5 International Drinks To Get You Through This Holiday Season

In case you missed the ubiquitous Mariah Carey Christmas music playing, hoards of mall traffic, and vaguely jolly muzak in your favorite elevator, the holiday season is upon us. For some, this means beaming smiles while hanging stockings by the chimney with care. For others, tis the season to buy gift cards from the grocery store — because everyone uses iTunes, right?

Please quiet the survival instinct that has you trying to rig the white elephant so you can drink the bottle of wine you brought. We have a better option. For those dancing through this season quixotically or others hanging on by a thread of tinsel, we’ve rounded up five international drinks from around the world to help you up your holiday game. That’s right, put down the cherry cordials, these drinks pack the punch you’re looking for.


Coquito from Havana Social In Hell's Kitchen, New York

Puerto Rico,
You lovely island . . .
Island of tropical cocktails.
Always the coconuts growing,
Always the coquito is flowing . . .

This Puerto Rican cocktail means little coconut but its flavor is anything but diminutive. Think: Carribean Eggnog. Throw some rum, coconut milk, condensed milk, vanilla, and spices in a blender; strain, and pour into glasses with a shot of family tradition. Of course, like all great recipes, everyone makes it a little differently — it really depends from abuela to abuela.

If you find yourself imprisoned by tourists in Times Square this holiday season, head over to Hell’s Kitchen and check out Havana Social for this amazing drink. Yelper Evian D. says:

Preparing [coquito] it is quite a process and if you go overboard with any of the ingredients, it just won’t be as good. [Havana Social] has made this drink into the [most] perfect dessert/sipping coconut drink you will ever try!

If you’re not in NYC, search on Yelp for a restaurant near you that serves this delicious Puerto Rican specialty. Or you can betray Yelp, like Tony betrayed the Jets, and try making it yourself.


Glühwein served at Munchen Haus in Leavenworth, WA

Strap on your lederhosen for a helping of German Glühwein. This drink is basically red wine packed full of holiday cheer. Just heat some red wine with spices like cinnamon, cloves, and star aniseed; add some sugar; finish it with some citrus or vanilla if the feeling grabs you.

Now, let’s say you’re trapped at ____________  (location of your family tradition) and your ______________ (adjective) ______________ (type of relative) won’t stop asking you about ______________ (something triggering). That sounds horrible. We agree — you need something a little stronger. Well, guess what? You can enjoy your Glühwein mit Schuss aka with a shot. So fortify that bad boy and don’t be embarrassed about your dreams of opening up a ferret cafe. Seriously, we’d go there.

If you find yourself in Leavenworth, WA and you’re looking for a good spot to live your best Apres Ski fantasy, head to Munchen Haus for the Glühwein. Amy L. knows what’s up:

If you’re a wine snob, stay away but if you want sweet hot red wine with Christmas spices along with a bratwurst, you must go here.

Of course, you could just lodge bunny it and try making it at home. Or just look on Yelp for Glühwein or mulled wine in your area.


Wassail served at City Tavern in Philadelphia, PA

Wassail is a drink best decided on by putting it to a referendum. Before starting the vote, you Theresa May want to ask your guests if they have a taste for an English drink with medieval trappings. On its face, wassail is hot mulled cider strengthened with the resolve of spices and brandy. It may not leave you as gobsmacked as some of the other drinks on this list but it is a drink that even Mary Berry would call scrumptious.

The word actually comes from a Medieval English drinking ritual intended to ensure a good cider apple harvest. Wassailing was the act of going door-to-door singing and offering a drink from the wassailing bowl in exchange for gifts. While some would equate it to modern-day caroling, it’s really a lot more like screaming the lyrics to Wannabe while drinking jungle juice at a frat party.

If you’re in the 12th colony, more specifically, Philadelphia, and you want some wassail head to City Tavern. Evann G. loves this historic spot:

That’s right, I’m sorry, but I find it super cool that you can walk into a historical tavern and order actual wassail.

For those outside of Philly, just do a quick search and see if something comes up. If it doesn’t, we recommend leaving the European Union your town and moving somewhere with this delightful drink. Or, just make it at home. Pound for pound, it’s a delicious drink.


Glögg served at The Viking Yurt in Park City, UT

If you’re wondering what the Skarsgard brothers drink during the holidays, this it IT: Glögg. This Scandinavian drink is the color of True Blood since it’s made with red wine, sugar, and spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. If your family has stretched you thinner than these puns and you’re out of Good Will, Hunting for something a little stronger, you can always add a shot of vodka, akvavit, or brandy.

For those of you popping into Park City, UT to check on your chalet, brave the elements and head over to The Viking Yurt for some real-deal glögg served in true Viking style. Brooke M. war-cried:

We were also greeted with a mug (straight out of Viking town…like, pounded metal goblets) of Glogg…a syrupy, fruity, spicy glass of goodness

Pillage Yelp for some local glögg or try making it in your own backyard yurt. Either way, be careful. No rose is without its THORns — too much glögg could leave you in a fög.

Sorrel Punch

Sorrel Punch from Pam’s Kitchen in Seattle, WA

Savor the rum!

Taste the lime!

Glasses up, it’s sorrel punch time!

Do the winter months make you want to Usain Bolt down to the tropics? Just because your body is trapped in a winter wonderland that doesn’t mean your taste buds have to be. Close your eyes, take a sip of Sorrel Punch, a Jamaican holiday drink, and imagine all that powder on the ground is white and not white snow. Now, if you’ve ever been part of a food co-op, you might hear sorrel and think of the leafy green. Seriously, that’s impressive. We just thought of those impossibly cute and practical winter boots. It turns out hibiscus in Jamaica is locally known as sorrel. So take some sorrel and mix it with sugar, ginger, lime juice, and rum and you have a delightful punch.

After one sip, you’ll be feeling more Bob Marley than Jacob Marley. Just ask Ashley S. after having the sorrel punch at Pam’s Kitchen in Seattle, WA:

That sorrel juice is soooooo delicious. I was slurping it down while trying to be as decent as possible.

So head to Yelp faster than a Jamaican bobsled team and look for Sorrel Punch in your area. If you can’t find it, it’s simple enough to make at home.


Whether you’re the type of person who refers to Christmas Eve with your family as The Nightmare Before Christmas, or you upgraded to unlimited data so you can use your Santa-tracking app, there’s a drink for everyone on this list. Just remember to use Yelp to take your buzz on a trip around the world.