These days, there are all types of beverages -- usually garnished with candy canes and tinsel -- that are passed off as holiday drinks. But in our book, there is only one thing you should be imbibing this time of year: punch.
We're not alone: A surprising number of countries have their own signature Christmas punches. Though they range widely in ingredients and flavors, these concoctions share a convivial spirit and, most importantly, satisfy a crowd.
For example, in Scandinavia, where winters are long, dark and bitterly cold, the hardy inhabitants of the region thaw out with bowls of boozy Glögg. Our recipe for the hot, spiced elixir of wine, fruit and often vodka comes from chef Marcus Jernmark of New York's acclaimed restaurant Aquavit, which also includes port.
But not all holiday cocktails are served warm. In Puerto Rico, chilled glasses of Coquito are ubiquitous at celebrations. The seasonal tipple is a rich mix of coconut cream and rum that's simultaneously Christmas-y and tropical.
Here in America, there is an array of Yuletide drinking traditions, from Eggnog to Mulled Wine. We think that the Tom & Jerry deserves to be known better. Invented in England in the 1820s (it predates the cartoon cat and mouse by more than a century), the combination of eggs, sugar and milk with both cognac and rum is popular in Wisconsin and Minnesota but nearly unheard-of outside the Upper Midwest.
Another one to consider making is the tequila-based Ponche Navideño (pictured above) from Mexico. It's a tart and spicy concoction of stewed fruit, tamarind and walnuts. Our authentic recipe, from bartender Will Duncan of the aptly named Punch House in Chicago, calls for guava and tejocote, a native Mexican fruit also known as manzanita or Mexican hawthorn.
The best part? Christmas is 19 days away, which means there's more than enough time to fix all four of these delicious punches. Cheers!