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Festive cocktails have become as much of a holiday tradition as ugly sweaters and Christmas carols. But North Americans aren’t the only ones slipping a little rum into their eggnog or brandy into their hot cider. Different cultures around the world enjoy different cocktails during the holiday season, so spice up your bar this December with some of these festive yet exotic cocktails from around the globe.
Coquito has a similar consistency to the egg nog us North Americans know and love, but this thick combination of rum, vanilla, condensed milk, coconut milk and spices has a lot more flair. Coquito is served cold, but the spices and authentic Puerto Rican rum are guaranteed to warm you from the inside out. Add eggs to your coquito recipe, and you’ll have ponche, the Domican and Venezuelan version.
Cola de mono, literally meaning “monkey’s tail,” thankfully doesn’t actually involve the harming of animals at all. The recipes starts with aguardiente (a strong Chilean alcoholic beverage), then coffee, milk, cloves and vanilla bean are added to the mix. This classic Chilean Christmas cocktail is said to be named after President Pedro Montt, who held the nickname El Mono Montt.
Mexico is most traditionally known for the margarita cocktail, but the signature drink of the holidays, Ponche Navideño, may make you forget about frozen drinks entirely. Ponche Navideño is a hot punch that can be prepared a number of ways, but common ingredients include pears or apples, sugar cane, cinnamon, brown sugar, guava, tejocote, raisins and prunes. If you’re in Mexico for the holidays see Ponche Navideño served in non-alcoholic and alcoholic (spiked with tequila) versions served straight out of the pot with a ladle.
Wassail is a British holiday must-have. Traditionally, the drink is a hot mulled cider mixed with sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and a slice of toast on top, but the modern version is a bit more fruity. Modern wassails typically include mulled ale, wine or fruit juice as a base with apples or oranges and a shot of sherry or brandy added to the mix. Unbelievably, wassail variations have been a part of holiday feasts since the Middle Ages.
Boiling water, dried hibiscus flowers (sorrel), sugar, gingerroot, a touch of lime juice and plenty of Jamaican rum combine to make one of the tastiest holiday cocktails in the world. If you’ll be making this cocktail in your home over the holidays, be sure to shop for your hibiscus buds at a Jamaican or Caribbean market to ensure you’re getting the proper product. And although you prepare this tangy cocktail with boiling water, be sure to chill it thoroughly before serving.
Mulled wine and its numerous variations are enjoyed during the holidays throughout Europe. Different countries put their own twists on this holiday drink, but the base is typically a red wine served warm with a variety of spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, lemon or vanilla bean. It’s called Glögg in Nordic areas and Glühwein in Germany, but no matter what it’s called, it’s guaranteed to keep you warm on cold European winter nights.
The hot toddy has become a popular winter drink in cold areas of North America, but its origins began in Scotland. The traditional Scottish hot toddy is a combination of boiling water, whiskey, sugar, honey and sometimes other spices like cinnamon or clove. And although this drink is considered a way to relieve the symptoms of the flu, it has turned into a popular winter drink served in bars throughout Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the United States and around the globe.