When it comes to the holiday spirits, I’m not talking about the Ghost of Christmas Past, or that chain-rattling spectre of Jacob Marley. No, I speak of something even more frightening: Holiday Hooch!
As the song goes, “Baby, it’s cold outside.” One sure way to stay warm is with a little nightcap. It’s no surprise that many drinks this time of year are heated up. Hot buttered rum, egg nog, mulled wine, just to name a few. Hot apple cider and hot cocoa shouldn’t be missed either.
So in keeping with the intoxicating tradition, I am sharing three of my favorite drinks that will make the season, and your nose, bright. Just stay safe, my fellow Horror Addicts. We want to see you have a prosperous new year.
This drink is one of my own devising. Instead of mundane eggnog, I leave this as a treat for Krampus. When he visits my very naughty children, this tends to please him and he has yet to torture my kiddos. Clearly they have been very naughty if Santa is not only forgoing the coal, but sending Krampus to punish them. I like to think this drink encourages his mercy. They are just children after all, and I believe that children are our future. Oh, sorry. Almost broke into song there. My apologies.
About one quart
Roughly 5 to 6 drinks
1/4 cup (2 oz) Sanguinaccio Dolce sauce (or melted dark chocolate)
2 cups (1 pint) half & half
1/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 oz brandy or bourbon
3 oz black spiced rum or coffee liqueur
dashes of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cocoa powder
- double boiler, or a large pot with a large bowl that sits snug on top
- medium saucepan
- First, either prepare a small batch of Sanguinaccio Dolce sauce, or melt some dark chocolate in a double boiler, and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat up the half & half and sugar, over high heat. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
- In a blender, add the eggs and sanguinaccio dolce (or melted chocolate). Blend on low speed for about one minute.
- With blender still running, slowly add the warmed half & half and blend for about 30 more seconds.
- Add the alcohol and blend until the everything is frothy, about 2 minutes.
- Some people like warm nog. If so, serve immediately. If you and your guests prefer chilled nog, put your blender carafe into the fridge and chill for at least an hour. When ready to serve, put the blender carafe back on the motor and blend for about 30 seconds to combine everything together again and restore the froth.
- Pour into glasses and serve with dashes of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cocoa powder.
This recipe makes just about one quart, a perfect amount for the average blender. If you want to make a party punch bowl version of this, then multiply by however many quarts your punch bowl can safely hold. Just remember that this is an egg-based drink. It is not a good idea to let this just sit around at room temperature.
I used to make this with Kahlúa, as the coffee and chocolate flavors go together so perfectly. Then I discovered Tia Maria, and ditched Kahlúa like a bad habit. I personally find it to be smoother and less sweet.
However, my beloved wife hates coffee. In an attempt to alter this exalted recipe, I have found that black spiced rum adds a deeper spice to the drink as well as a darker hue to the beverage that is in keeping with a drink fit for Krampus. Of course, for a twist on the horror angle, you could try REDRUM. If you try that, let me know how it tastes.
Finally, let’s address the demon in the room. Yes, sanguinaccio dolce is my traditional chocolate sauce for this drink, and yes, it contains pig’s blood. Of course you can melt chocolate or even use chocolate syrup, in a pinch. I do understand if drinking a small amount of pig’s blood turns you off… in a drink made with chicken eggs. And booze. I have had more compliments on this drink when made with sanguinaccio vs. mundane chocolate. In the end, I leave it up to you.
This is delicious any time of year, but I inevitably get asked to make it during Yule and Christmas Eve parties. I hope it becomes a tradition at your home as well. For us it has been Dad tested, Krampus approved.
This twist on the traditional mimosa is named after Bela Lugosi and features the juice of blood oranges. It has become a favorite for a toast on New Year’s Eve, as well as for brunch on New Year’s Day.
2 oz champagne
3 oz blood orange juice
dash of grenadine (optional)
1 slice blood orange
- In a champagne flute, pour blood orange juice and champagne. Add grenadine to provide extra color.
- Garnish with a slice of blood orange.
It can be hard to find blood oranges year round, but they are in season during the winter. That makes a New Year’s toast with this drink the perfect time to enjoy it.
“I never drink… wine,” said the Count. I’m sure he would have added, “vithout bubbles.” No? How about this… “Bela Mimosa’s dead. Undead, straight to my head.” Admit it. You’re singing that right now. My work here is done.
Twelfth Night Lambswool (Hot Wassail)
In the Christian tradition, the Feast of the Epiphany is held on January 6, celebrating the birth of Jesus and the visit by the three wise men. The night before Epiphany is known as Twelfth Night, as it is the twelfth night of Christmastide, following Christmas.
For those that might follow an older path and celebrate Yule instead, Twelfth Night follows as well as the end of the Yuletide celebrations. However as Yule begins on December 20th, this means Yuletide Twelfth Night is December 31st, the end of the year.
In both traditions, there is a toast to good health and good harvest, called a wassail (from the Old English wæs hæl, which means “be you healthy”) which was raised with a drink of the same name.
Hot wassail is a cousin of mulled wines and ciders, but is instead usually made with mead or ale. Lambswool is but one ancient version of the drink which keeps the apple pulp in the drink.
750ml (or two 12 oz bottles) honey mead
12 oz hard apple cider
12 oz ginger beer (or ginger ale)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups no-sugar-added applesauce
- large saucepan
- In a large saucepan, combine the mead, cider, and ginger beer. Add the sugar, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and cloves. Cook over medium-high heat to dissolve the sugar and meld the flavors together.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves, then add the applesauce. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pour mixture into blender and puree together until the apples form a frothy head.
- Serve warm immediately.
Yes, the traditional recipe requires coring and baking six apples (at 250°F for about an hour) then pureeing them. Normally I’m all about the traditional methods and freshest ingredients. However, we’re talking about making applesauce, which you can so easily purchase. For once, I say use the store-bought jar of applesauce. Just get the kind with no sugar added and no funny extra ingredients.
I love a good mulled wine, but I think a hot lambswool wassail may be the best thing to kill the chill of Twelfth Night.