It’s no secret that the unstoppable rise of high-end cocktail bars has birthed countless bespoke beverages to suit the taste buds of even the most discerning drinker. A happy byproduct of this is the spawning of a surfeit of splendid seasonal tipples to suit every occasion, big or small. Indeed, one needs to look no further than the recent Halloween celebrations to find countless night spots serving spookily-themed drinks – no doubt with an eye covertly on the cash counter.
However, there is one particular season of the year that – rather surprisingly – seems to proffer a paucity of such ‘trendy’ thematic tipples – Christmas. Indeed, when it comes to the most joyful time of the year, cocktail enthusiasts are more inclined towards traditional offerings to quench their thirst, ones that are delicious, nostalgic and – most importantly – warm.
We are, of course, talking about the hot toddies, eggnogs and mulled wines that have long been a staple of Yuletide gatherings for many European nations and their once-colonies. Hot toddy, one of modern Britain’s best-loved seasonal beverages, for example, is a descendant amalgam of the palm wines of India, American spiced rum and Scotch whisky.
Mulled wines, meanwhile, can trace their roots back to the Ancient Romans, who imbibed on heated wines to ward off the harsh winter cold. As their empire spread across the globe, so too did the love of this delicious drink, with ensuing generations adding spices, herbs and flowers to enhance its flavours to its current-day form.
Finally, eggnog, that most quintessential of Christmas cocktails, first originated as ‘posset’ – a warm, milky, ale-like libation brewed by 13th-century British monks. Eggnog eventually became tied to Yuletide cheer when it was transported to the Americas in the 1700s, with Mexico and Puerto Rico adopting the tipple as their own soon thereafter.
Today, these classic alcoholic refreshments and their countless derivatives remain an indispensable part of any Christmas celebration, with their fulsome flavours and soulful warmth all but ensuring their popularity for generations to come.
- 1 1/2 oz whisky
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 tea bag
- Boil water and steep tea bag for 3-5 minutes
- In serving glass, add honey
- Pour whisky, lemon juice and tea
- Mix well to incorporate the honey
- Garnish with lemon wedge
- 6 eggs (yolks and whites separated)
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups brandy
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
- Beat yolks, 1/4 cup of sugar, salt, vanilla and nutmeg until very thick and light yellow
- Slowly beat in brandy and milk
- Cover and chill in fridge overnight
- Before serving, beat egg whites to soft peaks
- Beat in remaining sugar
- Pour over chilled brandy mix and fold gently
- Garnish with nutmeg