Unique recipes for festive drinks instill the holiday spirit
The holidays are upon us. We’ve just devoured our turkey—or Tofurky,—and now it’s time to prepare for the final holidays of the year. The traditions we’ve created with food may not be set in stone, but they have been repeated for generations, with secret recipes passed down to family members each year. What may not be a tradition in most families, though, are the drinks enjoyed alongside the time-honored family meals. The beverages can be enjoyed as presented, or the alcohol can be omitted (or in some cases added) to personalize your drink.
In Puerto Rico the coquito is a festive drink. The coquito is similar to our beloved eggnog: The recipe is a mix of rum, condensed milk, coconut milk, vanilla, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon.
1) Place two to three cinnamon sticks and two cups water in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes to allow the cinnamon to flavor the water. Then remove sticks and let water cool.
2) Whisk the room temperature water, one 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk, one 12 oz. can evaporated milk and one 12 oz. can Creme de coco together. Chill well.
3) When you’re ready to serve, pour the desired amount of rum into the mix. If desired, garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick.
Sorrel Punch is the Jamaican Christmas drink. It’s made from petals of hibiscus and a combination of sugar, crushed fresh ginger, water, lime juice and rum.
1) Place two cups dried hibiscus flowers, 1/4 cup minced ginger root in a large bowl of eight cups of boiling water. Let steep for several hours at room temperature.
2) Strain into a large pitcher and add sugar to taste (between one and one and 1/4 cups)
3) If desired, mix a shot of rum and garnish each glass with a lime.
An Italian beverage that is not so foreign to us is a bellini. The bellini received its name from Renaissance artist Giovanni Bellini in the 1930s or 1940s. Only two ingredients make this the simplest beverage: peaches and sparkling white wine.
1) Puree two white peaches and then strain through a sieve. It should yield about one cup of puree.
2) Add the peach puree to a pitcher. Pour the chilled wine into the mix and stir. Serve in tall glasses.
3) A non-alcoholic version replaces the sparkling wine with sparkling fruit juice or seltzer water.
Mulled wine is a traditional winter beverage popular in England. It’s known around the world by various names; France calls it vin chaud, it’s know in Italy as vin brûlé, and in Germany as Glühwein. Using red wine, sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamon pods and orange peel, this is a non-labor-intensive drink.
1) Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a low simmer, but do not let it boil. One bottle of red wine, 3-5 tablespoons sweetener, two to four cinnamon sticks, four to six cloves, three to five cardamom pods, and one orange peel. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes.
2) Strain and serve in mugs.
Finally, if you find yourself dozing off in the middle of a get together (or foresee that happening), prepare some late night caffeine the way the Irish would in the 1940s at the airports. This makes one serving, using ingredients likely already sitting around your kitchen. Coffee, whiskey, brown sugar, and heavy cream (half and half or 2% milk, if you don’t want to purchase cream).
1) Fill a clear glass mug with hot water to warm the mug and then pour it out. Add four ounces hot coffee. Stir in two ounces whiskey and one to two teaspoons brown sugar until sugar dissolves.
2) Carefully pour the cream into the drink so it floats on top.