The holiday season just makes us want to curl up with a mug filled with something hot and aromatic, preferably if it includes alcohol. Christmas cocktails objectively make the holiday season more festive, and many cultures have their own version.
From North America’s eggnog to Swedish Glögg (hot mulled wine), these are our favourite drinks from around the world that are sure to be the star of any Christmas get-together. All of the drinks listed below are boozy, but several can be made without alcohol.
Feuerzangenbowle — Germany
Feuerzangenbowle or “German fire punch” is not for the faint of heart. This Christmas or New Year’s drink starts with a kettle-full of glühwein (mulled wine) and rum. You set a rum-soaked zuckerhut (sugar cone) on fire and place it on a rack on top of the mulled wine, while the slowly caramelizing sugar drips into this sweet cocktail.
The amazing effect is created using feuerzange (fire tongs), which allow the sugar cone to safely melt over the cocktail. You can also use a fondue set to create feuerzangenbowle.
Eggnog — US and Canada
You can drink the chilled milk punch with or without rum. It’s traditionally made with egg yolks and egg whites, milk, heavy cream, and seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Try your hand at making eggnog with this recipe here.
Glögg — Sweden
Glögg is Swedish mulled wine traditionally made with vodka or aquavit, red wine, oranges, raisins, mulling spices (like cinnamon and anise star), and sugar. It’s traditionally served in overflowing mugs topped with dried fruit or nuts.
(For a non-alcoholic version, omit the vodka and use alcohol-free wine instead).
Bombardino — Italy
Bombardino, the unofficial winter drink of Italian ski resorts, is similar to eggnog, but it is served hot, rather than refrigerated. It is made with Advocaat(an alcoholic Dutch drink made from eggs, sugar, and brandy), rum or brandy, and topped with whipped cream.
The cocktail was said to have been invented by a Genovese man who was looking to quickly make a warm drink for Alpine skiers who had just come in from the bitter cold. The drink was likely named “the bomb” because of its famously high alcohol content.
Coquito — Puerto Rico
Often called coconut eggnog, this wintery cocktail is a traditional Puerto Rican Christmas drink. It is potent, served ice-cold, and usually made throughout the Christmas season.
To make an authentic coquito cocktail, you mix coconut milk, coconut cream, condensed milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, with a lot of Bacardí rum, and simmer it over a double boiler.
Sorrel punch — Jamaica
Christmas in Jamaica is not complete without a pitcher of sorrel rum punch on the table for friends and family to share.
Sorrel – or dried hibiscus – is steeped with ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, oranges, and Jamaican white rum. After the drink is brought to a boil, it is cooled, poured in a pitcher full of ice, and served alongside rum cake.
Cola de mono — Chile
“The monkey’s tail” may sound like an unusual name for a Christmas cocktail, but the alcoholic concoction is said to make you “swing like a monkey” if you have too much of it.
This Christmas punch is most often compared to a White Russian, and is made with evaporated milk, coffee, sugar, cinnamon, and Chilean pisco (a liqueur), or regular brandy.
Hot toddy — Scotland
The classic hot toddy is not just a Christmas drink; it can be served all winter long. It’s typically made with hot rum or brandy as a base, honey, lemon, and sometimes tea. When the drink was invented in Scotland sometime during the 18th century, it was touted as a cure for the common cold. Now it’s mostly seen as a boozy way to warm up from the winter cold.
Ponche Navideño — Mexico
This warm Christmas punch is the classic Mexican holiday drink that can be made without alcohol or ponche con piquet (punch with a sting) with brandy or tequila.
The traditional recipe calls for fruit like guava, apple, pear, raisins, prunes, and orange slices, as well as tejocotes (a Mexican sweet and sour fruit similar to an apricot) and brown sugar.
Wassail — UK
If you’ve ever heard the Christmas song, “Here we come a-wassailing,” this is the drink that the lyrics are referring to.
Drinking wassail – a hot mulled cider – with friends and neighbours at the end of the year is an ancient Anglo-Saxon tradition that is routed in pagan ritual. “Waes hael” is literally a toast to good health and celebration.
The drink itself is traditionally made with hot mulled cider, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange juice, and served in a communal punch bowl. Many modern versions are spiked with alcohol like brandy or rum.
- Read more:
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- I tried every holiday drink that Starbucks has on the menu this year – here’s what I thought
- 10 snacks children around the world leave for Santa
- 19 gingerbread house fails that will make you cringe
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