Champagne and hot apple cider are old standbys during the holiday season, but chances are you’re ready to spice things up cocktail-wise. Why not turn to travel for some tasty sipping inspiration? These four cocktails and drink concoctions have roots in countries around the world, and they’re all sure to add something special to your holiday celebrations this season. So drink up!
Wassail: This fragrant spiced cider hails from the chilly English countryside. In fact, the term wassail comes from how medieval townsfolk once greeted each other, with a hearty “Waes Hail.” Today, a combination of cider, wine, spices like nutmeg, and whole apples and oranges are mixed together in a large “wassailing bowl” and served piping hot to anyone in need of a pick me up. In many of the southern counties of England, like Dorset and Sussex, villagers dole out warm ladles of wassail during a ceremony meant to honor and encourage the good health of all the apple-laden trees in the orchards that dot this area of England.
Sorrel refers to the dried red bud of the hibiscus flower
Sorrel Punch: Okay, so it never gets too cold in Jamaica, but that doesn’t stop the sunny Caribbean island from serving up its own hot holiday drink! To make this festive holiday cocktail, you’ll need to track down sorrel — not the green French kind, though. In this case, sorrel refers to the dried red bud of the hibiscus flower. The punch comes to life when the sorrel is boiled in water and then sweetened with cane sugar, ginger, and rum. For a truly authentic Caribbean Christmas cocktail, make sure you only use the finest Jamaican rum available!
Cola de Mono: This Chilean holiday drink goes down smooth, but it will soon have you swinging around the dance floor or holiday party like a monkey — which is only apt, since the name of the drink literally translates to “monkey’s tail”! This creamy concoction contains milk, coffee, sugar, and a touch of cloves for a wintery flavor. Grown ups, however, prefer the strong version with a little bit of aguardiente — an alcohol similar to Italy’s grappa — mixed in. If you’re a fan of white Russians during the holiday season, try swapping your signature cocktail out with a cola de mono, since both drinks have similar consistencies.
Eggnog: Yes, this holiday standby is a favorite in the U.S., but eggnog actually has an international pedigree. Historians say that eggnog’s roots can be traced back to “posset,” an English drink of milk and ale, which was served hot. By the 13th century, monks had added eggs and figs to the posset mix, and since eggs were the domain of the rich, the creamy drink soon became popular for toasts to health and wealth. The drink made its way to America in the 1700s, and rumor has it that George Washington himself was a fan — though he preferred his eggnog with a hearty dose of brandy, whiskey, rum, and sherry!
Do any of the punches or cocktails you like to serve during the holidays hail from somewhere else? Share your international recipes with us in the comments below!