As we get ready to ring in another new year, we are all about celebrating with fun cocktails. What's a better way to celebrate, than to recreate classic holiday desserts in cocktail form? Fruitcake is a nostalgic dessert that is probably more hated than loved.

Fruitcake is a dense cake, filled with dried fruits and nuts, and soaked in spirits. It's often made fun of for being mass-produced and it's incredibly long shelf life. Nevertheless, a Christmas holiday isn't complete without at least one bite of the sweet cake.

We've taken this iconic holiday treat and turned it into a delicious and festive drink. This fruitcake cocktail will transport you to your childhood, without the fuss of digging neon-colored fruit pieces out of your teeth. This adult beverage has hints of the best parts of the cake; namely the booze, the orange flavor, and the aromatic spices.

Our Fruitcake Cocktail Recipe

cocktail ingredients
Sarah Abrams

To make this cocktail, you'll need the following alcohols: one ounce of brandy, ½ ounce Amaretto, and ½ ounce triple sec.

To give the cocktail the fruitcake spices, you'll need to make a cinnamon clove rim. To make the rim, run ¼ of a lemon around the rim of your glass. On a flat plate, mix one tablespoon sugar with ½ teaspoon ground cloves. Dip the rim of the glass in the sugar mix, making sure to coat all sides of the glass.

Double Old Fashioned Whiskey Glass

whiskey glass
Amazon

Fill a large cocktail shaker with ice and pour in all the alcohol. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. You can serve neat or on the rocks, depending on your personal preference. Garnish with crystallized ginger and a candied fruit peel, like lemon or orange.

How Does It Taste?

When I first tried it, I definitely got a hint of fruitcake. The cocktail is sweet and tangy, with a hint of sourness. The triple sec, which is an orange liqueur, and the almond-flavored Amaretto play well with each other. The sugar clove rim is what really took it over the top. The spiciness of the cloves mixed with the sweet sugar gives this drink needed sweetness. I'd say it bordered on almost too sweet.

cocktail glass
Sarah Abrams

The flavors of the Amaretto and the triple sec help cut the bitterness from the brandy. The drink had a slightly smoky taste that still came through, even with the citrusy sweetness. I thought the drink would be syrupy and thick, but it was actually very smooth to drink.

The warm spices definitely give this drink a wintry feel. With all the liqueurs this drink is better sipped than chugged down quickly. The candied ginger was the perfect garnish for the drink. The chewy texture is reminiscent of the chewy dried fruit in a real fruitcake. Ginger is naturally spicy, and it was the perfect way to balance the sweet drink. This fruit cake cocktail would make a great after-dinner drink for guests on New Year's Eve.

Variations on the Classic

Just like a classic fruitcake, you can substitute in different alcohols and flavors to best suit your taste.

If you don't like brandy, you could replace it with tequila or mezcal. The mezcal would really amp up the smoky flavor. If you love bourbon or scotch, you can replace the brandy with it. Rum would give this drink a more tropical and spiced flavor. Some recipes replace the Amaretto with cranberry juice. I'd suggest leaving the Amaretto for the nutty flavor, and adding cranberry if you like the tartness.

mixing cocktails
Sarah Abrams

If you want the citrus flavor without the alcohol, you could sub orange juice or lemon juice for the triple sec. If you don't have ground cloves, you could use ground allspice, or even nutmeg, or cinnamon.

If you're a cocktail aficionado, you could try burning an orange peel and adding it as a garnish. This would enhance the smoky flavor and the orange flavor. If you don't have the time to burn the rind, just slicing it and adding it to the glass will do the trick.

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Fruitcake Cocktail 

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 0 minutes

serving

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ounce brandy
  • 1/2 ounce amaretto
  • 1/2 ounce Triple Sec
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions

To make the rim, run ¼ of a lemon around the rim of your glass. On a flat plate, mix one tablespoon sugar with ½ teaspoon ground cloves. Dip the rim of the glass in the sugar mix, making sure to coat all sides of the glass.

Fill a large cocktail shaker with ice and pour in all the alcohol. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. You can serve neat or on the rocks, depending on your personal preference. Garnish with crystallized ginger and a candied fruit peel, like lemon or orange.