The time of last minute shopping, family gatherings, gift exchanging and calorie loading is upon us – whether you like it or not. This time of year is all about socialising; meeting with family and friends and, more often than not this involves drinking. With Christmas markets starting from late November, the number of festive tipples consumed prior to the big day can be immeasurable. Why limit yourselves to the one Xmas bevy, when there are plenty of festive flavoured drinks to sample. We searched around the world, from Jamaica to Salzburg, for the tastiest concoctions and picked our 5 favourites to share with you.
Glühwein- Central Europe
This unmistakably festive drink is a European Christmas market staple and a firm favourite all over the world. Traditionally from Germanic countries such as Germany and Austria, Glühwein or mulled wine as we better know it, is a heated red wine seasoned with winter spices including cinnamon and cloves. Weißer Glühwein, on the other hand, is a white wine variation. Make sure to try a lebkuchen, a chewy spicy cake usually eaten with mulled wine. We owe many of our favourite Christmas traditions to these countries; after all they’re where traditions such as a tree and markets originated from. To experience Christmas at its best, visit one of the region’s many Christmas markets; Cologne is famous for its size and Salzburg for its ambience and atmosphere.
Glögg is Scandinavia’s answer to mulled wine; differences include the addition of nuts and dried fruits, and the alcohol content. As with Glühwein, Glögg recipes vary widely but the majority use winter spices such as cinnamon and ginger and often strong spirits like akvavit, brandy and vodka are added to the mixture. There are also non-alcoholic variations using juice instead of red wine. If you’ve got the taste for a nice hot cup of authentic glögg and you’re dreaming of a fairy-tale, snow covered, cobbled streets with gingerbread houses, then Bergen in Norway is the place for you.
Eggnog- Canada and the USA
A North American drink, eggnog is slowly making its debut at European Christmas markets. A chilled dairy-based drink, flavoured with rum, brandy or bourbon. If you wondered why it has the word ‘egg’ in its name, it’s because it contains whipped eggs, which give it that weird but wonderful frothy consistency. Eggnog is one great reason to visit the USA at Christmas, but not the only one; New York Christmas shopping and Christmas light displays are about as iconic as it gets (just think of Home Alone II). Further north, in Canada, a truly white Christmas can be experienced, with a glass (or two) of eggnog in hand, at one of many picturesque Christmas markets throughout the country. Quebec is renowned for its somewhat European atmosphere.
Sorrel Punch- Caribbean
Add the taste of the tropics to your Christmas or even better, jet off to the sun-soaked island of Jamaica, which is renowned for its Sorrel Punch. Sorrel Punch is a rum based drink which uses hibiscus flower as the main ingredient. The flower gives it its vivid red colour – how Christmassy! Other ingredients such as ginger, cinnamon and lemon are used too but recipes vary widely by region or in this case by island. You can be forgiven for not associating Jamaica with Christmas but believe us, their festive season feels just as Christmassy as anywhere else, with the addition of the sun, of course, oh, and palm trees. Jamaica is also known for its rum-soaked Christmas cake, reggae carols, Junkanoo Christmas parade and countless Christmas markets that sprout up around the island over Christmas.
— TriniGourmet (@TriniGourmet) September 4, 2015
Irish Coffee- Ireland
Need your daily caffeine fix? Not a problem, the Irish came up with an ingenious idea in the form of a piping hot coffee flavoured with Irish cream liqueur and topped with a thick, and often generous layer of cream. Ireland takes Christmas seriously, and pubs and restaurants throughout the island serve delicious Irish coffee as well as spiced whisky and creamy liqueurs. Irish coffee is usually served straight after dinner, so don’t even think of having an early night.