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Dec 20, 2010 04:57 PM

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: . And see Coquito here: .

        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