The Snowball

Merry Christmas everyone!

As you may know, I like to write a boozy post at this time of year and this year’s is small but perfectly formed: the Christmassy and rather kitsch classic, the Snowball, a blend of the Dutch egg yolk-based liqueur Advocaat and lemonade.

A lot of people think Snowballs are a bit naff, but I love them. The problem is that they can be too sweet and cloying, but that’s because folk don’t realise that there are two other very important ingredients – brandy and fresh lime juice. They both cut through the custardy sweet Advocaat and subtly transform it. I recommend you go out and buy the ingredients right now!

The Snowball cocktail was invented in the 1940s but didn’t become popular until the 1970s, where it was stripped of all sophistication by those who used only Advocaat and lemonade, missing out the ingredients they supposed to be superfluous producing the sickly cocktail we all know today.

Advocaat is a Dutch liqueur. Its name is a bit of a mystery; most reckon it comes from the Dutch word for advocate or lawyer. The 1882 edition of the Dictionary of the Dutch Language says it is ‘…a good lubricant for the throat and thus considered especially useful for a lawyer, who must speak in public.’

There is another theory that it was originally made by 17th-Century Dutch settlers in the Americas using creamy avocados, sugar and rum. I am assuming that because this is the most exciting story of the two that it is the apocryphal one. Occam’s Razor and all that…

Anyway, I hope you have a great Christmas – and a good few PROPER Snowballs.



Per person:

25 ml (1 shot) Advocaat

12.5 ml (a ½ shot) brandy

Juice ¼ of a lime


Around 75 ml lemonade

To garnish: a thin slice of lime

Pour the Advocaat, brandy and lime juice in a cocktail shaker and add plenty of ice.

Shake well and strain into glasses. Add a single ice cube per glass and top up with a little lemon (it will fizz up!).

Stir and garnish with the slice of lime.


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The History of Christmas Cocktails (2015), Make Me a Cocktail

The Origins of Advocaat, By the Dutch



Filed under Britain, Christmas, Festivals, General, history, Recipes

7 responses to “The Snowball

  1. LSolt8084

    Merry Christmas! Thanks so much for sharing! My husband and I have made your mulled wine the last five years or so on Christmas eve. We like that one a lot. It is now part of our Christmas traditions. I’ll see if I can find this Dutch liquor in the states to try this one too. I’d never heard of it. Best wishes:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic – I wish my parents had put brandy in the snowballs I was give at Christmas in the 70s! If I remember correctly, after being shown how to mix it with lemonade, I was allowed to help my self.
    I’m inclined to believe Advocaat is named for or after advocates, because the word comes from Latin and is common to most European languages. The Spanish word for avocado is aguacate, which was Anglicised to avogato. I wouldn’t be surprised if Advocaat has a similar root to Eggnog and Posset.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow I used to love Snowballs at Christmas! Thanks for the history lesson – very insightful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: All Round To Ronnie’s For Christmas Drinks!

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