What We’re Loving: Traditional Holiday Drinks

by Kate H. Knapp on December 20, 2013

in Blog, Drinks, Entertaining, Holiday, What We’re Loving

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Whether it’s a warm glass of hot buttered rum after a day in the snow or a frosty mug of rich eggnog on Christmas morning, there’s nothing quite like a traditional holiday cocktail to celebrate the season. Thankfully, I grew up with a mother who is an expert eggnog maker and whips up a batch every holiday. It never changes, and just as I can be sure that my stocking, hand-knit by my grandmother, will be hanging by the fireplace, I know my mother will have eggnog. Though I look forward to those familiar flavors all year long, what I really love is toasting to all those who have toasted before us (and to all those who will toast to us in the future) with the same holiday spirits.

That is what makes these drinks so very special. It’s not only how indulgent and delightful they taste, but it’s the traditions (and time of year) they represent. To celebrate these festive cocktails, we’ve called upon some of our favorite bloggers to share their own recipes for old-fashioned holiday drinks. Cheers!

I think we can all agree that wine is pretty great at any old time, but there’s just something so special about mulled wine (or, in this case, vin chaud aux épices pictured above) at Christmas. From its fragrant aroma of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and orange to the warmth of the red wine, just one sip and you’ll feel joyful and toasty all over. No wonder it’s served at Christmas markets all over Europe. {From Bonnetable (in French)}

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As I mentioned above, I am a bit of an eggnog snob. I take this most famous of holiday drinks quite seriously, which is why I was ecstatic to find a recipe for Black-Spiced Rum Eggnog that exceeded even my expectations. The traditional technique (warm spiced milk, tempering egg yolks together, folding in perfectly-peaked egg whites) is intact, but the special addition of a whipped black rum topping makes this delectable drink a staple on the holiday menu for years to come. {From Design Sponge}

If you’ve never had Hot Buttered Rum, don’t worry, there’s still time for you (just like Scrooge but without all the ghosts). The best part about this drink, aside from that it has butter in its name, is how warming and truly intoxicating it is. You can make the spiced butter mixture (butter, brown sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg) in advance and keep it in the fridge for when you need a little holiday pick-me-up. Then you just add rum and hot water, et voila, you have a festive drink in a matter of minutes. {From Not Without Salt}

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The super-indulgent rum drink has been taken a step further (as if that was possible) with this recipe for Burnt Sugar Hot Buttered Rum. Your eyes did not deceive you. Burnt sugar. Butter. Rum. Feel free to swoon. The caramel-y goodness of melted sugar has been added to the already rich drink to create a cocktail that guarantees to make your holiday (and you) just a little bit sweeter. {From Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Finally, it wouldn’t be Christmas without Wassail (at least that’s what part of the world believes, and we’re embracing it). This spiked apple cider, with its intoxicating hints of ginger, lemon, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and anise, would make a lovely way to warm up after a winter’s day as it is. You add in a bit of Bourbon, however, and you’ve created a cocktail that is destined for a new holiday tradition. {From Cookie + Kate}

Photos courtesy of Julie, Jen, Ashley, Katie, and Kate.

Eat Boutique  discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans. We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can order in the Eat Boutique Shop. You can also follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagramTumblr and Pinterest.

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Kate H. Knapp

Head Recipe Tester & Shop Editor at Eat Boutique
Kate H. Knapp has been cooking since she was stove-high and whisk-strong. She comes from a long line of cooks and bakers, from whom she learned the sweet power of sugar, the thrill of egg whites, the magic of leftovers, and the importance of being fearless in the kitchen. Kate works as the Urbanist Boston City Guide Editor and has recently earned a Masters in Gastronomy. She spends her free time testing recipes, practicing food photography, and reading cookbooks. Her recipe for life is a work in progress—needs a dash more of this and a pinch of that—but she couldn't be happier with her ingredients.


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  • http://mapandmenu.com/ Meredith Perdue

    We seem to be inhaling holiday cocktails lately, but somehow we’ve never had hot buttered rum. (It sounds like we’re missing out!)That will change this weekend, hopefully. Thanks for the great list!

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