5 Exotic Holiday Cocktails from Around the World
Forget eggnog and apple cider. It’s time to dip our toes — well, actually our tongues in this case — into some culture and see what our friends across the globe are drinking this holiday season. From mulled wine to sorrel punch, here are a few other cocktails to try if you're feeling exotic this holiday season. And if you're traveling to one of these destinations, make sure to place an order when you see one on the menu.
Mexico: Ponche Navideño
It’s hard for me to think of Mexico and not immediately go into margarita mode, but I’ll refrain. When the holidays roll around, Ponche Navideño is the go-to drink for many Mexicans. This hot punch is typically served sans alcohol but we won’t judge you if you switch up the recipe a bit. Ingredients include sugar cane, pears and/or apples depending on your taste preferences, prunes, raisins, and an indigenous fruit called tejocotes.
Jamaica: Sorrel Punch
Jamaica puts us all to shame when it comes to holiday drinks — mainly because their star creation involves rum and lots of it. Recipes are easily available online and the ingredients are rather simple. You’ll need hibiscus tea bags or sorrel petals, white cloves, cinnamon sticks, ginger, brown sugar, and fresh lime juice. The result, if done right of course, is a tangy drink that heads towards perfection with the added shot of rum.
Europe: Mulled Wine
Mulled wine is a popular cocktail in many European countries so it wouldn’t be fair to credit it to just one. On a basic level, mulled wine is simply warm, spiced wine with an assortment of other flavorful ingredients. The Nordic countries named their version Glögg, and the recipe calls for cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, bitter orange, and their liqueur of choice, Aquavit. The German version, Glühwein, is quite similar, and in Alsace, they add vanilla bean.
Puerto Rico: Coquito
Leave it to the Puerto Ricans to come up with a beverage as thick as eggnog but with way more personality. Recipes vary but for the most part, the drink is a frothy combo of spiced rum, coconut milk, condensed milk, vanilla, and spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, or cloves. It’s definitely on the heavy side but will warm you up on a cold winter day. In Venezuela and Dominican Republic, they add eggs and call it Ponche.
In Old English Wassail literally translates to “be you healthy” and the concept dates back to the Middle Ages. The Brits drink both mulled wine and wassail, a mulled cider historically made with cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, ginger, and slices of toast sprinkled on top. Modern versions will sometimes start with a base of fruit juice or mulled ale, with apples and oranges thrown into the mix, in addition to brandy or sherry.