7 Holiday Cocktails From Around the World

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It's not a holiday celebration without plenty of food and drink, but what ends up on the table varies from place to place. To bring some variety into your holiday drink routine, we’ve rounded up seven festive cocktails from around the world.

1. WASSAIL (U.K.)

It’s a song! It’s a verb! It’s a warm drink! It’s Wassail, and it’s all of the above! It may bring to mind a group of carolers in centuries-old garb warbling their hearts out, but its name and heritage are a bit more muddled. As legend has it, a beautiful Saxon noblewoman seduced the drunk king with a goblet of mulled wine, the drink of choice for the rich. Once their relationship was, ahem, consummated, the king greeted her by saying, “Waes hail.” He then married her and toasted the union with “Drinc hael,” which translates to “drink in good health.” The word “wassail” later evolved to mean the toast itself, the drink in the glass, and farmers drinking (and yelling) to promote fertility on their farms. Waes hail, friends.

2. GLÖGG (SCANDANAVIA) OR GLÜWEIN (GERMANY AND AUSTRIA)

Spiced, mulled wine goes by many names, but few are as potent or as established as Glögg. In the Middle Ages, King Gustav I Vasa of Sweden was fond of a concoction of German wine, sugar, honey, and spices. Back then, many alcoholic drinks were considered medicinal. On a more practical level, the sugar and spice hid any unpleasant flavors. In 1609, it acquired the name “glödgad vin,” which translates to “glowing-hot wine.” By 1870, it first appeared in print under the shortened name “glögg.” At that point, it was probably just made from wine, but has since been fortified with port and aquavit or brandy and has become popular across Europe. Its German counterpart, glühwein (“glow wine”), is often made with white wine, and its Irish equivalent is made with their native whiskey.

Get the recipe here.

3. HOT BUTTERED RUM (U.S.)

Sometimes, a cup of Hot Buttered Rum looks like an oil slick. Other times, it’s rich and creamy and will warm you down to your toes. Back in the 1860s, U.S. taste for alcohol was divided regionally. In the Northeast, rum reigned. Although our modern idea of rum seems overwhelmingly tropical, lots and lots of rum was made and consumed in or exported from the region. To keep warm, hot drinks did the trick. Although the butter’s purpose is, to date, unknown, Charles Browne posits in the 1939 Gun Club Drink Book that it will oil your mustache.

Get the recipe here.

4. COLA DE MONO (CHILE)

If you’re ready for a party, opt for the Cola de Mono. Though it looks like a cross between Egg Nog and a White Russian, this drink is a unique experience. Translated as “tail of the monkey,” the cocktail may have been named for its effect on partygoers. It also may have picked up the nickname from being stored in Anis del Moro bottles, or from a former president and his pistol. However it was named, the aguardente in this light, creamy drink packs a wallop.

Get the recipe here.

5. PONCHE NAVIDEÑO (MEXICO) AND PONCHE DE FRUTAS (GUATEMALA)

These fruit punches are great holiday treats. Their recipes tend to be somewhat similar, due to the overlaps in available fruits, but the rummy punches turn out somewhat differently. Further, Ponche Navideño can be difficult to recreate anywhere else. This fruit-laden punch features tejocotes, the fruit of the hawthorn tree. The recipe is passed down through families and varies widely from place to place, but it always makes for a tasty warm drink.

Get the recipes here (Ponche Navieñdo) and here (Ponche de Frutas).

6. COQUITO (PUERTO RICO)

Though its history is vague, its deliciousness isn’t. Coquito, which translates as “little coconut,” is thought to be a derivative of eggnog. However it was invented, this creamy, tropical rum drink is hugely popular. In Cuba, you can get a variety that’s topped with coconut ice cream. It’s sometimes served as an after dinner chaser, and is the subject of an annual cocktail competition at the Museo Del Barrio in New York.

Get the recipe here.

7. SORREL PUNCH (JAMAICA)

If you can’t travel to the tropics this year, recreate some of its charm in your home. In Jamaica, Sorrel Punch is everywhere during the holiday season. Sorrel, also known as hibiscus, is believed to be a panacea. Whether or not it will cure what ails you, this fruity, herbal punch will bring back memories of warmer times.

Get the recipe here.

BONUS: TWO NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINKS TO KEEP YOU WARM.

If you’ve indulged a bit too heavily this season, fear not: we’ve included two nonalcoholic drinks you can enjoy at your leisure.

SUJEONGGWA (KOREA)

Sujeonggwa is a sweet, spicy persimmon punch that’s often topped with pine nuts. In Korea, it’s considered a dessert, and is prepared both hot and cold. It’s also considered a digestive, which may explain its place in the meal. Over time, it’s been so popular that it’s canned or bottled and sold in supermarkets.

Get the recipe here.

SALEP (TURKEY)

Salep (or Sahlep) may be the most difficult beverage to make from scratch if you live outside Turkey, since one of its ingredients—flour ground from the tubers of certain breeds of Turkish orchids—isn’t exported. Luckily, it’s available in many powdered forms. Like many other drinks, Salep was originally a medicinal potion. It’s been drunk for many centuries and still maintains a reputation for being a healthful beverage.

Get the recipe here.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

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Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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11 Brilliant Gifts for the Cocktail Enthusiast in Your Life

Libbey/Amazon
Libbey/Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Cocktails are an art form. Each drink has a unique history. Why does a margarita have salt? How is the garnish chosen for each drink, especially when you’re creating one spontaneously? What’s the best way to make an old fashioned? If there is someone in your life that has the answers to these questions, they are probably a cocktail enthusiast. This holiday season, treat that person to goodies that will help enhance their craft. 

1. Cocktail Shaker Set; $18

Amazon

Whether they like their drinks shaken or stirred, amateur mixologists can make all kinds of cocktails with this kit. It includes all the essential tools: a muddler, jigger, shaker, and more. They’ll feel like an expert in no time.

Buy it: Amazon

2. The Carry On Cocktail Kit—Old Fashioned; $24

W&P/Amazon

For the traveler who demands a good drink, these kits come with everything but the booze. But if they are going to pack their own mini bottles, remind them to check the airline’s regulations—rules vary on whether it’s legal to drink your own booze in-flight. Also available in Moscow Mule, Champagne Cocktail, and Gin & Tonic.

Buy it: Amazon

3. The Spirit Infusion Kit; $42

Amazon

One of the best parts about making cocktails is that experimentation is rewarded. This infusion kit, including instruction and recipe book, bottle, strainers, and more, will help your cocktail enthusiast turn average vodka into a berry explosion or take tequila to the next level by infusing it with jalapeño peppers.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds; $10

Amazon

Instead of filling their glass with plain cubes, cocktail fans can use this set of two ice molds to craft spherical, uh, cubes. Each piece will melt slowly in a drink and add flair to their home bar. 

Buy it: Amazon

5. The Bitter Truth Travelers Set; $20

The Bitter Truth/Amazon

Any cocktail aficionado worth their salt should have a few bottles of bitters. To spice things up, give them this sampler set that includes five complex flavors: celery bitters, classic old time aromatic bitters, orange bitters, Creole bitters, and Jerry Thomas bitters.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Homemade Gin Kit; $50

Amazon

Though some home bartenders have a house cocktail, few can say they make their gin in-house. Help your loved one mix it up and make 750 ml of homemade gin with this collection that includes one tin of juniper berries, one tin of the company's secret botanical blend, one stainless steel funnel, one fine stainless steel strainer, and two 375-ml glass bottles. All that’s missing is your giftee's label—time for them to brush up on those Photoshop skills.

Buy it: Amazon

7. The Cocktail Chronicles: Navigating the Cocktail Renaissance with Jigger, Shaker, and Glass; $15

Amazon

Whether the recipient is a seasoned bartender or a cocktail newcomer, Imbibe editor Paul Clarke’s book has something for everyone. From modern cocktails to obscure classics, the snapshots in this 200-page book show how far the cocktail scene has come—and where it’s going.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Glencairn Whisky Glass Set; $30

Amazon

Whiskey drinkers know that the type of glass can dramatically change the smell, taste, and experience of the drink. This set of four award-winning glasses would make any cocktail enthusiast swoon.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Fancy Paper Straws; $5

KTOJOY/Amazon

Almost any drink looks fancier with the addition of a patterned paper straw. Gussy up your loved ones' bars with a box of these beauties. The stocking stuffers are biodegradable, compostable, printed with food grade ink, and available in a variety of colors and patterns.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail; $25

Amazon

This 416-page book should be a prerequisite for all science nerds who want to make better cocktails. Dave Arnold of Booker & Dax breaks down the facts and recipes to make any bar more interesting.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Libbey Mixologist 18-Piece Cocktail Glass Set; $39

Amazon

If your cocktail enthusiast likes to experiment with different drinks, then they need the glasses that go with them. They can’t have a martini in a margarita glass, nor drink tequila from a whiskey balloon, after all. Libbey’s set will instantly upgrade their bar cart.

Buy it: Amazon

Bonus: Vintage Fernet Poster; $50

CANVAS ON DEMAND/Amazon

Bartenders call a shot of Fernet a "handshake." The bitter, minty liqueur is an acquired taste, but there's much to appreciate. Deck out the wall of the Fernet fan in your life with this reproduction vintage ad.

Buy it: Amazon

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