The Mistletoe Kiss: A holiday drink for the ages with vodka, lemon juice, and a special and insanely easy simple syrup that ties the whole drink together.
You guys! I have such an exciting recipe for you today!
IT’S A COCKTAIL RECIPE!!
Can you even believe it?? The last time I posted a cocktail recipe was in 2010.
ELEVEN years ago! Where’s that embarrassed wide-eyed emoji when you need it?
That cocktail recipe was those cranberry lime bellinis that I contributed to Annie’s virtual holiday party. (Remember when those virtual parties were a thing??)
They were a delicious combination of champagne, cranberry and lime juices with fresh cranberries floating on top.
One of my favorite drinks to this day is a simple vodka-cranberry and those bellinis were pretty similar. Except that instead of the bite of vodka, you get a bubbly mouthful of champagne. Mmmmm!
And while we’re on the topic of vodka, let me tell you that I probably will never turn down a drink with vodka in it. I don’t drink vodka often – gin is my actual preference when it comes to spirits – but I love vodka because it’s sort of like the blank palate of the drink world.
It goes so well with lots of flavors, especially herbs!
Enter The Mistletoe Kiss. And pucker up, friends!
Because this drink is a delightful mixture of vodka, club soda, lemon juice, and my new secret weapon: rosemary simple syrup.
What You Need for a Mistletoe Kiss
First you’ll need a flavor base and that’s the rosemary simple syrup. The simple syrup is just what it sounds like: simple to make with equal parts of water and sugar that you’ll boil for 5 minutes. Then you’ll drop a sprig of fresh rosemary in and this will infuse the sugar water with loads of herby flavor.
Once cooled, you’ll mix the simple syrup with vodka and lemon juice. Once in the ice-filled glass, pour in some bubbly club soda.
Then, float some fresh cranberries on top and add a sprig of rosemary to stir it all up, and you’ve got yourself a perfect holiday drink.
There’s just enough lemon juice in these mistletoe kiss drinks to make you pucker up to your Christmas love without being like, “Woah! Too much lemon!”
And the rosemary simple syrup beautifully balances the tart lemon and bite of the vodka. It gives the drink a refreshing sweet and herbal note and really brings it home to remind you that it’s the holidays.
Wondering How to Make a Large Batch of Mistletoe Kiss Drinks?
If you’re having a crowd for a tree trimming party or holiday party this season, you’re going to want to make a large batch of these mistletoe kiss drinks. And it’s SO simple to do!
- First, you’re going to make a batch of the rosemary simple syrup. It’s easy! Boil equal parts of sugar and water for 5 minutes then toss in a sprig of rosemary to steep and release its flavor into the syrup. Cool completely. You can make this up to 2 weeks in advance too!
- Then, ready a pitcher. Pour in the vodka, lemon juice, rosemary simple syrup and stir well.
- Pour the drinks into ice-filled rocks glasses – only 3/4 of the way full though. You need room for the club soda.
- Top the drink off with club soda, a few cranberries, and a sprig of rosemary to use as a stirrer.
You can certainly prepare the drink mixture in the pitcher a few hours in advance of your party and keep it in the fridge until your guests arrive.
This will ensure the mistletoe kisses are super cold and will majorly simplify your life during the party when you would prefer to be mingling and eating rather than pouring individual drinks.
What to Serve with The Mistletoe Kiss
And while we’re on the topic of parties, let’s talk for a quick minute about some excellent appetizers you can serve with these mistletoe kiss holiday drinks at your next party.
Baked brie has always and will always be my go-to holiday party appetizer and my baked brie with fig jam and honey is a stunning and easy one to delight your guests.
I also adore a really nice plate of cheese and crackers. It doesn’t have to be a big to-do of a cheese platter, though if you want to go in that direction, I’ve got a fantastic tutorial for how to assemble a charcuterie board on my other blog, Two Cousins Haul it All.
If you’re into making homemade crackers for a spread like that, I really love to make homemade wheat thins, which I serve with cranberry Stilton during the holidays. These Parmesan thyme crackers would be excellent too!
And maybe I’ll throw in a hot crab dip if I have a few extra minutes to prepare one.
Easy one-bite appetizers would be these brie and caramelized onion bites or these maple bacon mini quiche.
Smoked salmon spread is always an easy appetizer that will instantly fancify your party.
And in my opinion, no holiday party would be complete without some baked fontina with crusty bread, bacon wrapped dates with cranberry Stilton, sausage stuffed mushrooms and a baked brie with fig jam and honey.
Now, what are you waiting for? Go crack open that bottle of vodka, grab the mistletoe, and pucker up, my friends!
P.S – Since posting this Christmas cocktail, I’ve also shared 2 NEW cocktail recipes for the holiday and winter seasons: The Peppermint Mochatini and The Jack Frost.
You basically need all of them in your life.
The Mistletoe Kiss Cocktail
This is a holiday drink for the ages with vodka, lemon juice, and a special and insanely easy simple syrup that ties the whole drink together. Large batch recipe is included below for your holiday parties!
For the rosemary simple syrup*:
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 sprig rosemary
For a small batch:
- 6 oz vodka (I love Tito's)
- 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 oz rosemary simple syrup
- Club soda
- Handful of fresh cranberries (whole frozen berries are ok)
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
For a large batch:
- 30 oz vodka (3 ¾ cups or approx 1 liter from which you'll have a couple ounces leftover)
- 5 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 10 oz (1 ¼ cups) rosemary simple syrup (triple the recipe above)
- 1 liter club soda
- ½ bag of fresh cranberries (whole frozen berries are ok)
- 10 sprigs of rosemary
To make the rosemary simple syrup: Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Allow the mixture to boil for 5 minutes then remove from the heat and drop in the sprig of rosemary. Allow the rosemary to steep for about 15 minutes and then discard the rosemary. Pour the simple syrup into a glass jar or bottle, cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate.
To make a small batch: Pour vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup into a drink shaker filled with ice. Cover and shake well to blend. Divide drink mix between 2 rocks glasses filled with ice, straining the ice from the shaker as you pour. You'll only want to fill the glasses ¾-full. Top with club soda and a few cranberries for garnish. Add a sprig of rosemary to use as a stirrer.
To make a large batch: Pour vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup into a pitcher filled with ice and stir well to combine.
When ready to serve, pour the drink mix into an ice-filled rocks glass to ¾-full. Top each drink with club soda and a few cranberries for garnish. Add a sprig of rosemary to each drink as they are served to use as a stirrer.
If you make the large batch before your guests arrive, be sure to keep the pitcher in the fridge to ensure the drinks are icy cold when they arrive.
*The rosemary simple syrup recipe above will make more than you need for a small batch but the leftovers will store well in an airtight container, like a mason jar, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Party Time Tips: If you plan to serve this drink at a party, here are a few tips for party prep:
- Print out instructions so your guests know how to assemble the drinks and post at your drink station. There is a Print Recipe button towards the top of this recipe box.
- Ready an ice bucket filled with ice as well as drink glasses so guests can help themselves to drinks from the pitcher.
- Have a small bowl of cranberries ready to go.
- Stand the rosemary sprigs up in a small glass.
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Looks Lovely!! Can’t wait to make one during the holidays.
Thank you! Enjoy!!
Making this Christmas Eve for my guest !! Can’t wait it’s going to be delicious 🙂 ) tried a little sample already
Yay! I know you’ll love it! Enjoy and Merry Christmas!!
How long do you leave the rosemary sprig in the simple syrup?
Hi Mary Ellen! My apologies for leaving that part of the instructions out. I’ve just added it back in now. You can let the rosemary steep for about 15 minutes in the simple syrup. If you forget about it and it stays in a little longer, that’s ok too. Happy Thanksgiving!!
Good Afternoon Tara,
I have a party this evening. I have assembled the mistletoe kiss and was wondering for ease of assembling at the time of the party, can the club soda can just be added to the other ingredients in the pitcher? Sometimes people are mingling and not reading directions :).
Hi Jennifer! I’m sorry that I’m seeing this now (after your party) but I hope the drinks went over well with your guests. Did you end up adding the club soda to the pitcher? Would love to know if that worked well so I can update the post with your suggestion!
They were so good! We had them for thanksgiving
Yay! So glad you enjoyed them, Sandra!!
Wondering how many the large batch serves?
Hey Katie! The large batch serves around 10. I hope you enjoy!
Made it tonight and it tastes amazing. Who would have thought the rosemary would give it a great soft flavor. Yum. Merry Christmas
YAY! So great to hear you loved these cocktails, Karen! Thank you so much for coming back to leave a review. Merry Christmas to you too!
If I were to make these individually vs a batch, what would the measurements be?
Hi Allison! There is a small batch recipe included in the recipe card which makes 2 drinks. If you want to make just 1 drink, just halve those measurements. Enjoy!!
Hi! I followed your instructions for the simple syrup but it hasn’t thickened up at all. Does it thicken while it sits in the jar? Thank you!
Yes! It will thicken as it cools. Hope you enjoy this drink, Heather!
Hi. I was wondering how much dried loose Rosemary would you need instead of a sprig?
Hi Rosie! I’m sorry for the late response here. You could steep 1/2 tsp dried loose rosemary in the hot syrup and then strain it out. I’d let it steep for a little longer than the recipe says for fresh rosemary since it will take longer for the oils to infuse.
This was so great! We enjoyed them as mocktails over the weekend, leaving out the vodka and adding more sparkling water to compensate. Making them again tonight with your original recipe. I never knew rosemary infused simple syrup was missing in my life, until now!
I felt the same way about the rosemary syrup! Who knew! So glad you love this drink and thank you so much for coming back to leave a review!
I chose this cocktail to serve for the Christmas Eve family get-together. What a total hit! Everyone loved it, from its holiday looking presentation to its delightfully fresh taste. The recipe was asked for by several family members. I myself saved it to my personal favorites, and will be serving this enjoyable and festive drink again next Christmas. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe!
Fantastic to hear! I’m so glad this went over so well!! Thank you so much for coming back to leave a review, Anna! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Can you mix everything together in a big pitcher? Or will it mess the drink up?
Hi Katie, You can mix everything together if you’re going to serve the drinks immediately. Otherwise, the club soda will go a bit flat if you prepare the full drink too far in advance. Hope you love these cocktails!!
Hello! Planning to make this for Christmas Eve tomorrow. If you make a large batch ahead of time, can you just chill the whole pitcher of vodka/lemon juice/simple syrup in the refrigerator or do you need to add ice for dilution? I plan to top each individual drink with club soda at the time of serving. Thank you.
Hi Krystal! When you’re ready to serve the drinks, add the ice to the glasses, pour in the chilled drink mixture, and then add the club soda. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!!
Hiii Tara I was just wondering how the measurements would be for just one cocktail that’s about like 12 oz.
Hi Kaylee! For 1 cocktail, I would make half of the “small batch” recipe. You’ll use 3 oz of vodka for 1 drink, which makes a nice strong drink. If it’s too strong, add more club soda. Hope you love it!
Can you make the simple syrup in advance, and if so, how long will it keep?
Absolutely! It will keep in the fridge for about a month. Enjoy!
Hi Tara, after removing the water and sugar from the boil I put the rosemary spring in to let sit for 15 min and it all hardened up on my pan …
Hi Sydney, It sounds like you boiled the water for too long. I’ve made this simple syrup many times (and other simple syrup recipes) and have never had this happen.
We made the small batch mistletoe kiss cocktail and love it but the pictures of your cocktail look to beautifully white in color while ours was yellowish. I use a natural sugar, which is a tanish shade. Could this be the difference?
Hi Evelyn, Yes, I think that’s probably what happened.
Love the flavors and ingredients – I’m not seeing a recipe tho – did I miss it ?
Shouldn’t read some thing like 2 ounces of lemon juice and 4 ounces of vodka or 2 ounces of simple syrup ??
I’m not clear on the ratios
The recipe is in the green recipe card below the text of the post.
What are the measurements or a ratio for simple syrup to vodka and lime juice? I’m trying to make a big batch
Hi Jackie, The full recipe is in the green recipe card below the text of the post.
Making tonight! Can I use bottled lemon juice? Thank you
Hi Lynne, So sorry for the delayed response. Fresh lemon juice will give you a brighter flavor but bottled lemon juice is fine to use. Hope you loved this drink!
Hi! Can you substitute the alcohol in this drink? For example, instead of vodka and club soda can I substitute that for something like Prosecco or champagne?
Absolutely! That sounds wonderful!!
Rang in 2023 with this drink, it was perfect! Thanks for sharing.
Happy New Year !
Yay! So great to hear, Susan! Happy New Year to you too!