Four days away from Christmas, people are already tuning into the Winter Holiday mood. Which is great, because the more jolly people around, the less of the usual drama that takes place during the rest of the year (yes, including during the commute home when traffic brings out the best and most sincere parts of people to the surface…).
So, in order to help this feel good and friendly vibe on its way, I’ve wrapped up a few drinks that are perfect for this time of year. I mean, hey, what’s more guaranteed to make someone jolly, giddy and red in the cheeks than a sip of a good beverage fit for the occasion?
So, without further a due, here’s ¬†6¬†winter holiday drinks that you should consider for the upcoming get-together and parties with your friends and loved ones.
1. Hot Spiced Mead
Ah, the traditional warmer of the Northern peoples. And not only, as evidence suggests it was prepared all over the world in ancient times and might even be “the ancestor of all fermented drinks,” according to¬†Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat.
It is indeed a drink that results from the fermentation of honey and water. A great variety of spices can be added according to taste (cinnamon, star anise, cloves, etc.) as well as extra honey. Heat it up and serve it¬†with good companions for a warm reception.
2. Mulled Wine
Another classic. Just grab some red wine, add spices and sugar and heat it up.
Depending on how sweet or dry the wine is, you’ll have to greatly adjust the quantity of sugar you add to the wine. Taste it from time to time.
As regards the spices, these may vary. Feel free to experiment and find out what you like. However, you can’t go wrong with cinnamon, as it’s a staple of mulled wine. And has been so throughout the ages and cultures.
3. Christmas Brews
Near the Winter Holiday, each year, most breweries put out their Christmas Brew. This is usually special in some way. Either because it is based on a recipe which is more “exotic” than the year-long offerings. Or because (oddly enough and in a blatant show of consumer disregard the rest of the time), the quality of the beer is noticeably higher.
Not to mention that there is a limited number of such beers produced each year, so there’s also the element of scarcity that makes them interesting.
There are many offers available. Just look out for the Christmas Brew of your favorite brewery. Chances are, they make one. And if your family members or buddies are also beer drinkers, it will make for a welcome change.
4. Hot Chocolate With Brandy
Perfect mix. And mega-warm-up-er. Make any kind of white or black hot chocolate (sweet, bitter, your choice), and then give its warmth factor a few extra miles by adding a good dose of brandy.
Now you probably shouldn’t add so much that it becomes brandy with a touch of chocolate. Just enough to make the brandy noticeable and add its pleasant roughness to the chocolate’s sweetness.
5. Hot Pumpkin Buttered Rum Cocktail
It takes just about 5-10 minutes to prepare. And you need just brown sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, butter, ¬†rum and water.
You mix the first three in a blender. Put the result in a cup, add the butter and rum and then pour hot water on top. Presto! A great beverage to keep you warm with an exquisite and intriguing flavor to boot. Not to mention the creaminess.
That’s right. There’s nothing like whiskey to keep you energized (and gasping for air as you deal with its strength). I’m talking of course about the traditional, single malt variety. And of high quality brands with decades of tradition.
If you haven’t let yourself sip an excellent single malt whiskey by the fireplace, you don’t know what you’re missing. Try buying a 12 year old (or better still an 18 year old!) Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Glenmorangie, hell pretty much anything that has Glen in it (kidding).
It might sound simple because “it’s just whiskey in a glass”, right? But don’t be deceived. These world class whiskeys have tons of flavor and personality. Featuring varied smell, taste and after taste. To give just one intriguing example, if you buy a Lagavulin, most reviewers agree that you can taste a campfire in it – it’s that smokey.
But I guess you’ll have to decide for yourself. Just don’t, by God, put ice, water or anything else in it. Keep it straight. And you’ll be amazed how complex and satisfying it can be.
Cheers! And a happy Winter Holiday!