Festive holiday drinks from around the world

The art of the holiday drink takes many forms around the world; here’s our guide to some of the planet’s tastiest tipples sure to make you feel festive.

Mulled wine

This spiced hot drink is a global smash hit, taking many names and forms over the years.

The concept of a spiced wine has been around for centuries, first made for medicinal purposes in ancient Egypt and later as a drink to ward off winter illness in Rome.

Today, spiced wine is hugely popular around the world – try one of the many variations of glühwein in Germany and Austria, Swedish gløgg, or the popular mulled wine.

While recipes vary, many share a red wine base, a form of sweetener (honey or sugar), cloves, cinnamon and orange zest.


Made from the fruit of a species of hibiscus flower, sorrel is a refreshing take on the holiday drink that’s popular across the Caribbean.

The sorrel plant (also known as the roselle hibiscus) is believed to have made its way to the region from West Africa during the transatlantic slave trade.

The drink became popular at Christmastime due to the fact that the roselle was once available only during that particular time of year, and today it’s a Caribbean hallmark of the holiday season.

Sorrel is made by boiling ginger, cinnamon and other ingredients such as allspice berries, star anise or orange peel, and then adding the roselle flowers to steep for a few days.

After the mixture is prepped, wine, rum and sugar are added. Recipes vary regionally, too – island hop during the holidays to find your favorite.


Perhaps one of the more polarizing holiday drinks out there, rich, creamy eggnog holds a special place in the hearts of many North Americans.

Like most long-standing traditions, the exact origin is murky, but food historians generally agree that it developed from posset, a medieval British drink made with sweetened milk and wine or ale.

As time passed, it’s thought that monks punched up the recipe by adding eggs and figs, and by the 1700s eggnog became a drink enjoyed primarily by the wealthy English class, as dairy was expensive.

Eggnog experienced a popularity boom when it made its way to the American colonies, places full of farmers who had plenty of dairy products easily and cheaply on hand.

This new version replaced pricey sherry wine with cheaper whiskey and rum, and the rest was history. Today, recipes combine vanilla, milk, sugar, eggs and cream, then topped with cinnamon.