What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with a tasty winter cocktail? And, because we like to mix things up once in a while, we decided to find out what cocktails countries around the world enjoy during the holiday season. Here are some of our favorites.
No one knows exactly when the hot toddy originated, though many credit it back to the 1780s (the name toddy perhaps came from the “Todian” Well, an ancient water source in Edinburgh). Regardless, the warm cocktail has become a staple for cold winter nights in Scotland. Try out the recipe below, courtesy of The Scotsman.
- 35 ml blended Scotch whisky
- 1 Tbsp Honey
- 100-200 ml boiling water
- 1 lemon
- Stick of cinnamon (optional)
- Star anise (optional)
- Cut the lemon in half, then cut a ½-inch slice from one of the halves, set aside.
- Dust a plate with a thin coat of sugar, then use one lemon half to wet the rim. Turn the glass upside down and dip into the sugar to dust the glass.
- Pour whisky into the glass, then add honey.
- Add the boiling water.
- Add a few cloves, then squeeze the juice from lemon into the glass and stir.
- Optional: Add a stick of cinnamon or some star anise for extra flavor.
- Cut the lemon slice in half, adding one to the glass and using the other to garnish.
Much like the hot toddy, the origin of the ponche Navideño is unknown, though it is said to have come from the Indian drink pãc, adopted by Spaniards and subsequently brought to Mexico. The warm Mexican fruit punch includes cinnamon, seasonal fruits, and raw sugar cane. Turn it into a cocktail by adding your choice of tequila, mezcal, rum, or whiskey. Mexico in My Kitchen has the perfect recipe for you to try:
- 4 quarts water
- 1 large piloncillo cone (or 12 ounces brown sugar)
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 pound tejocotes (crab apples)
- 1½ pounds guavas
- ¾ cup prunes, chopped
- 1½ cups apples, chopped
- 1 cup pear, chopped
- ½ cup raisins
- 3 sugar cane sticks, about 5 inches long, cut into four pieces each
- 1 cup tamarind pods, peeled (or 1 cup hibiscus flowers)
- Rum to taste
- Place water in a large stockpot.
- Add the piloncillo and cinnamon to cook for about 15 minutes. If you are using fresh tejocotes, add them with the piloncillo and cinnamon since they take longer to soften.
- Add the chopped guavas, apples, and prunes with the sugar cane sticks and tamarind pods. If you are using the canned tejocotes, add them in this step.
- Simmer for about 1 hour. Serve hot in mugs, ladling in some of the fruit and adding rum to your liking.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit a German Christmas market, you are missing out on a fun shopping experience and delicious drinks and treats. One such drink is German mulled wine. This recipe from Mountain Cravings includes a variety of spices, fruits, and, of course, some brandy for the perfect holiday kick.
- 1 orange
- ½ lemon
- ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 whole nutmeg, crushed
- 12 whole cloves
- 5 star anise
- 6 cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 bottle fruity red wine
- 1 cup unsweet cider (or 100% natural apple juice)
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup brandy or bourbon
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove lemon and orange peel, avoiding the white pith.
- Combine citrus peels, vanilla, and spices in a large pot. Squeeze orange and lemon juice and add wine, cider, and brandy.
- Bring to a light simmer and cover. Simmer for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 hour.
- Pour into a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl. You can save the spices in the strainer for a second batch.
- Stir in brandy and serve hot.
Christmas in Peru goes hand in hand with algarrobina, a cocktail similar to eggnog but with some differences. This recipe from NPR calls for algarrobina (carob syrup), pisco, eggs, cinnamon, condensed milk, and ice. Unlike the other drinks on our list, this is a cold holiday drink since Christmas falls during the summertime in Peru and the rest of the Southern Hemisphere!
- 3-4 eggs
- 1 cup pisco
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- ¼ cup sweetened, condensed milk (or sugar or simple syrup)
- ¼ cup algarrobina (carob syrup)
- 10 ice cubes
- Cinnamon powder
- In a blender, beat the eggs (whites and yolk). As you beat them, add the pisco.
- Add evaporated milk.
- While still blending, add sweetened condensed milk.
- Add algarrobina to get a nice light brown color.
- Add ice cubes and continue blending.
- Adjust the flavor and sweetness according to taste (it should be on the sweet side), adding more algarrobina or milk.
- Serve cold in small glasses, spreading cinnamon powder on top.
Cola de mono (or colemono) is a traditional Chilean Christmas cocktail that is meant to be refreshing and sweet (Chile is also in the Southern Hemisphere). The recipe we love to use for this cocktail comes from 196 Flavors. Similar cocktails around the world, including the Puerto Rican coquito, Mexican rompope, and Italian bombardino.
- 4 cups milk
- 1¼ cups pisco (or other brandy)
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 3 cloves
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp instant coffee
- 2 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup caster sugar
- 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
- In a non-stick pan, pour the milk. Add the cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon stick.
- Heat over medium-high heat, watching closely, so the milk does not overflow.
- When the milk is hot, take a little to dissolve the coffee in a small bowl.
- Pour the dissolved coffee into the pan and mix.
- Continue heating the milk, stirring occasionally.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar for 1 minute.
- Once the milk is boiling, reduce to low heat, add a ladle of milk to the sugared eggs, whisking constantly.
- Add 3 Tbsp milk gradually, continuing to whisk.
- Pour everything into the saucepan and continue to heat and stir until thickened.
- Increase heat to an average temperature and cook for 3 more minutes without stirring.
- Cool and add the vanilla and pisco. Mix well.
- Adjust the sugar and/or liquor to taste.
- Bottle and refrigerate for 3 hours before consuming.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Share with us any holiday cocktails you love or if you try any of the above in our comments section.