Explore International Holiday Cocktails

written by Lucy Munene 3rd December 2018

Mulled wine, snowball cocktails and eggnog are all festive drinks familiar to us all. However, around the world spices, fruits and milk are incorporated into drinks that help mark this season. Here are a few that you could incorporate into your menu this holiday season.

Spiced Cider

source: kitchentreaty.com

Mulled cider is a festive favourite in the United Kingdom. Cloves punctured into an orange and slow cooked with cinnamon sticks in apple cider vinegar will have your guests’ mouths watering before they step into the house.

  • 2 quarts (64 ounces or 8 cups) apple cider
  • 6 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks, plus more for serving if desired
  • 1 medium naval orange*
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • Rum of your choice (optional)
  • Additional cinnamon sticks for serving (optional)
  1. Pour apple cider into a 2.5-quart or larger Crock Pot or other slow cooker. Add cinnamon sticks to cider.
  2. With a toothpick, poke holes all around the orange, about 1/2 inch to 1 inch apart. Carefully poke the cloves into the toothpick holes in the orange.
  3. Place orange into the cider in the slow cooker.
  4. Cook on low until hot and spiced through, about 4 hours. Ladle into mugs along with an ounce or so of rum if using. Place a cinnamon stick in each glass if desired and serve.


source: eataly.com

This drink’s name literally translates into “The Bomb” which is exactly what it is. Once drank it is an explosion of brandy, zabov zabaglione, an egg liqueur, and whipped cream.

  • 1.5 ounces brandy, such as Vecchia Romagna Brandy
  • 3 ounces egg liqueur, such as Zabov Zabaglione
  • Whipped cream, to taste
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  1. Warm the egg liqueur in a small saucepan. Pour the brandy in a glass mug.
  2. When the egg liqueur is hot (but not yet at boiling point), slowly add it to the brandy. Stir well to combine.
  3. Top the cocktail with a generous amount of whipped cream, and finish it with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Poncho Navideño

source: liquor.com

Poncho navideño is a Mexican Christmas punch that is their equivalent of spiced cider. Filled with an array of spices, a healthy does of rum to amp up the flavours and tart fruits to cut through it all, this holiday is drink is a holiday favourite.

  • 300 ml Light rum
  • 355 ml Piloncillo (Mexican-style unrefined brown sugar), grated (or 1 cup packed dark brown sugar)
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 5 Whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp Tamarind paste
  • 2 Tart apples, peeled, cored, finely chopped
  • 1 Ripe pear, peeled, cored, finely chopped
  • 12 cup Packed raisins or golden raisins
  • 1 cup Dried hibiscus flowers (also known as jamaica or sorrel), tied inside a square of cheesecloth
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 10 cup Water
  • Lemon slice for garnish (per glass)
  1. In a large stockpot, add the water, piloncillo, cinnamon sticks, cloves and tamarind paste, and bring to a boil. Drop to a simmer, and stir to completely dissolve the tamarind paste. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the apples, pear, raisins and hibiscus flowers, and simmer for 15 minutes, until the fruit is soft and raisins are rehydrated.
  3. Squeeze the remaining liquid out of the cheesecloth packet and discard. Remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves and discard. Stir in the lemon juice and rum.
  4. Ladle the punch between 12 punch glasses, thinly slice 2 lemons, and garnish each glass with a slice.


source: africanbites.com

A lovely alternative for any vegetarian out there is this Puerto Rican eggnog made with coconut cream, spices, sweetened condensed milk and rum. Non-vegetarians can add egg yolks for extra thickness.

  • 14-ounce (354 ml) can sweetened condensed milk
  • cups (480 ml) coconut milk or cream (see notes 1 )
  • 12-ounce (354 ml) can​ of evaporated milk
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ – 1 cup (120-240 ml) white rum (more or less to suit taste buds)
  • Cinnamon Sticks for garnishing
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for about a minute.
  2. Bottle or place in a sealed container and then refrigerate. It will keep for up to 2 weeks .
  3. If desired garnish with cinnamon stick or sprinkle with cinnamon spice .

Cola de Mono

source: verybestbaking.com

A Chilean traditional holiday cocktail which translates into “monkey tail”. A combination of milk, spices, coffee, sugar and rum, brandy or vodka depending on your tastes. A great option to Irish coffee, this drink can be whipped up in ten minutes leaving you plenty of time to relax and enjoy it.

  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar or to taste
  • whole cloves
  • cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon 100% Pure Instant Coffee Granules
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup Chilean aguardiente, white rum, brandy or vodka
  1. Combine evaporated milk, water, sugar, cloves and cinnamon stick in medium saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Add coffee granules; stir to dissolve. Add vanilla extract and nutmeg. Remove from heat. Cool 20 minutes. Remove cloves and cinnamon stick. Add brandy. Pour into empty bottle. Refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours.
  2. Serve in aperitif glasses for a 2-ounce serving. Garnish with cinnamon stick.
  3. For a twist on flavour, a 2-inch piece of orange peel can be added when boiling milk and spices.

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