Holiday Cheers from around the World

If you’re looking for a new recipe to mix up some holiday cheer, below is a collection of 8 traditional holiday cocktails from around the world. Cheers!
Mexico: Ponche Navideno

Ponche de Navideno cocktail, Mexican Christmas warm beverage with sugar cane and fruit, hot sweet liquor wine drink.

This traditional fruit punch is served warm and is made with a combination of fresh and dried fruits. Ponche is typically served in Mexico on Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) and during the posadas, the 9 days of celebration prior to Christmas Day.
16 cups water
6 guavas, peeled and quartered
3 large red apples, cut into chunks
2 pears, cut into chunks
1 orange, sliced
1 pilloncillo cone (or 1 cup of dark brown sugar if you can’t find piloncillo)
6 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers
1 dried tamarind pod, husked and seeded

  • Place all ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  • Mix together and make sure the piloncillo/sugar has completely dissolved. Serve hot in mugs with a splash of rum or brandy if desired. Make sure each cup has some fruit it in – it’s the best part!

England: Wassail

Wassail is a delightfully boozy hard cider infused with aromatic spices, notes of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves for a simple and warming wintertime drink.

Wassail comes from the Anglo-Saxon phrase ‘waes hael’, which means ‘good health’.  Wassail was traditionally served in wintertime, and specifically during the yuletide season that spans from Christmas Eve through Twelfth Night.
8 cups sweet apple cider
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 whole cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves or 1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • Combine all ingredients in a large pan.
  • Bring to simmer over medium-low heat. Reduce heat and continue simmering for 45 minutes. Ladle into cups or mugs and enjoy!

Brazil: Strawberry Caipirinha

Traditional Brazilian alcoholic cocktail, strawberry caipirinha with Cachaca, sugar syrup, lime, mint, strawberries and crushed ice.

Based on the traditional caparhinia, this strawberry version adds a festive red color, not to mention the delicious berry flavor.
2 oz Cachaca (liquor distilled from fermented sugarcane juice)
1/2 ounce simple syrup
3 wedges of lime
3 strawberrries, sliced
1 sprig of mint
1 scoop (5-6 oz) of crushed ice

  • Muddle lime wedges and strawberries together in a mixing glass.
  • Add ice, simple syrup, and Cachaca to mixer. Shake well.
  • Pour everything into an Old fashioned glass and garnish with strawberry slice and mint sprig.

France: Kir Royale

The Kir Royale is a champagne cocktail popular in France, especially during the holidays.

One of the more refreshing cocktails on this list of holiday favorites is the Kir Royale from France. There are many variations of this bubbly beverage, but the one ingredient that makes it a genuine Kir Royale is the champagne.
Ingredients for an Easy Raspberry Kir Royale
5 raspberries plus more for garnish
1-1/2 ounces Chambord

  • Add the raspberries and Chambord to a champagne flute. Use a spoon to smash the raspberries. Top the glass with Champagne and garnish with a couple of raspberries.

Chile: Cola de Mono

The traditional  Cola de Mono is a creamy creation made with evaporated milk and Chilean aguardiente, a sugarcane liquor similar to rum, but stronger and not as sweet.

Chile is well-known for its wines, but during the holiday season it’s the Cola de Mono that Chileans reach for.
1 can (12 fluid ounces) evaporated milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar or to taste
3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 cup Chilean aguardiente (or substitute white rum, brandy or vodka)

  • Combine evaporated milk, water, sugar, cloves and cinnamon stick in medium saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Add coffee granules; stir to dissolve. Add vanilla extract and nutmeg. Remove from heat. Cool 20 minutes. Remove cloves and cinnamon stick. Add brandy. Pour into empty bottle. Refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours.
  • Serve in aperitif glasses for a 2-ounce serving. Garnish with cinnamon stick.

Germany: Gluhwein

Gluhwein is a fragrant mulled wine served warm, making it the perfect beverage for both Christmas and New Year’s.

Gluhwein is commonly served at Christmas markets in Germany and Austria. The Nordic countries have their own version called glögg or sometimes spelled glog or glug.
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange
10 whole cloves
1 bottle (750 ml) red wine

  • In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer.
  • Cut the orange in half, and squeeze the juice into the simmering water. Push the cloves into the outside of the orange peel, and place peel in the simmering water. Continue simmering for 30 minutes, until thick and syrupy.
  • Pour in the wine, and heat until steaming but not simmering. Remove the clove-studded orange halves. Serve hot in mugs or glasses that have been preheated in warm water (cold glasses will break.)

The United States: Eggnog

Eggnog with cinnamon, nutmeg, and especially bourbon is a classic American holiday cocktail.

American’s eggnog tradition began with humble beginnings. Early settlers did not have sherry, the liquor typically used in British eggnog. So they added homemade spirits, or moonshine. Later, when bourbon became readily available, it became the preferred liquor for eggnog.
2 eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar, divided
4 ounces rum, bourbon or brandy
10 ounces whole milk
4 ounces heavy cream
grated nutmeg for garnish

  • In a large bowl, beat together egg yolks and sugar until fluffy.
  • Stir in milk, heavy cream and spirit of choice.
  •  In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
  •  Fold egg whites into yolk mixture.
  •  Serve in a rocks glass, punch or tea cup.
  •  Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Jamaica: Sorrel

Sorrel is the star of this traditional Jamaican cocktail, most commonly served during the Christmas holiday season.

There are countless variations and recipes for this Jamaican holiday classic, but the one ingredient you will find in every sorrel is its namesake: Jamaican sorrel. Jamaican sorrel is in the same family as the hibiscus flower. The sorrel plant has deep fuchsia flowers which gives this cocktail its signature color.
2 quarts water
6 ounces dried sorrel buds
4 ounces fresh ginger, thinly sliced
ice cubes
simple syrup to taste
2 ounces fresh lime juice
4 ounces rum (151 proof recommended)

  • Bring the water to a boil, remove from the heat, and add the sorrel and ginger. Let steep about 45 minutes, strain.
  • Add ice cubes to a shaker. For 2 servings, add to the shaker about 2 or 3 ounces strained juice, 2 ounces simple syrup, a splash of lime juice, and a jigger of rum. Shake well and pour.

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