5 Holiday drinks from around the world

by | Dec 13, 2021 | Arts & Life

It’s December in Edmonton, and that means pure, petrifying cold. Frozen-rain covers the streets, leading to holly-jolly fender-benders, and parking bans light up public transit like Christmas lights.

There’s no better time to stay inside. 

If you live anywhere like I do, you live in a poorly insulated tiny house with far too many people. So what better way to stay warm than with a few Christmas cocktails? The following are sure to keep your spirits up.

The recipes include alcohol, but don’t worry. If you’re sober, there’s alternatives listed as well. If you are choosing to imbibe this holiday season, please drink responsibly.

Recipe 1: Xocolatl

A spiced chocolate drink that finds itself more bitter than traditional hot chocolate. The recipe for Xocolatl, though modified for modern ingredients and palates, derives from a Mayan drink of the same name, all the way back to 1500B.C.. 

Though often served to the wealthy, the drink was given to warriors to provide them with energy during battle. It was usually served cold, but we suggest warming it up in a saucepan. This recipe serves four, and was found here.

  • 4 cups whole milk (or milk alternative)
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 7oz. sweetened condensed milk
    • For sweetened condensed dairy alternative, check here
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Optionally, throw in 2 oz. of tequila to the finished mixture once it’s done cooking
  1. To a large saucepan, add all ingredients over medium heat. Whisk as it heats, until smooth. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Pour into mugs. Top with marshmallows, whipped cream, cinnamon, chocolate syrup or grated chocolate, if you’re feeling fancy.

Recipe 2: Swedish Glögg

Well, it’s official. My favorite drink name comes from Sweden. Technically, hot wine has been around since the 16th century, but came into popularity in the 19th century as an accompaniment to messengers who travelled on ski or horseback. 

Glögg recipes tend to vary, so your favorite may be slightly different than ours. This recipe serves two, and was found here. It’s a bit labor intensive, but totally worth it.

  • 2 cinnamon sticks broken into pieces  
  • 1 tsp. Cardamom pods
  • 1 small piece of ginger peeled
  • Zest of ½ an orange
  • 6 whole cloves
  • ½ cup vodka 
  • 1 750ml. bottle of red wine.
  • 1 cup ruby port or Madeira
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Maple sugar
  • ½ cup blanched whole almonds
  • ½ cup thompson raisins
  1. Crush cinnamon and cardamom in a mortar and pestle. Throw them into a jar or container. Add ginger, zest, cloves and vodka. Let that sit and steep for at least 24 hours.
  2. The next day, strain vodka through a sieve or cheesecloth into a large saucepan. You don’t need the spices anymore, so compost them.
  3. Add wine, port, sugar, maple sugar, almonds, and raisins. Heat over medium until bubbles form around the edges. DO NOT let it boil.
  4. You’re done! Ladle glögg into mugs, with a few almonds and raisins in each. 
  5. For a sober version, replace wine and vodka with:
    1. 2 cups orange juice
    2. 2 cups apple juice
    3. 2 cups water
    4. 5 bags of hibiscus tea

Recipe 3: Bombardino

Bombardino translates from Italian to “The Bomb”. After a long day skiing, this winter cocktail can warm even the coldest hearts. The drink originated in Lombardia and is revered in Italian ski communities.

This is a bit of a heavier drink, with an alcoholic kick. It serves one, and our recipe derives from this one.

  • 1.5 oz. brandy
  • 3 oz. egg liqueur (such as Bols Advocaat)
  • Whipped cream
  • Cinnamon
  1. Heat the egg liqueur in a small pot over medium heat. While it’s heating, add the brandy to a glass mug.
  2. Once the egg liqueur is almost boiling, pour it over the brandy, slowly. Give it one hell of a stir.
  3. Top your cocktail with whipped cream and some cinnamon.
  4. To make a non-alcoholic cocktail, simply replace the egg liqueur with eggnog, and skip the brandy. To spice it up, add an ounce of espresso to turn the Bombardino into a Calimero.


Can you tell where this cocktail is from? Spoiler: it’s Canadian. It’s also sinfully easy, and might knock your socks off. According to legend, the original recipe included caribou blood, though we think red wine tastes a lot better.

It’s a classic Québécois drink that has been around for years, and our recipe comes from here. Serves 2 people.

  • 2 tbsp. brandy
  • 2 tbsp. vodka
  • ⅓ cup port wine
  • ⅓ cup dry sherry
  1. It’s as simple as it gets. Throw the ingredients in a saucepan, and gently heat. 
  2. For a non-alcoholic version, I recommend some hibiscus and cranberry tea mixed into a mug with a generous helping of honey.

Bloody Bishop

You might take a peek at the ingredients and think to yourself: “hey, this looks like a Smoking Bishop! What kinda trick are you pullin’,” and, well, you’d be onto something. The Smoking Bishop comes from the Victorian Era, and uses regular oranges, as well as lemon.

Apparently Charles Dickens loved this drink, but he and I haven’t spoken in about 151 years. So I can neither confirm nor deny this. We got our recipe from here. Serves six to eight.

  • 1 blood orange, washed
  • 12 cloves
  • 1 750ml bottle of ruby port
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp. granulated white sugar
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 slice fresh ginger
  • 2 oz. brandy
  • Blood orange slices
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C)
  2. Stick your cloves into the orange, as evenly as you can. Put it on a small oven-safe dish, and bake it for 1 hour.
  3. Cut orange into four wedges when it is cool enough to do so.
  4. In a medium pot, combine port, water, sugar, cinnamon, star anise, ginger and baked orange wedges. Stir occasionally over medium heat until it starts to bubble.
  5. Take off heat and add brandy.
  6. For a non-alcoholic version, replace the port with cranberry juice, and skip the brandy.

Not only are all of these cocktails delicious, warming and pretty simple, they’re extremely social media friendly. If you’re instagramming this season, be sure to tag @thenaitnugget.

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