7 Holiday Cocktails From Around the World

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It's not a holiday celebration without plenty of food and drink, but what ends up on the table varies from place to place. To bring some variety into your holiday drink routine, we’ve rounded up seven festive cocktails from around the world.

1. WASSAIL (U.K.)

It’s a song! It’s a verb! It’s a warm drink! It’s Wassail, and it’s all of the above! It may bring to mind a group of carolers in centuries-old garb warbling their hearts out, but its name and heritage are a bit more muddled. As legend has it, a beautiful Saxon noblewoman seduced the drunk king with a goblet of mulled wine, the drink of choice for the rich. Once their relationship was, ahem, consummated, the king greeted her by saying, “Waes hail.” He then married her and toasted the union with “Drinc hael,” which translates to “drink in good health.” The word “wassail” later evolved to mean the toast itself, the drink in the glass, and farmers drinking (and yelling) to promote fertility on their farms. Waes hail, friends.

2. GLÖGG (SCANDANAVIA) OR GLÜWEIN (GERMANY AND AUSTRIA)

Spiced, mulled wine goes by many names, but few are as potent or as established as Glögg. In the Middle Ages, King Gustav I Vasa of Sweden was fond of a concoction of German wine, sugar, honey, and spices. Back then, many alcoholic drinks were considered medicinal. On a more practical level, the sugar and spice hid any unpleasant flavors. In 1609, it acquired the name “glödgad vin,” which translates to “glowing-hot wine.” By 1870, it first appeared in print under the shortened name “glögg.” At that point, it was probably just made from wine, but has since been fortified with port and aquavit or brandy and has become popular across Europe. Its German counterpart, glühwein (“glow wine”), is often made with white wine, and its Irish equivalent is made with their native whiskey.

Get the recipe here.

3. HOT BUTTERED RUM (U.S.)

Sometimes, a cup of Hot Buttered Rum looks like an oil slick. Other times, it’s rich and creamy and will warm you down to your toes. Back in the 1860s, U.S. taste for alcohol was divided regionally. In the Northeast, rum reigned. Although our modern idea of rum seems overwhelmingly tropical, lots and lots of rum was made and consumed in or exported from the region. To keep warm, hot drinks did the trick. Although the butter’s purpose is, to date, unknown, Charles Browne posits in the 1939 Gun Club Drink Book that it will oil your mustache.

Get the recipe here.

4. COLA DE MONO (CHILE)

If you’re ready for a party, opt for the Cola de Mono. Though it looks like a cross between Egg Nog and a White Russian, this drink is a unique experience. Translated as “tail of the monkey,” the cocktail may have been named for its effect on partygoers. It also may have picked up the nickname from being stored in Anis del Moro bottles, or from a former president and his pistol. However it was named, the aguardente in this light, creamy drink packs a wallop.

Get the recipe here.

5. PONCHE NAVIDEÑO (MEXICO) AND PONCHE DE FRUTAS (GUATEMALA)

These fruit punches are great holiday treats. Their recipes tend to be somewhat similar, due to the overlaps in available fruits, but the rummy punches turn out somewhat differently. Further, Ponche Navideño can be difficult to recreate anywhere else. This fruit-laden punch features tejocotes, the fruit of the hawthorn tree. The recipe is passed down through families and varies widely from place to place, but it always makes for a tasty warm drink.

Get the recipes here (Ponche Navieñdo) and here (Ponche de Frutas).

6. COQUITO (PUERTO RICO)

Though its history is vague, its deliciousness isn’t. Coquito, which translates as “little coconut,” is thought to be a derivative of eggnog. However it was invented, this creamy, tropical rum drink is hugely popular. In Cuba, you can get a variety that’s topped with coconut ice cream. It’s sometimes served as an after dinner chaser, and is the subject of an annual cocktail competition at the Museo Del Barrio in New York.

Get the recipe here.

7. SORREL PUNCH (JAMAICA)

If you can’t travel to the tropics this year, recreate some of its charm in your home. In Jamaica, Sorrel Punch is everywhere during the holiday season. Sorrel, also known as hibiscus, is believed to be a panacea. Whether or not it will cure what ails you, this fruity, herbal punch will bring back memories of warmer times.

Get the recipe here.

BONUS: TWO NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINKS TO KEEP YOU WARM.

If you’ve indulged a bit too heavily this season, fear not: we’ve included two nonalcoholic drinks you can enjoy at your leisure.

SUJEONGGWA (KOREA)

Sujeonggwa is a sweet, spicy persimmon punch that’s often topped with pine nuts. In Korea, it’s considered a dessert, and is prepared both hot and cold. It’s also considered a digestive, which may explain its place in the meal. Over time, it’s been so popular that it’s canned or bottled and sold in supermarkets.

Get the recipe here.

SALEP (TURKEY)

Salep (or Sahlep) may be the most difficult beverage to make from scratch if you live outside Turkey, since one of its ingredients—flour ground from the tubers of certain breeds of Turkish orchids—isn’t exported. Luckily, it’s available in many powdered forms. Like many other drinks, Salep was originally a medicinal potion. It’s been drunk for many centuries and still maintains a reputation for being a healthful beverage.

Get the recipe here.

All Aboard! Mexico Is Now Home to an All-You-Can-Drink Tequila Train

iStock.com/Clicknique
iStock.com/Clicknique

If you like the idea of taking a booze cruise or imbibing while flying (on a craft beer flight, that is), then you may enjoy the hooch caboose. As Delish reports, the latest in luxury, alcohol-packed travel comes from Jose Cuervo, which is now operating an all-you-can-drink tequila train.

That’s right: You can now hop aboard the Jose Cuervo Express and slam shots or sip tequila sunrises while traveling in style from Guadalajara in western Mexico to—where else?—the city of Tequila. The deal includes round-trip train transportation and bottomless drinks at the open tequila bar, plus snacks. Guests will also get to join a separate tequila tasting with experts, take a tour of the Jose Cuervo distillery in Tequila (the oldest one in the Americas), and take in a Mexican cultural show.

The Jose Cuervo Express has been around a while, but the round-trip, all-you-can-drink tequila experience is new. Since 2012, the train has been operating regular “sunrise” and “sunset” hours, offering guests a morning train ride to Tequila with an evening bus ride back to Guadalajara, and vice versa.

Prices for the new experience start from $111 on the Travel Pirates website, but the cost depends on the exact package you choose. If tequila isn’t your cup of tea, you might prefer the Mayan train line that’s slated to connect some of Mexico’s most famous pyramids and sites. Those plans are still a work in progress, though.

[h/t Delish]

LEGO Pop-Up Bars Let You Build While You Drink

Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Do you like LEGO bricks? Do you like making the task of assembling hundreds of tiny plastic pieces harder by becoming inebriated?

If so, nothing you read today could be more relevant to your interests than the news that a series of LEGO-inspired pop-up bars are headed for Houston, Denver, and other U.S. cities.

ABC13 reports that some block-headed entrepreneurs have devised the Brick Bar, a high-concept watering hole that allows visitors to play with over a million LEGO bricks and enjoy LEGO displays while drinking and socializing. The idea, according to the Brick Bar website, is to appeal to someone with nostalgia or affinity for LEGO sets who is also of legal drinking age.

The bars have already debuted in Australia and will be coming to London and Manchester, England, this spring. It’s likely the stateside bars will reproduce some of the more popular attractions, including building contests, hamburgers with buns shaped like LEGO bricks, and a gauntlet for brave souls who are willing to attempt to walk across a line of bricks in their bare feet.

The company behind the pop-up, Viral Ventures, specializes in unique attractions. In the past, they’ve promoted Hot Tub Cinema Club, where patrons watched films while soaking in portable hot tubs. But their LEGO-themed idea hasn’t been without complications.

While LEGO itself offers alcohol at some of the company's official resorts, including California’s LEGOLAND, the company isn’t thrilled about being associated with a third-party bar or with people trafficking in their trademarks: Their legal overtures led Viral Ventures to change the name of the pop-up from LEGO Bar to Brick Bar. The only mention of LEGO on their website is in the disclaimer: “We are not associated with LEGO.”

[h/t ABC13]

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