The season of eggnog has arrived, and while some celebrate, some others are horribly annoyed. The major classic of Christmas drinks in North America isn’t quite everyone’s cup of tea. While that can disrupt the all-around holiday experience, the fact is that there are plenty of options out there. Why not try your hand at some traditions from other places?
December is a pretty big deal throughout the western world, and each country has its yearly holiday traditions. There are drinks from all over, from hot beverages to the iced deliciousness from the tropic. On the list below, you’ll find favorites from Europe and Latin America, where traditions vary widely. Still, it’s all one celebration, and the spirit is always the same.
Find out a little bit more about Christmas drinks from all over the world below – with recipes if you want to try them!
6 World Christmas Drinks
The name of this holiday darling literally means “the bomb” and it stems from the coldest side of the country: the Italian Alps. It’s particular among Christmas drinks in the sense that it’s a side to another regional tradition: skiing.
Legend has it that the Bombardino was created by a young man who left the warmth of Genova for a life in the Alps. He founded a Lombardia ski lodge and ultimately created this drink to comfort four freezing skiers. This whiskey-based drink was a punch to their bodies, and one exclaimed it was a bomb. The Bombardino has warmed cold souls ever since!
You can find a great recipe at Eataly!
Cola de mono, Chile
Literally “monkey’s tail,” it’s said you’ll be swinging like one after drinking it. Its name might come from Chilean President Pedro Montt, nicknamed El Mono Montt. Supposedly, Montt, who always carried around a gun, asked for his Colt pistol to leave a party. The other guests convinced him to stay and then prepared a drink with aguardiente and sugar in a cup of café con leche. The drink was originally called “Colt de Montt,” which eventually derived into “Cola de Mono.” Nowadays, people vary up the liqueur.
This drink has a spicy twist because of the cloves, perfect for the Austral summer in December. It should work great for those who love to have fresh drinks year-round. You can find a great recipe at The Kitchn!
Wassail, United Kingdom
This is one of the oldest Christmas drinks we could find, as it finds its origins in the Middle Ages. A hot cider, wassail was the northern equivalent of wine in the sense that it was a social beverage.
It’s deeply associated with an old English tradition called wassailing, which occurred on Twelfth Night. Its purpose was to awaken cider apple trees and scare away the evil spirits that would provoke bad fruit harvesting in the next fall. A beautiful tradition mixing Christian values with druidic times.
You can find this fantastic slow-cooked recipe at A Spicy Perspective!
Ponche crema, Venezuela & Trinidad
Created by a Caracas-born chemist and perfume maker, this drink was practically a scientific experiment. Legend says that Eliodoro González spent years mixing local elements to create the ultimate cocktail. He used milk, sugar cane, and his own concoction of a very pure grape liqueur. Nowadays, the recipe contains eggs, rum, liquid, and condensed milk, though every family seems to have its own version.
You can find a recipe at Epicurious.
Aguonų pienas, Lithuania
Literally meaning poppy milk, this is the traditional drink accompanying the Lithuanian Christmas Eve dinner, Kūčios. It’s a grand affair with twelve dishes, representing each month of the year. Lithuanians have this with cookies, kind of like a snack.
You can find the recipe at Multiculturiosity!
Ponche navideño, Mexico and Guatemala
A fruity hot punch, this is a staple of Central America and Caribbean Christmas drinks. Its concoction is a mix of Spanish tradition and indigenous ingredients, though the fruits and exact recipe vary. Mexican serve this drink during Posadas, a nine-day celebration that includes Nativity reenactments.
You can find a great recipe for it right on Hilah Cooking!
For more holiday-friendly content, head to our Christmas section!