Top 5 Holiday Classics

Traditional recipes for eggnog and beyond


The word "classic" tends to get especially abused this time of year. Everything longs to be a holiday season tradition; in the past few weeks, I've seen "classic" applied to three sweaters, at least one department store sales event, two Christmas movies released barely 18 months ago, and a certain style of collapsible mini-umbrella. Admittedly, I'm not well-versed in the history of umbrellas, but I'm officially taking up the stance that no collapsible mini-umbrella, regardless of how long-standing or useful, will ever be a classic Christmas anything.

To restore a little bit of balance to a heavy-hitting concept, we hereby present five truly iconic holiday drinks. No offense to red-and-white themed newcomers, this list is strictly for major leaguers.
Homemade Eggnog

4 cups milk
5 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups light rum
4 cups light cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes, then gently bring milk mixture to a simmer. In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy, then whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into saucepan. Keep over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick (about 2 minutes). Do not allow mixture to boil. Remove cloves and let mixture cool. Stir in rum, cream, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate until cold before serving.

Tom & Jerry

The batter made in this recipe will work for 24 of your closest friends.

12 eggs
1 gallon milk
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 bottle brandy
1 bottle dark rum
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground allspice
1 pinch ground cloves

Separate the eggs into two bowls. Beat the whites until stiff and frothy. Combine the sugar and the yolks then add the brandy -- 4 oz at a time, until the yolks are light and thin (add the pinches of spices along the way). Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture and refrigerate.

Heat the milk in a large pot, but be careful not to boil. In each serving mug (you can fill about 2 dozen), put one teaspoon of the egg mixture, then stir in 1 oz brandy, 1 oz rum, and top with hot milk. Stir until foamy.

Wassail Punch

6 cups apple cider
1 cup orange juice
4 cinnamon sticks (extras for garnish)
6-8 whole star anise
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tsp bitters
Pinch of allspice
2 oz Lemon juice
1 cup Bourbon

In a large pot, combine all ingredients and heat to a simmer. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for a few hours (you can transfer to a crock pot, if you prefer). Serve hot; spike with bourbon/whiskey, if desired. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and star anise.

Mulled Wine

2 bottles dry red wine
4 oz Port or brandy
12 whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks (more for garnish)
zest and juice of one large orange
6 whole black peppercorns
Ground nutmeg

Combine all of the above in a large pot and bring to a simmer, do not allow a full boil. Heat for 30 minutes and transfer to a punch bowl, straining. The strained liquid can also be reserved in a crockpot.

Spiked Hot Chocolate

5 oz Hot cocoa
1 oz Dark rum
1/2 Tsp superfine sugar (adjust to taste)

Pour hot cocoa into a mug and add rum and sugar to taste, stir and top with whipped cream as desired.

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: Ccolours
    441829 1

    NEAT... thank you for the excellent post!!!

    Dec 04, 2010 at 11:58 PM

  • I'm going to make ALL of the above for the Christmas party!

    Dec 05, 2010 at 9:54 AM

  • Snooth User: wbphilly
    482073 5

    Has anyone tried the egg nog recipe yet? Any idea how many people it would serve?

    Dec 09, 2010 at 8:46 AM

Add a Comment

Search Articles

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Snooth Media Network