hot

Combine the cider and cranberry juice in a saucepot on the stove over low heat. Heat until just steaming and heated through.

Measure rum out into mugs, then pour heated cranberry + cider mixture into mugs. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and serve.

Holiday cocktail variations

Not a rum drinker? That’s ok! Feel free to substitute another dark liquor in for the rum.

This holiday cocktail would be great with a good smooth bourbon in it.

Want it spicier? Add mulling spices and cinnamon sticks when heating the cider and juice on the stove to drive up the flavor a notch.

Want more cranberry? Switch up the amounts of cranberry and cider, or adjust them to your liking.

Snowblower Holiday Cocktail

Snowblower Holiday Cocktail

Yield: 2 drinks
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

With just 3 ingredients, this holiday cocktail is the perfect thing to whip up for your next holiday party. With the option to serve warm or chilled, it's sure to be a crowd pleaser!


  • 8 oz spiced apple cider
  • 4 oz cranberry juice
  • 4 oz dark rum


  1. Mix it: Combine all ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Choose your own adventure: Serve chilled as a refreshing winter cocktail, or warm on the stove over low heat, then pour into mugs and serve as a hot toddie.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 212Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 9mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 0gSugar: 18gProtein: 0g
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