Nothing says “Christmas” quite like cozying up in front of a festive movie with a glass or mug of your favorite holiday drink. Whether you prefer mulled wine, hot chocolate, or a boozy Christmas cocktail, a festive-themed drink always helps get you in that holiday spirit. But what’s the most popular Christmas drink in your area, and do you agree?
The classic ceramics brand Denby has put together a map showing the most popular festive beverages in every state, according to Google Trends data*. And, some of the results may surprise you!
Hot chocolate was the runaway favorite across the nation, topping the list in 17 states, including California, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Illinois, and Texas. Whether you’re in snowy Pennsylvania or the sunny West Coast, it seems you just can’t beat a cup of hot cocoa during the holidays.
The trendy peppermint mocha was the favorite drink in 13 states, including Michigan, Nevada, and South Dakota. Typically made from espresso, steamed milk, peppermint syrup, and mocha sauce, and topped with whipped cream and sprinkles, this decadent concoction first appeared in Starbucks stores back in 2002. A version of this minty mocha can now be found in almost all coffee shops during the holiday season — some diehard fans even drink it all year round!
Another popular choice was eggnog, which was a top choice in eight states. Traditionally made from chilled eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and spices, eggnog has long been one of those drinks that people seem to love or hate. But, with the drink getting lots of search interest in eight states — including Florida, Hawaii, Connecticut, and Louisiana — there are clearly still lots of fans of this old-school festive staple out there.
What do these results tell us?
The research revealed some interesting patterns and trends. Perhaps unsurprisingly, warming, boozy drinks tend to be more popular in colder states. Hot toddies are the drink of choice in wintry Colorado, while hot buttered rum took first place in Alaska. When you consider that temperatures in Anchorage, Alaska, often dip to 0°F or below in December, it’s easy to see why this warming, rich, and boozy drink is so popular there.
Conversely, cold drinks were more popular in warmer states. Eggnog — which is traditionally served chilled — was the most popular drink in tropical states like Florida, Louisiana, and Hawaii. However, it was also the top pick in cooler states like Vermont, showing that there’s a lot of love for this holiday classic in every corner of the USA.
Some results revealed surprising facts about each state. The Brandy Alexander — a decadent concoction made from cream, crème de cacao, spices, and, of course, brandy — was only the most popular drink in one state: Wisconsin. This might seem strange at first, but it makes a bit more sense when you remember that brandy is a big deal in Wisconsin. In fact, the Badger state consumes around half of Korbel’s entire brandy supply every year (Milwaukee Magazine). So, it’s actually not that surprising that Wisconsinites are so partial to a Brandy Alexander during the holidays.
There were a few outliers, though. Who’d have guessed that the people of Maine would be such big fans of mulled cider, or that Virginians would favor a gingerbread latte?
Tips for festive drinks: 5 tips to elevate your hot chocolate
Whatever the most popular drink in your home state, there’s no denying that the holidays are the perfect time to cozy up with a festive beverage. Here, Denby have shared five ways to elevate America’s favorite Christmas drink: hot chocolate.
1. Add syrups and flavorings: Flavored coffee syrups will bring a fun new twist to your cup of cocoa in an instant. Gingerbread, peppermint, and winter spiced syrup are all classic choices for a holiday drink, or you could experiment with some slightly more unusual additions like popcorn, winterberry, or butterscotch flavorings.
2. Presentation is key: How your hot chocolate looks is almost just as important as how it tastes. So, be sure to use your favorite ceramic mug, and pile the toppings high to really give it that wow-factor. Or, use a stencil to create a festive design on the top using cocoa powder, or even edible glitter!
3. Make it grown-up: For a more adult take on classic cocoa, use a 70% cocoa instant hot chocolate, or melt your favorite extra-dark, low-sugar chocolate in hot milk.
4. Add a dash of festive spirit: Irish cream and whisky might be the traditional choices for hot cocoa, but there’s no need to stop there. This year, experiment with some more unusual booze, like spiced rum, amaretto, crème de menthe, or curaçao. Like it spicy? Try a hot chili liqueur!
5. Serve with a holiday treat: It goes without saying that whipped cream and sprinkles are obligatory, but why not add a holiday treat as well? A mini candy cane, a caramel waffle, or a gingerbread cookie will all give your hot cocoa an extra festive feel.
*All data is taken from Google Trends. We put together a shortlist of ten classic festive drinks, then entered each one into Google Trends and broke down the results by state to gauge regional search interest over a five-year period. We then created a table to work out which drink was most popular in each state. The full dataset can be viewed here. All data accurate as of November 4th 2021.
About the brand
Denby is one of Britain’s oldest pottery manufacturers, operating since 1809 in Derbyshire, England. Their handcrafted homewares and ceramics are still made in England, and are renowned for their durability, versatility, and style. Denby products are loved by customers worldwide, and are available in 26 countries.