A Toast to Mistletoe, Battleships & a Festive Cocktail


‘Tis the season to get creative with recipes and cocktails peppered with gingerbread and peppermint. While these may be some of our favorite winter flavors, have you considered adding mistletoe to your holiday repertoire of beverages? 

Even though you can’t actually consume mistletoe — it’s highly poisonous — the minty green leaves attached to clusters of berries on woody stems have inspired festive concoctions for ages.  

The history of mistletoe dates back centuries, as many cultures used it as a healing plant to address everything from sickness to fertility. For many people, it symbolized love, which led to the romantic connection and present-day tradition to hang it above a doorway and steal a smooch while underneath.

Mistletoe branch | Credit Pixel-Shot on Shutterstock


If you add a bit of maritime trivia to this popular yuletide plant, boaters at holiday events can impress their crew with the stories of three U.S. war ships named Mistletoe.

The first was a small steamer tugboat built in St. Louis in 1861. The vessel served at the Cairo Naval Base during the American Civil War. Her task was to tow ships when they became stuck or inoperable.

The second USS Mistletoe was a wooden lighthouse tender built in Chester, PA, in 1872. The 153-foot ship was operated by the Lighthouse Service of the Commerce Department and transferred to the Navy to serve in World War I as a patrol boat out of Staten Island, NY. 

The third Mistletoe entered service in September 1939 out of Portsmouth, VA, during World War II. She later patrolled the President’s Cup Regatta from 1950-1952 and assisted in emergency search and rescues until decommissioning in 1968. 

To honor the festive spirit, toast with the following mistletoe-inspired cocktail seasoned with a dash of nautical history.

Frozen Mistletoe Margarita

A fresh and fruity berry-flavored mix


12 oz. silver tequila

8 oz. Triple Sec

½ cup whole cranberries

½ cup granulated sugar, divided

½ cup + 1 tbsp. lime juice, divided

2 tbsp. kosher salt

2 cups cranberry juice

1 lime wedge and mint for garnish

12 cups ice

Step 1:

Frozen Christmas Cocktail | Credit Candice Bell on Shutterstock

In a medium bowl, toss cranberries with 1 tablespoon of lime juice, drain out lime juice, then toss with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Pour onto a baking sheet to dry.

Step 2:
For salted and sugary rim, combine remaining sugar and salt on a plate. Rub the top of the glass with the lime wedge for moisture and dip the rim in the sugar/salt mixture.

Step 3:
Fill a large blender with 12 cups of ice. Combine all ingredients into blender until smooth. 

Step 4:
Pour into rimmed glass, garnish and enjoy!

*Recipe courtesy of delish.com

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