The best 7 holiday cocktails from overseas duty stations

By Julie Provost

Traditions are important–especially during the holiday season. If you are stationed overseas during this time of year, take advantage of what your host country has to offer. Holiday cocktails are always a treat, no matter where you are living and they can be fun to try if you are in a new place for the holidays. Let’s take a trip around the world and find out what OCONUS military families are drinking during the holiday season!

Wassail, United Kingdom

The best 7 holiday cocktails from overseas duty stations
Photo: Wikimedia, Angela Huster

You may know this word from the popular song “Here We Come A-wassailing.” Wassail is a hot, mulled cider from the United Kingdom. This drink is usually a mix of sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and toast. Some recipes include egg and there really is a variety in what you can make. Traditionally Wassail is drunk out of a communal bowl and can be served hot or cold.

Glühwein, Germany

Gluhwein stall from Flickr via Wylio
© 2013 Ashwin Chandrasekaran, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

You can’t spend a holiday season in Germany without trying Glühwein, which means, “glow-wine.” This drink starts with red wine and then is heated and flavored with citrus, sugar, and different spices. Glühwein is sometimes made with a shot of rum or another type of liquor and is almost always served hot. Having a glass at a Christmas market is a great tradition while you are stationed in Germany and one you must try to do if you are there during the Christmas season.

Bombardino, Italy

Per il momento il bombardino vince su tutto. #weareskiing #weareskiing2015 #WeAreSocial #lathuile #snow #snowboard #mountains #break #instafood from Flickr via Wylio
© 2015 We Are Social, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Bombardino is from Italy and is popular at ski resorts. This drink is made up of Advocaat or eggnog and brandy. You drink Bombardino hot… make sure to add some whipped cream. Other additions may include coffee, rum, or whisky. The name, Bombardino, comes from the combination of heat and lots of alcohol which makes the drink “like a bomb.”

Sahlep, Turkey

orange tea and sahlep, in Chora from Flickr via Wylio
© 2011 Karen Green, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

Sahlep contains milk, sugar, and cinnamon and rare orchids, which gives the drink its sweet flavor. The Sahlep powder is sold in a ready-to-prepare form. Sahlep is usually only available for a limited time around the holidays. This non-alcoholic drink is served hot and will help you warm up on a cold winter day!

Sujeonggwa, South Korea

The best 7 holiday cocktails from overseas duty stations
Photo: Wikimedia, Bernat

Sujeonggwa is traditional Korean punch made from dried persimmons, cinnamon, ginger and garnished with pine nuts. The process to make the drink takes several hours. It is served cold and as a dessert since Sujeonggwa is so sweet. This drink dates back to 1849 when it was mentioned in the book, Dongguksesigi, a book of customs written by scholar Hong Seok Mo.  The drink is popular on New Year’s Day and Moon Festival periods.

Cola de mono, Chile

Image from page 257 of
© 1887 Internet Archive Book Images, Flickr | PD | via Wylio

While Americans drink eggnog, Chileans drink cola de mono. The drink is made up from milk, coffee, spices and aguardiente, white rum, brandy, or vodka. The name means “monkey’s tail” because after drinking a few of these, you will feel like swinging around like a monkey. This drink is chilled and served cold.

Coquito, Puerto Rico
Christmas Eggnog from Flickr via Wylio© 2010 iris, Flickr | CC-BY-ND  | via Wylio

Heading to Puerto Rico, we find coquito. This is a coconut-based alcoholic beverage usually made with rum, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves. Some people make this drink with ice cream or chocolate. Coquito is usually served at Christmas and New Year’s celebrations and served cold.

There are a lot of great holiday cocktails out there to try. Make your own at home or look for these drinks out on the economy. You might even want to create your own using a mix of drinks from the different places you have lived.

If you’ve been stationed abroad, what was your favorite holiday brew?

Julie is a 30-something-year-old Blogging & WAHM with 3 boys. She and her National Guard husband have been married for 14 years and call Tennessee home for now. You can find her at at Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life, on Facebook, and on Twitter