Festive Candy Cane Martini That's Pepper-Meant to Delight You

Stand out from the peppermint mocha crowd with this elegant candy cane martini recipe.

Updated January 25, 2024
candy cane martini

This ice-cool candy cane martini gives winter a taste of its own medicine. Jump headfirst into the festive spirit with a modern cocktail that'll look as pretty as all your holiday decorations. We don't know about you, but this is the kind of cocktail we think is worth getting put on the naughty list for. 

How to Make a Candy Cane Martini 

This refreshing martini is the perfect balm for those dark and dismal winter months. With some vanilla vodka, peppermint schnapps, and a handful of other ingredients you can have this one ready the minute you walk in from the cold. And if this one just isn't sweet enough for you, try adding a splash of vanilla schnapps or white créme de cacao on top. 


  • Lemon wedge and sugar for the rim
  • 1½ ounces vanilla vodka
  • ½ ounce peppermint schnapps
  • ¼ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ ounce grenadine
  • Ice
  • Candy cane for garnish


  1. Rub the martini glass or coupe's rim with the lemon wedge.
  2. Spread the sugar out on a saucer. Dip the rim of the glass into the sugar a few times to fully coat it. Set aside. 
  3. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, vanilla vodka, peppermint schnapps, lemon juice, and grenadine.
  4. Shake to chill.
  5. Strain into the prepared glass.
  6. Garnish with a candy cane.
Quick Tip

If red doesn't match your winter wonderland scheme, skip the grenadine. You'll still have all that minty freshness without the Rudolph-red color. 

8 Variations and Substitutions to Try 

Candy cane martinis are endlessly versatile. There are no limits on how many ways you can customize this cocktail while staying true to its essence. From photo-ready garnishes to spirit substitutions, we've got enough options to get you through the winter. 

  • Add a splash of simple syrup for a sweeter taste.
  • Use gin instead of vodka for a more herbaceous candy cane martini.
  • Cover the rim in crushed candy cane pieces instead of sugar. 
  • Consider a red and white sprinkle rim for a pop of color.
  • Skip the sugar rim for a less sweet martini.
  • Toss in a lemon peel for a colorful contrast to the drink.
  • Pierce several whole cranberries on a cocktail skewer for a decorative twist.
  • If you've got a huge sweet tooth, substitute ¼ ounce grenadine for ¼ ounce white chocolate liqueur. 

Related: 8 Peppermint Martinis With a Sweet Kick of Flavor

Send Your Tastebuds on Some Peppermint Twists & Turns 

Candy canes are a holiday staple, but you shouldn't just relegate them to being festive desserts and Christmas tree decorations. Instead, swap out your swizzle sticks, pull out the peppermint schnapps, and make yourself a cocktail that'll have your tastebuds going through some peppermint twists and turns. 

Festive Candy Cane Martini That's Pepper-Meant to Delight You