It’s the holiday season, our favorite time of year to mix alcohol with…just about everything. One of the best parts of traveling during this time of year is getting to sample the local holiday drink of choice, but if you’re celebrating from home this year, you can easily recreate these concoctions to bring some new flavors to old traditions. From Europe’s mulled wine to Chile’s Cola de Mono, these favorite holiday drinks are sure to help bring a little (or a lot of) extra Christmas cheer.
Glühwein (Germany, Europe)
Popular in the Christmas markets of Germany, Glühwein-or mulled wine- is the perfect drink to help warm up a cold night. Spiced with a combination of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and bitter orange (in Germany they also use lemon and in France, they’ll throw in some vanilla bean), it’s a delicious and effective way to ward off the cold. If you’re lucky enough to be wandering the Christmas markets while sipping this hot spiced wine make sure to pair it with an (apple cake) or a Bratwurst.
Dating back as far as the 1400’s, wassail (Old English for “be well”) is the hot mulled cider that accompanies an age-old British tradition intended to bring health, blessings, and a good apple harvest. Mixed with sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, wassail usually includes a base of wine or mulled ale with a splash of brandy or sherry for good mix. The tradition also includes caroling, which we can only imagine is the inevitable result of ingesting copious amounts of hot mulled cider.
Cola de Mono (Chile)
Christmas in Chile is paired with a cold glass of Cola de Mono (or monkey’s tail). Mixed with aguardiente, milk, coffee, vanilla bean, and cloves, Chile’s version of egg nog has a flavor profile similar to that of a White Russian. Basically it’s delicious and the perfect compliment to the holiday season. Unlike egg nog, however, this one is strictly for the adults.
Eggnog (Canada, U.S.)
While there is some debate about the exact location of this drink’s origins, it is has become the definitive drink of Christmas in both Canada and the U.S. Made ever better with rum, this blend of milk, eggs, and sugar is a rich and indulgent holiday treat.
Ponche Navideño (Mexico)
This traditional Mexican Christmas hot punch is made with sugar cane, apples and/or pears or citrus, raisins, prunes, and tejocotes (an indigenous fruit used by the Aztecs). For the adult version, add tequila, brandy, or rum. If you’re celebrating Christmas in Mexico this year, be sure to search out the street vendors ladling out cups of this delicious punch.