By: Natalie Austin, TWIP
As a Twipper you may have spent the year traveling the world, sampling new treats and discovering new traditions. As you head home for the holidays, bring back more than just photos from your adventures. Why not reminisce about your adventures with a festive holiday drink? Here are five traditional Christmas cocktails from around the world to spice up your holiday season.
Glogg – Sweden
If people in Sweden do anything right during the holidays, it’s drink with their loved ones. Naturally, we should be drinking like the Swedes too during the cold winter months. Glogg is a must for those throwing a holiday soiree in Sweden. This mulled wine dates back to 1390, having been a featured recipe in The Forme of Cury, an old English cookbook. Since then, Glogg has been adapted and altered by Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Germany and Austria.
Glogg is made of wine and brandy and seasoned with orange zest, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Served hot, this beverage is perfect for warming up during the holidays. Combining sweet and rich flavors, Glogg will quickly become a holiday staple in your home. To add to Swedish tradition, serve Glogg with gingerbread cookies or lussebullar, a sweet bun made with saffron and raisins.
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 2 teaspoons green cardamom pods
- One 2-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, chopped
- 4 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 12 whole cloves
- 1 cup vodka
- Two 750-ml bottles dry white wine
- 2 cups dry rosé
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
- 1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
- 1/2 cup raisins
In a mortar, crush the cinnamon and cardamom. Transfer to a 1-quart jar. Add the ginger, orange zest, cloves and vodka. Cover; let stand for 24 hours.
Strain the vodka into a large saucepan; discard the solids. Add the remaining ingredients and stir over moderate heat until bubbles form around the edges; do not boil. Serve hot.
Coquito – Puerto Rico
While everyone else will be serving eggnog at their holiday party, mix things up with this Puerto Rican libation. Coquito is made with sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves and spiked with rum. The most important ingredient, however, is fresh coconut milk, which gives it a rich flavor. Coquito’s popularity has also spread to the U.S. in recent years. Throughout the month of December you can attend the Coquito Tasting Contests at El Museo del Barrio in New York City.
- One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- 2 large egg yolks
- One 15-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
- One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup white rum
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
Beat together the evaporated milk and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Strain into a 3-quart pot and simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Transfer the egg yolk mixture to a blender, and blend in batches. Add the remaining ingredients, blending at high speed until frothy. Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate until chilled before serving.
Sorrel Punch – Jamaica
Sorrel punch has been a Jamaican tradition since the late 1600s and served throughout the islands during the season of giving – and for good reason. Not only is this exotic cocktail delicious, but healthy too! Made from dried hibiscus flowers, sorrel contains anti-inflammatory qualities, high levels of Vitamin E, and can even contribute to weight loss. The hibiscus flowers are brewed as a tea, then spiced with ginger and mixed with rum. Sorrel punch is typically served with rum fruitcake, a dessert made with white wine and rum soaked fruits.
- 2 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) dried sorrel calyxes (also called jamaica or hibiscus)
- Two 1-inch cubes of peeled fresh ginger, chopped fine
- 3 whole cloves
- 5 3/4 cups water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups amber rum
- 2 cups ice cubes, or to taste
- Lime and orange slices for garnish
In a heat-proof bowl combine the sorrel, the ginger and the cloves. In a saucepan bring 5 cups of the water to a boil, pour it over the sorrel mixture, and let the mixture steep for 4 hours or overnight. While the mixture is steeping, in a small saucepan bring the remaining 3/4 cup water and the sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and let the syrup cool. Strain the sorrel liquid into a pitcher, discarding the solids, stir in the sugar syrup, the rum and the ice cubes, and garnish the punch with the lime and orange slices.
Ponche Navideño – Mexico
Every Mexican holiday party is only complete when a bowl of Ponche Navidendo is served. Made in a boiling pot with a wide variety of ingredients, Ponche Navidendo is a beautifully colored beverage soon to be a household favorite. After the water is boiled, a whole host of treats are added like apples, pears, prunes, oranges, guavas, raisins and walnuts. For your own personal touch, add your preferred liquor such as brandy, rum or tequila. With all its gorgeous fruit, it’s easy to pretend that we’re being healthful this holiday!
- 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers (jamaica)
- 12 tejocote fruits
- 3 large cinnamon sticks
- 1 cone piloncillo (or 1 cup brown sugar)
- 12 guava fruits, quartered
- 8 tamarind beans, shells and veins removed
- 2 apples, diced
- 1 orange, sliced
- 1 stalk sugar cane, peeled and cut into 3″ sticks
- 1 cup prunes, quartered
- 1 cup pecans or almonds, shelled
In a medium pot, bring 1 quart of water to boil and add hibiscus. Turn off heat and cover. Steep 20 minutes.
Cut the tops and bottoms off the tejocote and cut an “X” in one end, scoring the peel. In a small pot, bring 1 inch water to boil and drop in the tejocote. Boil 8 minutes. Drain and cool. Peel and discard the skins. Set the fruit aside.
In a very large pot, put about 1 gallon of water. Strain the hibiscus tea into it, discarding the flowers. Add the cinnamon and piloncillo. Bring this to boil and stir to dissolve the sugar.
Add remaining ingredients and stir. Simmer 20-30 minutes or until the apples have taken on a pink color.
Serve hot in mugs with a shot of rum or brandy for the adults.
Cola de Mono – Chile
Cola de Mono, or ‘Monkey’s Tail’, is a Chilean beverage served as traditionally and favorably as eggnog. It’s quick to have you “swinging from the trees” when served generously! While it looks similar to eggnog, Cola De Mono has a more similar flavor to a White Russian. Made with coffee, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla extract and your choice of white rum, brandy or vodka, it is sure to be a family favorite!
- 3 cups water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 cloves
- 1 can (14oz/400g) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup brewed espresso bean coffee (i.e. strong)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups pisco, aguardiente, eau de vie, or aquavit
Bring water to a boil in a large pot with cinnamon sticks and cloves Reduce heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. Strain Stir in condensed milk, coffee and vanilla. Allow to cool, then chill. Stir in liquor, and chill again before serving.