When you think of holiday festivities, chances are, you’ll also think of eggnog: The combination of milk, egg yolks and whites, spices, and, often, liquor, creates one of the most popular seasonal drinks in the U.S. The flavor also pops up in cookies, bread loaves, muffins, and other delicious treats this time of year.
It’s believed that eggnog’s storied history begins in Medieval times, when Europeans sipped a hot (yes, hot) milk-based drink laced with spices and wine known as posset; later, monks created a version that incorporated eggs and figs. The drink traveled to America, where colonial farms produced its main ingredients (eggs and milk) in abundance; thanks to the Caribbean trade, booming rum production stateside made the spirit affordable. It was a favorite of founding father and president George Washington, who served a particularly boozy version of the beverage at Mount Vernon, and overindulging in eggnog even led to West Point’s Eggnog Riot of 1826.
Although eggnog is a holiday staple, the U.S. hasn’t cornered the market on this mixture of ingredients. Read on to discover 10 global varieties of the holiday favorite—and get the recipes to make them.
1. Rompope // Mexico
Rompope is thought to have evolved from a Spanish drink called ponche de huevo (egg punch). Nuns at the convent of Santa Clara, in Puebla, Mexico, gave it their own spin in the 1600s using ground almonds for flavor and creaminess. Rompope is known for its vibrant yellow color, which comes from using only egg yolks (as opposed to both yolks and whites as the American version does). Today, it’s sold bottled, but you can also make it at home.
2. Advocaat // The Netherlands
Where, exactly, advocaat came from isn’t known for certain, but according to one story, Dutch colonialists invented it. They supposedly encountered a similar drink made using avocados in Brazil, then recreated it in their home country by swapping the fatty fruit for more readily available eggs, which yielded a similarly creamy texture. In their recipe, the Dutch use American standards such as eggs, sugar, and vanilla, but they opt for brandy or cognac as the liquor of choice. A topping of whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa completes it. Advocaat is nearly the texture of custard thanks to abundant egg yolks and the absence of milk; many eat it with a spoon. Buy it by the bottle or whip it up at home.
3. Auld Man’s Milk // Scotland
In Scotland, Christmas wasn’t even a public holiday until 1958, so the bigger event is Hogmanay, celebrated on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. That’s when Scots raise a “cup o’ kindness.” This toast of goodwill can be done with Auld Man’s Milk, named after Scotland native Robert Burns’s poem-turned-New Year’s-anthem "Auld Lang Syne.” The Scottish take has many standard eggnog ingredients, including eggs, milk, rum, and nutmeg, but it calls for icing sugar rather than granulated.
4. Tamagozake // Japan
While not customarily a holiday drink, tamagozake (“egg sake”) is traditionally used as a treatment for colds in Japan, so it goes hand-in-hand with the season. Westerners have adopted the Japanese natural remedy as a cocktail, dubbing it “sake nog” or “nog-a-sake.” No matter how you’re consuming it, tamagozake recipes call for heated sake, sugar or honey, and raw egg blended until creamy.
5. Cola de Mono // Chile
For Chileans, nothing says “holidays” like Cola de Mono (“monkey’s tail”). The drink has a few customary ingredients, including milk, sugar, and spices like clove and cinnamon; coffee is also included. When it’s time to add booze, Chileans reach for either aguardiente or pisco (the national spirit of Chile).
6. Coquito // Puerto Rico
Puerto Ricans invented the piña colada, and their local take on eggnog makes use of the same flavors. Coquito (“little coconut”) incorporates both coconut extract and cream of coconut; the latter lends the drink its texture rather than eggs. The local recipe also ups the sweet ante with condensed and evaporated milk, but spices synonymous with the holidays, including cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, round out the flavor profile. Many recipes call for white rum, but some go all in with coconut rum.
7. Jamaican Eggnog // Jamaica
8. Bombardino // Italy
Il Bombardino (“the bomb”) hails from the Italian Alps, where the drink warms skiers after a day on the slopes. The drink initially consisted of a combination of milk, whiskey, and a custard containing sweet wine called zabaglione, but these days, the recipe involves blending egg liqueur and brandy, then adding whipped cream and cinnamon on top.
9. Sabajón // Colombia
In Colombia, eggnog gets a local twist with aguardiente (a.k.a. “firewater”), an anise-flavored liqueur that’s distilled from sugar or fruit. The drink also features sweetened condensed milk for over-the-top indulgence.
10. Eierlikör // Germany
Served warm over Christmas, but chilled by the time it makes an appearance at Easter, German Eierlikör shares similarities with Dutch advocaat. The thick egg liqueur uses egg yolks, cream, rum, and vanilla extract. Traditionally, it also skips the spices Americans associate with their favorite holiday drink.