Whether you’re an alcohol drinker or not, you know that there’s no better way to announce the coming of the season than with a few expertly-chosen drinks. Some are served hot, some are served cold, and a few of them will have the family divided (let’s face it: it’s mostly just egg nog). Whatever your spice, here are a few drinks, alcoholic and otherwise, that will help keep the holidays feeling warm and cozy.
Historically, mulled wine has meant many different things, though a few things rarely change. Namely, the wine, the cinnamon and the cloves. Pick your own favorite recipe, which may also include brandy, brown sugar, cardamom, and fruit. You might also simply pick up a sachet of mulling spices, and heat your wine while steeping the spices.
The classic holiday song “Wassail Song,” or “Here We Come A-wassailing” confused some of us as kids. Especially when other people sang “Here We Come A-caroling.” Fortunately for us, though, wassailing is not the same as singing and is, in fact, more in line with hot apple cider and orange juice, with various spices. This one is easily made non-alcoholic.
Another recipe that easy to keep the spirits out of, mulled cider is apple cider, an orange cloves, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries and/or star anise. There are numerous possible recipes and, if you want to make it a little more adult, sometimes rum is used.
In the US, at least, we’re used to getting our cranberries either whole, or in gelatinous cylinder form. Fortunately, that tart/sweet combination also comes together beautifully in a cranberry punch, which sometimes includes pineapple, or sparkling water for a fizzy version. This is a way of getting that cranberry flavor with fewer calories and a lighter stomach.
Eggnog (no Alcohol Version)
Eggnog is pretty traditionally alcoholic, and some people swear by homemade, rather than from-the carton. If you choose to go the homemade route, you’ll need a bunch of egg, sugar, milk and spices. There are too many recipes to find a “definitive” egg nog recipe, so you also have the option of making it your own, just being careful to cook it properly without over-cooking it. Make sure it’s the right temperature and, if you like, add rum.
Christmas punch can mean many things, but usually involves orange, cranberries and pomegranate. Sometimes it’s sparkling, and includes juice as well as fresh fruit. It may include ginger ale or apple cider, as well, and contains all the Christmasy flavors you can think of, which makes even more customizable, to make you feel that holiday joy in a glass however you want.
You don’t have to be a mixologist to make these drinks happen. In fact, adding a little love is much more important than picking the perfect brand or what have you. It’s less about the bar you keep, and more about the company you keep.