Nothing quite brings in the holidays like a nice glass of eggnog (preferably with a little splash of The Captain.) Holiday beverages are as various as the traditions around them. Almost every culture in the world enjoys special food and drinks as they celebrate this festive time of year. The combinations of spices and mixers are a reflection of those celebrating, painting a picture of their unique place in the world. Try something different this holiday season with one of these exotic Yuletide specialties.
In the northern reaches of Norway and Finland, nothing quite satisfies on snowy winter nights like a good mug of Glögg. Glögg is a mulled wine filled with a variety of intoxicating spices, fruits, and nuts. Classic recipes include clove, cinnamon, orange, almonds, wine, port, and aquavit. Glögg is generally more alcoholic than most other mulled wines – necessary for those frigid nights in the deep north. It is and is served with a spoon so that the nuts can be fished from the glass as a tasty treat. Find our favorite recipe here. Photo courtesy of NPR
Coming from tropical Puerto Rico, Coquito is a coconut based drink served chilled with a texture similar to eggnog. Traditional ingredients include coconut milk, rum, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and clove. Coquito is served in a small tumbler and pairs particularly well with dessert. Try it with some decadent coconut pudding or flan. Find our favorite recipe here. Photo courtesy of Quericavida
This spanish sparkler has been gaining in popularity across the globe. The refreshing spritz and delightful bubbles are incredibly festive, great for bringing cheer to holiday fiestas. Cava pairs wonderfully with a variety of Christmas specialties. Spanish holiday meals can be lengthy affairs, with course after course of tapas, fish, pork and desserts. A glass (or two) of cava can delight your palate through the entire meal! Photo courtesy of snooth.com
Cola de Mono
Literally translated to Monkey’s Tail, this Chilean specialty is a wonderful, creamy Christmas pleasure. Traditional recipes include Aguardiente, cinnamon, clove, coffee, milk and vanilla. Cola de Mono is served chilled in a cordial or lowball glass. Leave some with a bit of Pan de Pasqua for Santa this year and you are certain to get an extra present under the tree. Find our favorite recipe here. Photo courtesy of VeryBestBaking.
Found all over the tropical island of Jamaica throughout the holidays, expressions of floral beverage are as varied as they are spicy. Sorrel petals (hibiscus), rum, and ginger are standard in every recipe. The spice mixture can be incredibly varied with classic holiday combinations. A touch of citrus makes each drink incredibly refreshing, while a splash of rum will certainly keep the festive mood in the air. Find our favorite recipe here. Photo credit of CaribbeanPot
This medieval English specialty has evolved much over the past six centuries. Originally served as a spiced mead, Wassail now uses a mulled ale or cider as the base. Fortified wine, apples, and spices are added and the drink is served warm in a glass mug. In olden times, it would have been served from large communal bowl with a piece of toast for sopping up the last bits. Wassail works wonders warming those pipes after a night out caroling! Find our favorite recipe here. Photo courtesy of TasteofHome
This Mexican punch is a delightfully fruity way to warm up this Holiday season. Spiced and served hot from a large bowl, Ponche Navideño includes a variety of fruit. Tejocote, hibiscus, and guava are classic additions, with rum, brandy, and tequila all viable options for that extra warming kick. Serve it with some fresh fruit bread at your next Christmas party and your guests will certainly be satisfied. Find our favorite recipe here. Photo courtesy of Goya.com
Considered the world over to be the best way to hail in the New Year, this French regional specialty has a rich history of celebration (the marketers of Champagne have worked tirelessly for 500 years to make it that way). Generally rounder than their Spanish counterparts, the wines of Champagne exhibit notes of toast, citrus, green apple, and a great expression of minerality.
With twelve days of Christmas, eight days of Hanukkah, and seven days of Kwanzaa, there should be plenty of opportunity to try all of these wonderful holiday offerings. Enjoy a warming glass of Ponche Navideño or a refreshing spritz of Cava as you sit around the fire with family. After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year. So live a little with these delicious libations from around the world!