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Christmas Cocktails from Around the World

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

Glögg

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

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Preparations

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

Coquito

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

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

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

In a heat-proof bowl combine the sorrel, 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

Ponche Navideno

Every Mexican holiday party is only complete when a bowl of Ponche Navidendois 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!

Ingredients

  • Water
  • 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

Preparations

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 mona

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

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.

TWIPPER OF THE WEEK

Twipper of the Week: Tracey Coleman from Brooklyn Travel Addict!

Current city:  Johannesburg

Age: 39

Total countries visited: Not sure! 30-40?

What makes you interesting: I’m a Creative Director/Event Planner/ Travel Writer/Humanitarian from the South who wandered into Brooklyn and is never moving back! I also have a popcorn obsession.

What brands do you love: Dove, Bose, Zara, any brand of popcorn, and Apple.

What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: Food! I love to eat, so whatever is on the menu during my trips is top priority!

How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: Travel has made me much more empathetic with people abroad who suffer from poverty. That’s why I started a nonprofit called Purpose Driven Passports to find ways to help people in need while on vacation.

What’s your favorite passport stamp and why: Zambia. I jumped off the Victoria Falls Bridge, which is the biggest bridge in the world. It was the single best experience I’ve ever had while traveling and I was in the country for less than 48 hours.

What is your most favorite travel memory: Jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge, and flying over it in a helicopter the day before. An indescribable rush of adrenaline that did not wear off for hours!

Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: The first one I can remember is the San Blas Islands on a cruise around age 10 with my parents.

Next travel destination: Trinidad & Tobago for carnival

 

TWIPPER OF THE WEEK

Twipper of the Week: Phillip Gow!

Current city: London

Age: 26

Total countries visited: 33ish.

What makes you interesting: I love chocolate milk. I am still trying to find chocolate milk that is as good as what I get back home in NZ.

What brands do you love: Huge fan of MacPac. Also Caselogic, Canon, Distilunion

What does “Travel” mean to you: Meeting people who are different to me. Anticipating the feeling of not knowing what I will find or experience, new sounds, new smells, and new views. That’s what makes travel exciting and why it keeps me coming back for more.

#1 thing you must do when traveling: Sometimes when you are in a once in a lifetime moment, you just need to sit and experience it and not worry about taking the shot.

If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: Chengdu – because it’s full of young people, it’s tech-savvy and optimistic. Also, I like to chill like a panda.

Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: Fiji, when I was 6

What is your most favorite travel memory: I have two. One is watching the Northern Lights at a little cottage in the middle of nowhere in Iceland with a dram of Lagavulin Scotch whiskey. The other is Bamboo Rafting through the bizarre alien looking peaks of Yangshuo in China.

It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: Greenland, Mongolia, Antarctica, Kazakhstan, Svalbard.

Next travel destination: Matterhorn, Switzerland

Twipper of the Month – November 2017

Twipper of the Month – November 2017: Tara Donaldson from Living With The Travel Bug

“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.” – Isabelle Eberhardt

These are words Tara Donaldson, our Twipper of the Month for November, lives by. This Brooklyn-based travel writer and editor has been a contributing writer since 2012, and gets her motivation and inspiration from everything. You may have read some of her articles in Conde Nast, Huffington Post Travel and CNN Travel covering topics about Carnival in Trinidad & Tobago , finding the coolest town in South America, and  packing your carry-on like a pro. What makes Tara interesting? It’s not just the places she has traveled to but the stories she shares about some of the most magical destinations, people and cultures she has experienced. Her favorite destination thus far has been the Great Pyramids of Giza. “Those Pyramids are such an incredible feat to see up close…That was easily one of the best travel moments I’ve ever had,” says Tara. She has no plans of slowing down anytime soon and hopes to visit India in the near future. For now, Tara is going to return to a location she calls home; Trinidad & Tobago.

12 Magical Christmas Markets Around The World

Photo courtesy of torontochristmasmarket.com

By: Juliette Koronkiewicz, TWIP

Every year, in many cities around the world, Christmas markets open and people flock to watch carolers, events, tree lightings and shop for everyone on their Christmas list. You can’t help but feel the spirit of the holidays when walking into these winter wonderlands of sparkling Christmas trees, savory scents, and sweet treats. Visiting one or some of these 12 Christmas Markets is the perfect way to get yourself into the holiday spirit.

Striezelmarkt – Dresden, Germany: November 29 – December 24, 2017

Photo courtesy of download-wallpaper.net

Dresden Striezelmarkt is Germany’s oldest Christmas market and this year will mark the 583rd anniversary of this historical Christmas display. Locals visit this market every year to stock up on festive foods and Christmas shop. Amongst the many market stalls are popular woodcraft from the Erz Mountains, beautiful hand-made tinsels, winter accessories, hand-made candles and more. Dresden Stollen Festival is one of the most popular main events during this month-long Christmas market. A visit to Dresden Christmas Market isn’t complete without tasting some of its famous stollen; a traditional German Christmas fruit and nut bread.

Budapest Christmas Fair – Budapest, Hungary: Nov 10, 2017 – Dec 31, 2017

Photo courtesy of budapestchristmas.com

The Christmas market on St. Stephen’s Square is the newest market in Budapest and right in front of the beautiful St. Stephen’s Basilica. Opened for the first time in 2011, the market has beautiful decorations, stalls filled with handmade gifts to cross people off your shopping list, and delicious food. Did we forget to mention you can also go ice skating? You can view the illuminating St. Stephen’s Basilica while taking a few laps around the ice skating rink. Every day, on the hour, between 4.30pm and 10pm, you can see the Basilica’s facade turn into a stunning visual Christmas narrative. This market is known for its beautiful lights in the evenings, which makes you feel as if you are in the middle of a magical Christmas wonderland.

Tivoli Gardens’ Christmas Market – Copenhagen, Denmark: November 18 – December 31st

Photo courtesy of pinterest.co.uk

Every year, the Tivoli Gardens are transformed into a winter wonderland. Up to one million lights are activated to create Christmas in Tivoli. The Tivoli Christmas Market has been running since 1994 and attracts more than a million visitors each year. During your visit, you will find mouth watering food and drinks, thanks to the mulled wine and apple pancakes, and you can discover everything from beautiful knitwear to Christmas ornaments and crafts. While at Tivoli, don’t forget to ride the Pixie Train and the Music Carousel.  

Christkindlesmarik – Strasbourg, France: November 24th – December 30th

Photo courtesy of flickriver.com/photos/davidad64

Known as the “Capital of Christmas,” Strasbourg is home to Christkindlesmarik, France’s oldest and most popular holiday market. Christkindelsmarik comprises twelve markets which are organized by products such as food, decorations and handmade crafts. Place Kléber holds the piece de resistance: a giant Christmas tree with shimmering ornaments and lights. Visitors will find 60 small wooden huts in Place Kléber, where different organizations take donations and explain their charitable mission. In keeping with holiday spirit, many visitors leave gifts by the Christmas tree for those in need. With its famous Christmas Tree, illuminations, unique wooden chalets, bredele cakes and hot wine, there’s always magic in the air at Strasbourg’s Christmas Market.

Christkindlmarket – Chicago, USA: November 17th – December 24th

Photo courtesy of 10best.com

Christkindlmarket Chicago is inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany. You will find German and European tradition mixed with international flair and local charm when you visit. The outdoor market in the Chicago Loop has become so popular and loved, that people from all over the world come to visit. Any Chicagoan will tell you that they could not imagine the city without this  Chicago tradition. The unique shopping experience, typical German food and drinks, and holiday entertainment make the Christkindlmarket Chicago a preferred and popular destination to get in the holiday spirit.

The Old Town Market (Skansen) – Stockholm, Sweden: November 19th – December 23rd

Photo courtesy of lifeoftrends.com

The Old Town Christmas Market has it‘s origin in the medieval markets at Stockholm in 1837 and has been an ongoing tradition. With more than 40 stalls to explore, you will find a lot of Swedish Christmas specialities such as Swedish Christmas sweets, smoked sausages, smoked reindeer, elk meat, handmade knitted caps, candy floss, glögg (mulled wine), a range of Swedish handicrafts and decorative arts of high-quality workmanship and so much more. The vendors renting the stalls are all entrepreneurs and are selected to give you a wide range of traditional Swedish products, with a focus on handicraft and unique items for a truly authentic Swedish Christmas experience.

Christmas Markets – Manchester, England: November 10th – December 21st

Photo courtesy of theblackandwhiteedit.co.uk

Launched in 1999 as just a single site in St. Ann’s Square, Manchester’s Christmas Markets are now a sprawling and hugely popular festive attraction. Over 300 stalls and chalets spread across the city centre offers delicious international food, drinks and delicately crafted Yuletide gifts. You can taste traditional bratwurst, Hungarian goulash, Spanish paella or a good old-fashioned hog roast. European and local producers offer everything from fine amber jewellery, handcrafted leather bags and top-quality bonsai trees, to handmade Belgian kitchenware, framed photo prints and French soaps.

Christkindlmarkt Salzburg – Salzburg, Austria: November 23rd – December 26th

Photo courtesy of christkindlmarkt.co.at

Experience the incredible old Austrian tradition and find the most wonderful Christmas presents for your loved ones at Salzburg’s Christmas Market! Salzburg’s Christmas market located around the cathedral of Salzburg at the foot of the Hohensalzburg fortress, is mentioned in history as far back as the 15th century. When you visit Salzburg, you enter a stage for countless cultural events, lovingly fostered tradition and living customs. With snow often turning the city into an atmospheric winter wonderland, the many Christmas markets add to the seasonal feeling and make Salzburg one of the most romantic cities in Austria.

Plaisirs d’Hiver – Brussels, Belgium: November 24th – December 31st

Photo courtesy of theculturetrip.com

There’s no better way to get into the Christmas mood than spending some time at Brussels’ Plaisirs d’Hiver, coined as “Europe’s most original Christmas market.” There are Baroque merry-go-rounds, a 200 foot-long ice rink, a big wheel and over 240 stalls selling gifts, and warming food and drink fit for those crispy wintery days. Indulge with the delicious flavors of the local sugary doughnuts while observing the 18,000 lights illuminating the Ferris wheel, decorations, and music while taking in the holiday atmosphere.

Edinburgh’s Christmas Market – Edinburgh, Scotland: November 17th – January 7th

Photo courtesy of webstore.ncl.ac.uk

The traditional and romantic Christmas Market in the heart of Edinburgh offers a unique shopping experience for every visitor. These festive markets are a popular highlight of Edinburgh’s Christmas.  Find traditional crafts at the Scottish Market on George Street. Pick up unique gifts and goods at the European Market in the Mound Precinct, or choose presents for the little ones in the Children’s Market, part of Santa Land at Princes Street Gardens. You can enjoy panoramic views of the capital from the top of the Big Wheel, spin around on the charming carousel in East Princes Street Gardens, brave a twirl on the 60-meter-high Star Flyer or just enjoy delicious food and drink.

Toronto Christmas Market  – Toronto, Canada: November 16th – December 23rd

Photo courtesy of torontochristmasmarket.com

Discover Old World charm with modern-day holiday attractions at The Toronto Christmas Market. The market features festive lighting and décor, musical performances from carolers and Bavarian brass bands. Warm up with beer, mulled wine, or hot rum drinks at the market’s beer gardens and hospitality lounges. Browse through local, handcrafted products and check out the market’s giant Christmas tree. If you love caroling, join in on the World Caroling Challenge on December 15th and sing some of your favorite Christmas tunes!

Old Town and Wenceslas Square Christmas Market – Prague, Czech Republic: December 2nd – January 6th

Photo courtesy of theodysseyonline.com

If you want an unforgettable experience, you need to experience Christmas in Prague!  The unique atmosphere of the medieval central Prague makes the Christmas Markets at the Old Town Square very popular. The variety of food and beverages sold at the market is very generous. Visitors may look forward to traditional Czech food and drink like barbecued pork, blood sausages, Czech muffins, conkers, beer, mulled wine, mead and other typical gastronomical specialties from Old Czech cuisine. You can find gifts for everyone on your list with a variety of wood-carved toys, glass-workwear, blacksmith´s ware or confectionery.

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