Popular Holiday Drinks That Can Lead To Trouble

Posted by Ryan Russman | Oct 29, 2013 | 0 Comments

As Thanksgiving approaches, so does the holiday season. As everyone knows, the holiday season brings colder weather, snow, Santa Claus, shopping and, of course, holiday parties. While not all holiday parties will include alcohol consumption, people do like to create and drink special holiday cocktails.

In the interest of DUI prevention, we at Russman Law Offices would like to provide you with some of the most popular holiday drinks, including their ingredients and possible alcohol content.

Typically, a “drink” is defined as one beer, one glass of wine, or one shot, but it becomes more difficult to determine alcohol content with mixed drinks, due to varied recipes. Hopefully, if you know what you are drinking, then you can avoid problems with the law.

Egg Nog

Egg nog is one of the most popular, and recognizable, holiday drinks. It is a sweetened dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk or cream, giving it a frothy texture. While it is available in non-alcoholic form, many people add brandy, rum, bourbon, Kahlua, vodka or a combination of liquors. The drink is then finished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg. Egg nog has an alcohol content of approximately 15% to 20%, depending upon the type and amount of alcohol added.

Mulled Wine

Mulled wine is wine, usually red wine, with added spices and citrus fruits. While the spices used may vary, many mulled wine recipes call for cinnamon, orange zest, cloves, and star anise. It is typically served during the holiday season, either hot or warm in mugs. Cooking an alcoholic drink reduces the alcohol content, but mulled wine is simmered, rather than boiled, resulting in about 35% of the alcohol being retained.

Hot Buttered Rum

Hot buttered rum is another very popular holiday drink. Hot buttered rum is a mixed drink containing rum, butter, hot water or cider, a sweetener and various spices, usually cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Similar to mulled wine, the alcohol content of buttered rum is decreased from heating it. The amount of alcohol evaporated will depend upon how long the buttered rum is heated. However, the ingredients of hot buttered rum can mask the alcohol taste, making it easy to forget that you are drinking an alcoholic beverage.


The Grinch is a green cocktail reminiscent of Dr. Suess' popular character. It contains Midori, lemon juice, and simple syrup with a maraschino cherry for garnish. The Grinch is a sweet drink where the alcohol can be masked. While Midori is not particularly high in alcohol, at only 20%, it can certainly still add up quickly.

Candy Cane

Unlike the Grinch, a Candy Cane contains more than a small amount of alcohol. A Candy Cane is made using berry vodka, peppermint schnapps, crème de cacao, grenadine, half and half, and soda water. The combination of peppermint, chocolate and berry flavors make the drink go down easy, but the amount of alcohol it contains can quickly render you unable to drive safely.

The holiday season is certainly full of parties and fun, but it is important keep your alcohol consumption at a reasonable level if you are planning to drive. Please stay safe and have a wonderful holiday season.

About the Author

Ryan Russman

Attorney Ryan Russman has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of New Hampshire citizens. His practice, based in Exeter (Rockingham County) New Hampshire, is limited to cases involving DWI and DUI, other motor vehicle and criminal cases, and many cases involving personal injury. He is, however, best known as one of New Hampshire's leading legal authorities on DWI.


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