Winter is coming, good readers of yore. Wait — scratch that, it’s already here, dagnabbit! While the weather outside is frightful this time of year (unless you’re in a lounge chair on the beach in the Caribbean, in which case we’re turning green with envy), the drinks you can consume during the holidays are nothing short of delightful.
Stuck in a rut when it comes to imbibing holiday drinks? Here are 9 holiday drinks from around the world that you definitely need to try.
Let’s start with something that’s (probably) familiar to you — that glorious, frothy holiday drink called eggnog. Eggnog supposedly originated during Britain’s medieval years and is descended from a drink called “posset,” which consists of milk, eggs and ale or wine. Today’s recipe for eggnog calls for eggs beaten with milk or cream, sugar, and (usually) some kind of distilled spirit such as rum or brandy.
Eggnog really became associated with the holidays, however, once it jumped across the pond to the American colonies in the 1700s. Legend has it that one George Washington, America’s first president, cherished eggnog and had his own high octane recipe, complete with sherry, rye whiskey, and rum. Nowadays, it’s especially popular in Canada and the United States, though its popularity is also on the rise in Australia.
Glühwein, which is roughly translated as “glowing-wine,” is another joyful holiday beverage you might already know. This German-style mulled wine is often found at Christmas markets throughout Germany and Austria; in fact, in those festive Christmas markets in Alsace, it’s traditionally the only alcoholic drink you’ll find. For some extra thirsty fun, drink it mit Schuss (with a shot) — that means rum or some other liquor has been added to your Glühwein. Prost!
Find a great glühwein recipe in this post on German Christmas market foods to make at home.
Not to be outdone, Scandinavia has its own version of mulled wine too. Alcoholic glögg features red wine, sugar, spices (think cinnamon and cardamom), and sometimes stronger spirits like akvavit or brandy. Though it’s commonly associated with Sweden, we had a fantastic version of it in Copenhagen last winter, proving that Denmark is on it when it comes to holiday drinks.
For those of you who aren’t fans of wine, fear not: wassail will be right up your alley. This hot mulled cider is apparently so cool it has its own verb — according to the all-knowing Internet Oracle called Wikipedia, wassailing is “a Medieval Christmastide English drinking ritual intended to ensure a good cider apple harvest the following year.” Yeah, leave it to the United Kingdom to develop a drink that gives folks enough liquid courage to wander around singing carols for their neighbors.
5. Poppy Seed Milk
We had to sneak a healthier holiday drink on this list so we don’t feel too guilty about all the ‘nog we’re consuming in December. Poppy seed milk comes from Lithuania, and it’s part of the twelve-dish Christmas Eve supper that’s traditionally prepared in many Eastern European countries. This non-alcoholic beverage is made by soaking one or two glasses of poppy seeds in hot water until the seeds are soft. Crush the poppy seeds until it becomes a poppy milk concentrate, and then add boiling water and sugar or honey. Presto — a holiday drink that won’t leave you hungover in the morning!
You’d be forgiven for thinking that coquito, or “Little Coconut,” is Puerto Rico’s version of eggnog. Though it actually is called Puerto Rican Eggnog sometimes, this alcoholic holiday drink is made with coconut milk, coconut cream, sweetened condensed milk, and Puerto Rican rum. Many recipes call for spices to be added, such as cinnamon or cloves. If you don’t have the time or money to travel to Puerto Rico, New York City’s El Museo del Barrio hosts an annual Coquito tasting contest in January.
7. Cola de Mono
This tasty holiday beverage comes from Chile and translates to “Monkey’s Tail.” It mainly contains aguardiente (an alcoholic beverage that’s 45% ABV or more), milk, sugar, coffee, and cloves. Given that December is the hottest month for Chile — it’s in the Southern Hemisphere, remember! — the drink is served cold. Think of it as a better, more festive version of a White Russian.
8. Ponche Navideño
Ponche Navideño, or a traditional Mexican “Christmas Punch,” contains fruit, nuts, and spices. It can be served with or without alcohol; try it with hibiscus, guava, apple, cinnamon, and rum.
9. Sorrel Punch
Stranded in the cold, but wishing you were somewhere tropical? Pretend you’re on a beach while drinking sorrel punch. This traditional Christmas beverage features dried hibiscus flowers, which are known are sorrel in Jamaica, as well as ginger. Add in some of that famous Jamaican rum and you’ve got yourself a winning combination.
Feeling thirsty and extra generous this holiday season? Why not sign up for one of our 2021 tours? It’s the perfect gift for thirsty travelers!