In the United States, many of us wash down our Christmas fare with eggnog, a decadent drink made from cream, sugar, whipped egg whites and egg yolks. Here, it’s been part of the holiday zeitgeist since the 1700s (despite its many haters), but many other countries have their own take on the creamy milk punch, each with a twist that’s a nod to its national heritage. Read on for 11 types of eggnog from all over the world to sip this holiday season.
11 Types of Eggnog from Around the World, from Coquito to Advocaat
1. Coquito, Puerto Rico
You’ve no doubt heard of this Latin take on eggnog, as it’s become increasingly popular stateside in recent years. The keys to its splendor are coconut milk and coconut cream, which offer the drink a tropical flavor profile that’s not to be missed. Additional ingredients include evaporated milk, condensed milk, vanilla and rum (preferably Ron del Barrilito). Coquito is simmered with ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks, so each drop is infused with warm winter spice. Serve it in shot or rocks glasses with a dusting of nutmeg.
2. Ron Ponche, Panama
Have you ever heard of seco? Also called seco herrerano, Panama’s national spirit is an 80-proof rum-like liquor distilled from sugarcane—and it’s the star in this custard-like spin on eggnog. Ron ponche, the boozy bev that’s essential on Christmas and New Year’s Eve is somewhat a labor of love, considering the key is to stir it nonstop for about 30 minutes to keep it from sticking to the pot. It’s typically made with fresh eggs, evaporated milk, cornstarch, cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg. Some recipes also call for sweetened condensed milk. Some use Panama’s national rum instead of seco: “With the key ingredient being Ron Abuelo…this drink always evoked memories of great times celebrated with friends and family,” says Chef Dani Osorio, executive chef at The Santa Maria, a Luxury Collection Hotel & Golf Resort in Panama City. Either way, once the ron ponche is served, it’s meant to be sipped slowly over time rather than chugged, like Bailey’s and other digestifs.
3. Rompope, Mexico
Legend has it that this rum-spiked sipper was invented by Puebla nuns at a convent in Santa Clara, an evolution of Spain’s ponche de huevo (meaning egg punch). The highlights are its cinnamon-forward flavor and thick, luscious texture, courtesy of many, many egg yolks. Some versions call for white rum, some amber, some both and others, aguardiente, a rum-like spirit made from sugarcane. The non-alcoholic ingredients are milk, vanilla and the like, but some riffs call for ground almonds as well. Serve it hot or cold.
4. Auld Man’s Milk, Scotland
In Scotland, Christmas is more like a pregame for New Year’s, a celebration called Hogmanay that’s arguably the biggest of the year. (Scots didn’t celebrate Christmas at all for about four centuries after the Scottish Reformation in the late 1500s.) This bev, named for the tune “Auld Lang Syne” that’s played every New Year’s Eve, is sipped during the two-day festival rather than on Christmas. It’s made with eggs, sugar, milk and a dash of nutmeg; a variety of liquors can be used, but Scotch is the most common. (You can substitute rum, whiskey or brandy if you prefer.)
5. Pistachio Ponche Krema, Curaçao
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.
7. Advocaat, The Netherlands
This sipper is not for the weak of heart: In fact, some variations of this Dutch spirit are so strong that they’re eaten with a spoon. Holland’s advocaat is a liqueur made with brandy or cognac, sugar, vanilla and egg yolks (that’s right—no dairy). You can buy ready-to-drink versions of the bev overseas, and oftentimes it’s topped with whipped cream and cocoa to serve. If you go to Poland, you’ll find their twist on advocaat that’s made with their own signature vodka, which is distilled especially for the drink.
8. Jamaican Eggnog, Jamaica
Due to all the local rums on the island, it’s no shock that it’s the go-to spirit for Jamaica’s take on eggnog. Made with cream, egg yolks, sugar and cinnamon, this drink is usually prepared with local silver rum and Tia Maria, a coffee-flavored liqueur. (It’s sort of like Kahlúa, but sweeter, with stronger coffee and vanilla notes.) Myer’s Rum, an aged spirit made from Jamaican molasses, is also a popular alternative to white rum. Jamaican eggnog is second in popularity to the country’s favorite holiday bev, a sorrel (aka hibiscus) juice drink mixed with ginger and wine.
9. Eierlikör, Germany
Eierlikör, an egg-based liqueur that’s mainly enjoyed at Easter and during Advent, is very similar to advocaat, since it’s made with egg yolks, sugar and booze (milk is also sometimes included). And that’s no surprise: It’s believed that advocaat liqueur was invented on the Dutch-German border in the 1800s by a distiller who was trying to remake an avocado-based drink that was popular among Dutch transplants in Brazil at the time. Since avocados were tough to come by in Europe then, eggs took over as a thickening agent. Eierlikör is not to be confused with eierpunsch, a beverage made with egg yolks, sugar, brandy, white wine, citrus juice, spices and sometimes cream.
10. Æggekop, Denmark
Milk, whipping cream, egg whites, rum and brandy unite to create this creamy concoction. The egg whites are beaten until stiff, then folded into the drink. Other recipes call for beating egg yolks and sugar together, adding the alcohol and milk and finally whipping the cream and folding it in, along with the whipped egg whites. This Danish drink is served chilled and tastes divine with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top.
11. Bombardino, Italy
This intense cocktail has existed since the 1970s, when it was invented on the ski slopes of Northwest Italy. It’s made with only two ingredients: Dutch advocaat liqueur and brandy or whiskey. When advocaat is out of reach, recipes substitute marsala-infused egg spirits, like VOV or Zabov Zabaglione. Served hot with a crown of whipped cream, the bombardino is often sipped as a reward after a long day of skiing at various resorts along the Italian Alps (but it’s also just the post-holiday nightcap you’re looking for after a long day of hosting). Feel free to add a shot of fresh espresso to it if you need a boost.