‘Tis the season to gather around a cozy fire with one of these warm drinks from around the globe:
Tom & Jerry, U.S.
Created by Pierce Egan in the 1820s as a publicity stunt to increase sales of his book Life in London, the Tom and Jerry is an American hot-cocktail classic that’s rarely seen on bar menus today, unless you’re in the Midwest. Popular during the Christmas holidays until the ’60s, the drink is made by adding rum and brandy to warm egg nog, and served in an Irish coffee mug or a vintage ‘Tom & Jerry’ cup (plenty are found on Ebay).
The word wassail has many meanings: caroling, riotous drinking, a toast to one’s health. This drink dates back to medieval times when farmers doused — or “wassailed” — their crops and livestock with cider to encourage fertility and to ward off evil spirits. Traditionally, it was made of ale or hard cider, sherry or brandy, sugar and spices. Roasted apples floated in the hot punch, while pieces of toast topped it. (The toast element is where the term “toasting” to one’s health originates.) In a lambswool, which is a version of wassail, the cider is shaken and stirred, creating a fluffy froth that looks like a sheep’s wool. In modern times, wassail recipes include oranges and an egg yolk.
Hot Toddy, Scotland
Many cultures have their versions (any hot boozy drink made with spices and sugar), but most agree that it was the Scots who created it in the 1700s. The Toddy is made with Scotch, boiling water, honey or sugar, cloves, cinnamon or lemon. And it’s touted as a cure all for colds.
Lady Macbeth used poisoned posset to knock out the guards outside Duncan’s quarters in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Non-fatal posset is made of hot curdled milk with beer or wine, sometimes spices as well. As simple as it sounds, it has three layers: alcohol at the bottom, a custard layer in the middle and a frothy milk head.
Many Eastern European countries, like Germany and the Czech Republic, have their version of glogg a.k.a. mulled wine. In Sweden, it’s traditionally imbibed on December 13, when the country celebrates St. Lucia’s Day. Glogg, not for the faint of heart, consists of stewed raisins and spices in a mixture of aquavit (a Norwegian spirit made from potatoes), port and red wine.
Quentão (Portuguese for “big hot one”) is a warm Brazilian drink made of cachaça and spices. It’s made by caramelizing sugar with spices like nutmeg and clove, ginger and the peels of oranges or limes. This mixture is then boiled with water for ten minutes, at which point the cachaça is added — and it’s all boiled for another five minutes. In southern Brazil, where red wine is produced, cachaça is often swapped out for wine during the months of June to August, when wintertime hits the southern hemisphere.
Canelazo is a sweet-and-spicy alcoholic drink commonly enjoyed in the mountains of Ecuador, Columbia or Peru. Made with water, cinnamon sticks (canela), brown sugar, acidic fruit juice (such as lemon or naranjillo, which is like a tangerine or kumquat) and aguardiente. Canelazo is served in thick, short glasses or mugs and enjoyed during the holidays.
Like mead, sbiten is honey-based hot beverage. It’s simple to make — with or without alcohol — by boiling honey, spices and wine (or water). Garnish it with mint leaves or cinnamon sticks, and for a more authentic experience, serve it from a traditional copper samovar.
More Warm Drink ideas HERE.
Did I miss one that you love drinking during the winter? Do share in the comments below…
Drink well and happy holidays!
(photo credit: Thinkstock)