Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Toasts

During the winter holidays, we Americans celebrate with the cha-chink of champagne glasses and other toddies that warm both tummies and hearts.  What do people in other places sip on this time of year?

    Acacia Tree
  • The Maasai people of Kenya, Africa, love to celebrate all occasions in a big way, so they adopted Christmas into their culture as yet another wonderful celebration.  Bees love the blooming acacia trees and produce the most flavorful of all the honeys in the world.  The Maasai then use this honey to produce Honey Beer--the common holiday beverage at their celebrations.

    Sorrel Drink
  • The favorite Christmas and New Year's favorite beverage in the islands of the Caribbean is the Sorrel Drink.  The sorrel flower is a member of the hibiscus family, and the tart little red petals of the plant are boiled to flavor their jams, chutneys, wines, teas, and, of course, the Sorrel Drink itself.
  • Hawaiians enjoy the Angels Delight Christmas Drink.  The recipe:  Put 1/4 cup whipping cream, 7 scoops ice cream, 1/2 cups chopped pecan nuts, 1/4 cup chocolate syrup, and one banana in a blender.  Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nuts.
  • A popular Christmas-time drink throughout Finland is the deep ruby red mulled wine called Glogg, or Glogi in Finnish.  Glogg is made by heating up sweetened red wine with spices like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, orange peel, lemon peel, ginger, etc.  Glogg is traditionally served from tea glasses, mixed with blanched almonds and raisins.
  • A shot of ice-cold vodka is part of the Nordic culinary tradition.  A shot of liquor at Christmas was believed to give blessing to the crop, and even the non-drinkers, children and domestic animals took part in this ceremony.
  • For an Italian-style Christmas Eve, plan on pouring an Italian cocktail called Sgroppino.  This icy concoction is made with vodka, Prosecco, and lemon sorbet. 
So, no matter where we are, let's all share a cyber sip together as we say ta-ta to another calendar year!