Which is your favourite Christmas drink? Wassail, glühwein, Ponche Navideño or maybe something we don’t know about…?
It’s that time of year when something special is brewing in almost every country where Christmas is celebrated. Whether the climate’s hot or cold, there’s festive cheer to be made, bought and imbibed all over the expat world.
Here are 6 of our favourite Christmas-time drinks
1. From Lithuania…Poppy seed milk or aguonų pienas
A festive drink or soup that’s one of 12 dishes enjoyed on Christmas Eve, aguonų pienas is a non-alcoholic drink made by soaking poppy seeds in water, grinding them up to make poppy seed milk and then adding boiled water to dilute and honey to taste. Read more about Lithuania’s meatless, egg and dairy-free Christmas Eve dishes here.
2. From the USA…Egg Nog
There are recipes galore for this creamy and rich holiday season drink. It’s best made fresh and served immediately as it uses raw egg and cream. Some recipes call for whisky, others for bourbon or rum and it can be made alcohol-free. Here’s an egg nog recipe that uses bourbon or rum from Felicity Cloake writing everythig you ever want to know about Egg Nog for the Guardian.
3. From Finland, Sweden and Norway…Glögg or gløgg
A warm mulled wine, Glögg or gløgg is made as an alcoholic version with a red-wine base or as a non-alcoholic drink made with blackcurrant or grape juice. Spiced with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and ginger, the drink is served steaming hot, traditionally with a few raisins and almonds added to the bottom of the glass before pouring the gløgg on top. Here’s a typical gløgg recipe.
4. From the UK…Wassail
This is a hot mulled (spiced) cider that was traditionally drunk as part of a wassailing ceremony, celebrated at the end of the apple harvest to help ensure a successful apple crop the following year. A wassail cup was either taken from house to house so that each person could sip from the communal cup or the cup was passed around a crowd gathered to celebrate with dance and song. A popular wassailing song had the following lyrics:
Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a-wassailing,
So fair to be seen:
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too,
And God bless you and send you,
A happy New Year,
And God send you,
A happy new year.
Similar to but different from gløgg, glühwein is typically made with red wine, cloves, cinnamon, fresh oranges and a little sugar to taste. According to Bild, 50 million litres of glühwein are drunk in Germany every year. Here’s a glühwein recipe from the Swiss Consulate in New York.
6. From Mexico…Ponche Navideño
This fruity concoction usually includes a mix of sugar cane, apples, pears, citrus fruit, raisins, prunes, and tejocotes (an small crab apple-like fruit indigenous fruit used by the Aztecs). For the adult version, add tequila, brandy, or rum. Here’s a Ponche Navideño recipe from Mexican expat in the USA, Mely Martinez.