This Dutch-Caribbean island is the definition of a melting pot, being that it’s an amalgamation of more than 55 different cultures. No Christmas dinner in Curaçao is complete without this local riff on eggnog. Inspired by Venezuelan ponche crema (which also has popular sequels in island countries like Aruba, Haiti, Trinidad and the Antilles), this version combines sweet flan mix, decadent sweetened condensed milk, instant pistachio pudding mix and rum, along with pantry staples like vanilla and milk. All it takes is boiling the milk and flan mix on the stove for a few minutes, then blending the mixture with the other ingredients until smooth. Once it’s chilled, it’s ready to serve over ice.
6. Sabajón, Colombia
Nearly every Colombian shindig practically requires a heavy flow of aguardiente, which loosely translates to “burning water” and is colloquially known as “firewater.” While the term technically encompasses any alcoholic beverages that have an ABV of 29 to 60 percent, in Colombia, it refers specifically to an anise-flavored liqueur made from sugarcane. It’s typically nursed alongside a beer all year long, but it’s also the essential ingredient in sabajón during the holidays (though you can substitute your preferred rum, if you’d prefer). Sabajón, which is similar to Ecuador’s ponche de leche (it’s made with aguardiente too, though Ecuador’s aguardiente is usually unflavored, then steeped with orange peel and served hot), is typically made with milk, egg yolks, vanilla, sugar and corn starch for thickening. Some recipes also include sweetened condensed milk and vanilla pudding mix, as well as nutmeg and cinnamon. Not only is it sipped during Christmas celebrations, but it’s also popular during the Novena of Aguinaldos, a nine-day religious ceremony leading up to Christmas Eve that involves praying, singing and eating with loved ones.