It’s a Wonderful Life

This post contains affiliate links. See our disclosure policy here.

Get Our Recipes Sent To Your Inbox
Thanks! Keep an eye on your inbox for updates.

Cocktail History

The It’s a Wonderful Life is a Christmas cocktail that was created by food writer and author Jessica Strand and was first published in her book Very Merry Cocktails: 50+ Festive Drinks for the Holiday Season. As a nod to the character George Bailey, the recipe calls for Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur and mixes it with half & half and the bright flavor of green crème de menthe, which also gives the drink a faint yet festive color.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Half & Half: This is a dairy product made with equal parts milk and cream. We used Prairie Farm Half & Half.

Irish Cream Liqueur: This type of spirit made with cream, whiskey, sugar, and spices. We used Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur because it’s exceptionally creamy and flavorful. For a mocktail version of this drink, use Bailey’s Non-Alcoholic Irish Cream Coffee Creamer in place of the liqueur.

Green Crème De Menthe: This is a type of spirit made with mint leaves, sugar, green food coloring, and alcohol. We used Drillaud Green Crème De Menthe because it has a refreshing mint flavor. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Monin Non-Alcoholic Green Mint Syrup in place of the liqueur.

Ground Cinnamon: This is the garnish. We used Simply Organic Ground Cinnamon.

Tasting Notes

The It’s a Wonderful Life features aromas of fresh cinnamon and mint, has a menthol-packed sweet cream taste that features a hint of Irish cream’s whiskey note, and finishes with the lingering flavors of Irish cream and mint in the aftertaste.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: You can’t really go wrong with a combination of tasty ingredients, nor is this recipe all that revolutionary, but we have to admit we struck gold with the altered specs. The heavy dose of mint plays well with the rest of the ingredients and makes for a simple drink that is as delicious as it is festive.

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“While the original cocktail in the book was quite tasty, it bore no resemblance to its photo, which showed it as a bright pastel green. Instead, it came out your standard white cream color, and since Kendall bases her photo setups at least partially on the assumed color of the drink, we decided to do a slight reformulation to make this one work. While we’re now quite sure the photo that inspired us used food coloring, we ended up turning up the crème de menthe which made for a delicious drink. Ours blended a heavy mint note with the slight backup flavors from Irish cream, and it ended up being even better than the one we started with, in our opinion.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“As Alex said, to achieve the drink’s green-ish color that was shown in the book, we had to alter the recipe by using quite a bit more crème de menthe. Increasing an ingredient like that can be risky, but it turned out we both enjoyed the second version quite a bit more. The first wasn’t quite balanced—too heavy on the Irish cream with a hint a mint; meanwhile, the second, which is the recipe we’re sharing, puts the delightful minty flavor front and center. I enjoyed this cocktail quite a bit and can definitely see myself making it again.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Very Merry Cocktails: 50+ Festive Drinks for the Holiday Season by Jessica Strand.

Very Merry Cocktails: 50+ Festive Drinks for the Holiday Season
Very Merry Cocktails: 50+ Festive Drinks for the Holiday Season
Hardcover Book; Strand, Jessica (Author); English (Publication Language); 128 Pages – 09/22/2020 (Publication Date) – Chronicle Books (Publisher)
$19.95

AuthorVery Merry Cocktails

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 2 oz Half & Half
 1 ½ oz Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur
 1 ½ oz Green Crème De Menthe
 Ground Cinnamon

Method
1

Add half & half, Irish cream liqueur, green crème de menthe, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass over fresh crushed ice.

4

Garnish with ground cinnamon.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 2 oz Half & Half
 1 ½ oz Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur
 1 ½ oz Green Crème De Menthe
 Ground Cinnamon

Directions

Method
1

Add half & half, Irish cream liqueur, green crème de menthe, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass over fresh crushed ice.

4

Garnish with ground cinnamon.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Make It a Mocktail: Use Bailey’s Non-Alcoholic Irish Cream Coffee Creamer in place of the Irish cream liqueur and Monin Non-Alcoholic Green Mint Syrup in place of the crème de menthe liqueur to try a booze-free version of this drink.

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

Culver 22k Gold Rim Cardinal Holly Berries DOF Double Old-Fashioned Holiday Glasses, 13.5-Ounce, Gift Boxed Set of 2
Culver 22k Gold Rim Cardinal Holly Berries DOF Double Old-Fashioned Holiday Glasses, 13.5-Ounce, Gift Boxed Set of 2
Lead Free Glass, Made in the USA, 22k Gold Rim, Hand Wash Recommended; Glass Dimension inches: 4.25 Height x 3.38 Top Diameter x 3.13 Bottom Diameter
Culver Holiday Decorated Frosted Double Old Fashioned Tumbler Glasses, 13.5-Ounce, Gift Boxed Set of 2 (Melting Snowman)
Culver Holiday Decorated Frosted Double Old Fashioned Tumbler Glasses, 13.5-Ounce, Gift Boxed Set of 2 (Melting Snowman)
Lead Free Frosted Glass, Made in the USA, Dishwasher Safe, Top Rack Recommended
$22.79
Sale
Culver 22k Gold Rim Poinsettia Pine Cones DOF Double Old-Fashioned Holiday Glasses, 13.5-Ounce, Gift Boxed Set of 2
Culver 22k Gold Rim Poinsettia Pine Cones DOF Double Old-Fashioned Holiday Glasses, 13.5-Ounce, Gift Boxed Set of 2
Lead Free Glass, Made in the USA, 22k Gold Rim, Hand Wash Recommended; Glass Dimension inches: 4.25 Height x 3.38 Top Diameter x 3.13 Bottom Diameter
$22.99
I-MART Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks Martini Picks Set (Pack of 15)
I-MART Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks Martini Picks Set (Pack of 15)
Measure: 4.25″; Material: stainless steel 304, color: silver; Reusable martini olive skewers, stainless steel olive stuffer.
$6.99

More Christmas Cocktails

If you like this Christmas-inspired cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Poinsettia Cooler Cocktail Recipe

Poinsettia Cooler: A tequila cocktail made with cranberry juice, cranberry shrub, lime juice, and cranberries

The Little Donkey Cocktail Recipe

The Little Donkey: A vodka cocktail made with gingerbread syrup, lime juice, ginger beer, and a cinnamon stick

Kohler Mint Cocoa Cocktail Recipe

Kohler Mint Cocoa: A chocolate mint brandy cocktail made with milk, white peppermint schnapps, dark crème de cacao, cocoa powder, whipped cream, and grated chocolate

Cranberry Cobbler Cocktail Recipe

Cranberry Cobbler: A sherry cocktail made with cranberry syrup, orange slices, a mint sprig, and cranberries

This post contains affiliate links, meaning we make a small commission each time you purchase a product using our links. Product images sourced from Amazon Product Advertising API. Amazon affiliate links last updated on 2023-01-31.

Leave a comment