Nothing goes with a crackling fireplace and gentle snowfall better than a Christmas cocktail. What’s your favorite drink around the holidays? Your go-tos might include spiked eggnog and hot chocolate, but this is your chance to broaden your horizons with four traditional Christmas drinks from around the world.
Cola de Mono (Chile)
“Monkey tail” is a Chilean drink with a texture somewhere between a White Russian and eggnog. Traditionally, cola de mono is prepared the day before it’s served.
- 2 quarts whole milk
- 5 cloves
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split open and scraped
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 lemon rind
- 1/2 orange rind
- 1 tablespoon (or more to taste) instant coffee, dissolved in warm milk
- 1/2 bottle Chilean pisco
- Place the first seven ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a soft boil over medium heat.
- Add the instant coffee. Stir to combine and remove from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool while covered.
- Strain the liquid into a bowl or pitcher. Add the pisco little by little, stirring with a wooden spoon.
- Store in glass bottles and refrigerate until chilled
Ponche Navideño (Mexico)
“Christmas punch” is essentially a simmering pot of fruit that scents the house during the holidays. In fact, adding alcohol is optional.
- 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers (flor de Jamaica)
- 6 quarts water, divided
- 20 cloves
- 2 oranges
- 2 cups Tejocotes, drained
- 1 (14 oz.) package frozen whole guava
- 6 sticks frozen whole sugar cane
- 2 (8 oz. each) cones brown sugar cane OR 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 medium apple, chopped
- 1 medium pear, chopped
- 1 cup pitted prunes, chopped
- 1 cup walnut halves
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- Rum, brandy, or tequila, to taste (optional)
- Boil hibiscus flowers and 1 quart water in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes.
- Press 10 cloves into each orange. Cut the oranges into quarters.
- Strain the hibiscus water into a 10- to 12-quart pot; discard the solids. To the pot, add the remaining 5 quarts of water, the clove-studded orange pieces, and all remaining ingredients, except the alcohol.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the flavors are infused and the fruit is tender, about 1 hour.
- Ladle the drink and fruit into serving mugs. Add liquor, if desired. Serve warm or chilled.
“Glow wine” is a German mulled wine, a winter version of sangria that’s perfect for warding off winter’s chill. You can leave the steaming mixture on the stove for hours or store it in the fridge and reheat it the next day.
- 1 (750 ml) bottle red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, or Sangria)
- 3 cups unsweetened apple cider
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 to 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise
- 4 to 5 star anise pods
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1 lime, sliced
- 1 small orange, sliced
- Cranberries (optional for garnish)
- Combine wine, cider, and honey in a pot or slow cooker. Heat over low to medium heat.
- Place cinnamon sticks, vanilla, star anise, cloves, and nutmeg in a small saucepan. Roast over medium heat for five minutes, tossing occasionally with a wooden spoon.
- Add the spices from the small saucepan to the wine mixture and continue heating for 25 to 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to help the honey dissolve, making sure it doesn’t come to a boil.
- Just before serving, add brandy and 1 cup sliced fruit. Ladle the mulled wine into mugs. Add a cinnamon stick, some of the sliced fruit, and a few cranberries to each glass.
Crema de Vie (Cuba)
This exotic eggnog recipe is quick and easy to prepare. One sip, and you’ll be hooked!
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.
- Blend egg yolks at high speed in a blender. Switch the blender to low and slowly add hot sugar water.
- Add condensed milk, rum, and vanilla. Blend until smooth.
- Refrigerate until chilled.
Dine & Drink in Black Hawk, CO
Making your own cocktails can be fun, but if you prefer to leave the mixology to a seasoned pro, head to one of the restaurants and bars in Black Hawk this winter. Your options range from casual to fine dining, family-friendly to adults-only. Once you’re done checking out the restaurants, see what the city’s upscale hotels and exciting casinos have to offer. You’ll quickly discover why Black Hawk is one of Colorado’s top destinations!