Weird and wacky holiday drinks

Christmas drinks

Who remembers a punch bowl from Christmases past, or perhaps a round of rum and eggnog at the office party? Those were traditional holiday season beverages.

There are many exotic cocktails available nowadays, what with mixologists crafting syrups and bitters and combining all kinds of flavours. Holiday parties can involve signature drinks, and they even may be non-alcoholic.

This week I wanted to share a few drams of trivia, just in case you need a conversation starter at a holiday gathering. (Does anyone chat around the watercooler anymore?)

You might find a new recipe to try, or perhaps this will make you never want to dip a ladle into a communal bowl. We shall see.

Fans of Victorian Christmas and all its trimmings will not be surprised to learn that Charles Dickens was a big influence on the popularity of drinks at Christmas, especially punch. Ebenezer Scrooge is transported to a room filled with bowls of warm punch by the ghost of Christmas Present.

Punch was made to be shared, symbolizing unity and conviviality – something that Dickens supported wholeheartedly. In Victorian England, punch bowls were brought out in pubs and taverns, not just used for family gatherings.

If you would like to revive this spirit at your gathering, here is Charles Dickens’ very own recipe. Don’t be shy in adding a bit of drama to the preparation; Dickens would be proud to know you honoured his style.

The most common alternative to punch in modern times is eggnog, a concoction of spirits (usually rum or whiskey) with cream and eggs. But the evolution of this unique beverage did take a while.

In 14th and 15th Century England there was a drink called a posset. It was originally made with wine or ale that was added to boiled milk (thus curdling the milk). It was flavoured with nutmeg and cinnamon. This concoction was not only good for warming someone in from the cold, it was also given as a remedy for colds and flu.

Possets became a popular tradition and many families even had a designated posset bowl or pot. Shakespeare referred to possets in a few of his plays—Lady Macbeth poisoned the palace guards by dosing their possets.

Wealthier families would thicken their possets with cream, or possibly the curds from the milk. Families with a lesser budget would often use eggs instead of some or all of the cream, and so you can see the development of what we now know as eggnog.

Eggnog has more than a few versions, with more than a couple being made by military troops. Apparently, the Army of the Texas Republic made eggnog while imprisoned by a Mexican general in a border raid in 1843.

They commandeered mezcal and donkey’s milk from the prison stores, and whipped up a batch with spices and sugar. Their commanding officer wrote it was “such eggnog as never was seen or drank under the nineteenth degree of northern latitude.”

There is a Canadian variation on eggnog. Has anyone heard of “Moose Milk”? It has had some popularity in our branches of the military. I include a link with recipes belonging to each branch so you can support your favourites but do read the warning first.

Moose Milk

Warning – Within anything from a few minutes to an hour after imbibing on Moose Milk, you will begin to feel the benefits. Initially a mild feeling of euphoria will overtake you as your metabolism increases its efficiency. Within a very short period thereafter, you will note various other benefits including a massive increase in confidence, pride, intelligence, and magnetism to the opposite sex. There are only two possible negative side effects, and they can be avoided by following these warnings:
1. If you feel the urge to paw the ground and run head long into a member of the opposite sex? Resist.
2. Despite the strong cravings you will undoubtedly feel for more moose milk, under no circumstances should you attempt to milk a moose on your own, this job is strictly for the professionals.

Whatever you’re drinking this holiday season, cheers to you and yours. May it be a safe and happy one.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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