Drunk Reindeer Cocktail Recipe

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Drunk Reindeer Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Drunk Reindeer is a festive cocktail that has become a favorite in winter holiday gatherings. It's a playful twist on the classic hot chocolate, spiked with a touch of vodka and chocolate liqueur to warm the spirits.

  • Origins: While its exact origins are unclear, it's believed to have been concocted by a creative bartender looking to add a kick to traditional holiday drinks.
  • Popularity: It's particularly popular among adults who enjoy a sweet treat with a boozy lift.
  • Occasions: Best served during the chilly holiday season or at themed parties.

How Drunk Reindeer Tastes?

The Drunk Reindeer offers a rich and creamy taste, with a delightful balance of sweet chocolate and a warm, spicy hint from the cinnamon. The vodka provides a smooth kick that elevates the experience without overpowering the other flavors.

Interesting facts about Drunk Reindeer

  • The Drunk Reindeer can be customized with different types of chocolate liqueurs to suit one's taste.
  • It's a perfect cocktail for those looking to indulge in something sweet and alcoholic at the same time.
  • The cherry garnish adds a pop of color and a fruity note that complements the chocolate flavors.


A few good options for Drunk Reindeer are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose

Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate serves as the comforting base for the Drunk Reindeer cocktail. The rich and creamy texture sets the stage for the other ingredients. If you use less, you might find the drink too strong, while more can dilute the flavors. Skimping on it might result in a less indulgent experience.

Mary Mitkina


A neutral vodka provides a clean canvas that lets the flavors of the chocolate and spices shine. Using too much can overpower the drink, while too little means you might as well just have a hot chocolate. If vodka isn't your spirit of choice, you could substitute in a smooth rum or brandy.

Mary Mitkina

Chocolate Liqueur

This brings in a deep, velvety chocolate flavor that complements the hot chocolate. The liqueur also adds a hint of sweetness and depth. Without it, the drink might lack complexity. Another option could be to use a coffee liqueur for a mocha twist.

Alex Green


The cherry offers a fruity note that acts as a delightful contrast to the richness of the chocolate. A cocktail without it might be too one-note, missing that pop of color and taste. A raspberry can be a zesty alternative, adding an edge of tartness.

Mary Mitkina

Cinnamon Sticks

Perfect for stirring, they slowly infuse the cocktail with warm, spicy notes. Leaving them out could result in a less festive and flat flavor profile. If you're out of sticks, a dash of ground cinnamon could also do the trick, albeit with less subtlety.

Mary Mitkina

Whipped Cream

It adds a light, creamy top layer that melds smoothly with the hot mixture below. If you omit the whipped cream, the drink tends to be less visually appealing and you’ll miss that cool contrast. Coconut whipped cream could be a dairy-free alternative.

Alex Green

Chocolate Shavings

Used to garnish, they add texture and an extra hint of chocolate to every sip. Without them, the drink is still delicious but lacks a finishing touch. Grated nutmeg or a sprinkle of cocoa powder can also serve as alternatives.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Drunk Reindeer Drink

  1. Prepare 8 ounces of hot chocolate and pour it into a mug.
  2. Add 2 ounces of vodka and 2 ounces of chocolate liqueur.
  3. Stir with cinnamon sticks, leaving them in as garnish.
  4. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
  5. Garnish with a cherry on top.

Pro Tips

  • Use high-quality hot chocolate for the best flavor base.
  • Heat the mug before pouring the hot chocolate to keep the drink warmer longer.
  • If you prefer a less sweet cocktail, choose a dark chocolate liqueur.

Perfect Pairings


  • Chocolate Cake: The rich chocolate flavors of the cake pair exquisitely with the chocolatey notes of the cocktail.
  • Cheesecakes: A classic New York cheesecake can counterbalance the sweetness with its slight tanginess.
  • Holiday Cookies: Seasonal cookies complement the festive vibe.


  • Roasted Nuts: Especially almonds or hazelnuts for their complementary nutty flavor.
  • Dark Chocolate: A piece of high-quality dark chocolate to enhance the chocolate in the drink.


  • Espresso: For those who want a caffeine kick along with their cocktail.

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What you could change in Drunk Reindeer

  • Vodka: You can use vanilla-flavored vodka for an extra hint of sweetness.
  • Chocolate Liqueur: Brands like Godiva or Ghirardelli can be used for a richer chocolate taste.
  • Whipped Cream: Coconut whipped cream is a great dairy-free alternative.

Explore all drinks starting with D here

And of course - twists🍹

Peppermint Patty Drunk Reindeer

  • Add a splash of peppermint schnapps.
  • Garnish with a candy cane instead of a cinnamon stick.
  • The peppermint will add a fresh, minty zing to your chocolaty concoction, making it even more Christmassy.

Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate

  • Add a pinch of chili powder and a splash of coffee liqueur.
  • Replace vodka with a reposado tequila.
  • This twist gives you a spicy kick with a hint of coffee, a reflection of the traditional Mexican hot chocolate.

Boozy Nutella Drunk Reindeer

  • Use hazelnut liqueur instead of chocolate liqueur.
  • Stir with a chocolate stick and sprinkle crushed hazelnuts on top.
  • The addition of hazelnut introduces a nutty, luxurious layer to your festive cocktail, perfect for Nutella lovers.

In case you forgot basics how to make Drunk Reindeer

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Drunk Reindeer

What is the best way to serve the Drunk Reindeer cocktail?

The Drunk Reindeer cocktail is best served hot in a ceramic or glass mug to retain its warmth, ideal for cold weather. Serving it with a cinnamon stick stirrer and a cherry garnish enhances both the flavor and presentation.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of the Drunk Reindeer?

Yes, you can enjoy a non-alcoholic version by substituting the vodka and chocolate liqueur with chocolate syrup or a non-alcoholic chocolate-flavored beverage syrup.

What type of vodka is recommended for the Drunk Reindeer?

While any quality vodka will work, a smooth, neutral-flavored vodka is recommended to not overpower the chocolate and cinnamon notes of the cocktail.

Is the Drunk Reindeer suitable for children?

No, the Drunk Reindeer contains alcohol and is not suitable for children. However, a non-alcoholic hot chocolate with similar garnishes can be prepared for children to enjoy.

Can the Drunk Reindeer be prepared in advance?

The hot chocolate base can be prepared in advance, but it's best to add the alcohol and garnishes just before serving to ensure the cocktail is enjoyed at the right temperature and flavor.

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