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Hot chocolate, eggnog, hot spiced cider, wassail, ponche (fruit, chocolate or crema) - your favorite holiday drink and what makes it special?

I'm more of an eggnog person for Christmas Eve and day. Holiday shopping means hot chocolate.

I'm more of a buying rather than cooking type, so what makes my holiday beverage special is finding the best eggnog or hot chocolate ... somewhere

This year in Guatemala I've had lots of ponche de frutas ... sort of a hot cider with fruit in it such as pineapple, coconut, raisins, apples, prunes and tejocotes (pictured below). It usually has a piece of cinnamon bark in the cup.

The house where I stayed in Antigua last week said they made chocolate ponche. I had never heard of that before. The baseline recipe is similar to this one: chocolate, rum, milk, egg yolks, sugar. It sounds like chocolate eggnog, how good is that?

There are lots of elaborate recipes that include ingredients such as vanilla, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, condensed milk in addtion to the regular milk.

In Venezuela there's ponche crema which is served cold. Given it is summer south of the equator, that makes sense

So what's your drink of choice?

More photos of Guatemalan ponche in my Flickr photostream

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  1. i might be able to get behind the chocolate ponche. other than that, hot chocolate is really my only choice - all the others nauseate me after more than a sip or two.

    1. I love mulled wine, hot red wine, a splash of brandy, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, orange slices with peel. It's real Guy Fawkes night for adults with hot dogs and baked beans and baked potatoes.

      1. While I like spiced hot cider and mulled wine and even (wicked) hot chocolate, I must say that during the holiday season I am totally a sucker for both Coquito and Ponche de Crema. The former is Puerto Rican "eggnog" and the latter is Trinidadian "eggnog", both served cold.

        When first reading your post, rworange, I thought perhaps Venezualen and Trini would be similar. But the description you linked to is nothing like the Trini eggnog I am used to. See Trini one here: http://www.trinigourmet.com/index.php... . And see Coquito here: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/coquito... .

        My sister will be bringing coquito for xmas eve and I can't wait!! Yum!!

        1. Gluehwein (hot mulled wine, German-style) - preferably "mit Schuss!" (with a shot of rum or liquor in it to take the edge off the sweetness & give it a kick)...the last time I was in Munich in wintertime, we drank it at every Christkindlmarkt & Winterfest & it really kept us toasty!

          1. We have found several non-alcohol wassails over the years and to make them "from scratch" seems to be appreciated by guests at our house and also when we are invited to "bring a batch of that wassail." People ask for one of our wassails from year to year when they hear we are having a housefull for Thanksgiving or through Christmas, New Years, etc. The cinnamon aroma, blend of different citrus in the crock pot...fills the house with wonderful seasonal smells. Now, onto the eggnog- same deal- people seem to really respond to a recipe "from scratch." But not everybody likes eggnog. Brandy extract or rum extract can satisfy the need for that flavor without adding the actual booze, which is the criteria for most of our crowd. We make sure the eggs are cooked. That "dusting" of nutmeg on the top of each serving! Ahh! And invariably get into a discussion about the recipe at some point during the evening. And finally, what makes it special- I got permission from my mother-in-law to make a mess of her kitchen on Christmas Eve when I make the egg nog, and that part makes it special for me. I might hem and haw about cleaning it up, but in her kitchen I can usually follow through with the clean up. To my wife's long-suffering, I seem to be less diligent in my clean up at home. At non-holidays, we will make milkshakes and malteds in the wonderful "Ninja" blender, and whenever I have an excuse to play with the Ninja, the experience is "special." I can't wait until Christmas Eve!
            Florida Hound

            1 Reply
            1. re: Florida Hound

              No need for a new topic thread, but this is a "Christmas disaster" story." I told my ChowHound friends I couldn't wait until Christmas Eve..." The egg nog recipe takes the better part of a day, or overnight, so I do it in 2 parts. Even when our first round of nog is only for 2 or 3 people, the recipe calls for 20 small servings. I was coming into the home stretch, and in preparation of beating the egg whites to peaks("Just Whites" powdered product in this recipe), the recipe called for "a quarter teaspoon of salt." I can try to blame the excitement of Christmas Eve, but I put in a teaspoon of salt and went on. The final bowlfull looked picture perfect. I served my specialty eggnog and we all toasted and sipped on it as we watched a Christmas program on TV. Man, it was salty! I tried to add more of this, more of that to the massive amount of egg nog back in the kitchen. Nope. Hopeless. Down the sink. I am so glad that the meaning of Christmas truely is deeper than a traditional recipe that comes out right or is a flop. Florida Hound

            2. I am embarrassed to say I love hot buttered rum, made with, yes, MILK. And sure, I'm using the butter, ice cream, sugar, spices base. So rich. So very bad for me.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Vetter

                I had hot buttered rum last year for the very first time. It was a amazing.

                1. re: Vetter

                  I love hot buttered rum, but I use a "batter" made of butter, brown sugar and spices. Mix a tablespoon with hot water and a shot of dark rum. Delicious.

                  Also, when we were in Italy last year for the holidays, I got hooked on vin brulee (warmed red wine) while staying at the Four Seasons in Florence. They had an urn of it t the main door so you could have a cup of it either coming or going...or both! lol

                  1. re: Vetter

                    We had hot buttered rum yesterday. I love it. Haven't tried it with milk, though. Butter, brown sugar, spices, water and dark rum. Yum.

                  2. Swedish Glogg. Made at home from port wine, brandy and rum, lightly simmered with an orange, cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom seeds, almonds and raisins. Served warm by the fireplace while the snow falls outside

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: FarFar

                      Thank you for bringing back a lovely memory. My dad used to make glogg. For several years there were jars of it in the fridge around the holidays. Then he went back to tom and jerrrys as his holiday drink.

                    2. I try to make eggnog well in advance of Christmas to let it age to the perfect consistency when the first bottle is opened around St. Nicholas Day. I recently tried coquito for the first time and as much as I love eggnog, I may have to try adding a bottle of coquito to our lineup next year.

                      Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, however, wouldn't be the same without a steaming cup of hot chocolate, preferably made from tablets of chocolate whipped furiously and frothed on the stovetop with a batidor or wire whisk.

                      1. Frankly, nothing says "holidays' to me like a Sidecar cocktail--brandy or cognac, Triple Sec or Cointreau, and lemon juice. It just tastes festive to me. Not much of a fan of milk/dairy-based drinks. A glass of Glogg is nice at this time of year, though.

                        1. At our house is the Cuban eggnog-

                          Creme de la Viea

                          1 can evaporated milk
                          1 can condensed milk
                          1 tsp vanilla
                          2 egg yolks
                          1/2 cup rum
                          2 cinnamon sticks

                          IN blender beat 2 milks Add vanilla & egg yolks, beat again. Add rum and mix well. Put ingredients in glass bottle add cinnamon sticks and refrigirate.

                          and the Puerto Rican eggnog - Coquito.

                          2 cans evaporated milk
                          1 can condensed milk
                          1 can coconut milk <like Goya brand>
                          6 egg yolks
                          3/4 up to 1 cup rum

                          In a blender mix the 3 milks well. Meantime beat egg yolks then add a little of the rum. Then add egg yolk mixture and remainder of the rum to the 3 milks. Mix well, pour in a glass bottle and refrigerate.

                          Enjoy !

                          1. Actually, this thread brings to mind Chow's insanely rich chili hot chocolate recipe: http://www.chow.com/recipes/11121-chi...

                            1. Glogg is delicious - http://goscandinavia.about.com/od/res...
                              Hot Buttered Rum is just a little TOO good...
                              Thick hot chocolate with homemade chocolate (or vanilla) marshmallows.

                              1. Lately I've been loving hot Trader Joe's unsweetened almond milk with a BIG splash of amaretto, cinnamon and other spices. I also sometimes add vanilla and/or almond extract.
                                I also sometimes enjoys salep (sahlab)- a middle eastern drink made from the root of an orchid plant. In Turkey they whipped it up in an espresso maker. As I don't have one, I cook it in a pot and whisk it with a single marshmallow- this makes the drink super frothy and thick. (The mix has a slight floral scent with vanilla). I sprinkle it with cinnamon and ground pistachios. I sometimes add a dash of grand marnier.

                                1. We like Stephen's hot chocolate, which we only have at Christmas time because we get it from my sister that lives in Utah. They have some specialty flavors like almond, hazelnut, and raspberry that we particularly like.