Around the world people are ringing in the New Year, many celebrating by clinking glasses filled with champagne. Some will even open their bottle filled with bubbles using a sword.
Champagne, or sparkling wine, is the staple drink around the US for those in shimmering dresses and tuxedos, but there are other interesting traditions worth noting in case you’d like an alternative beverage to help usher in 2013.
Our colleague over at BBC Travel, Suemedha Sood, compiled a fascinating list of “liquid traditions” around the world that offers a few surprises.
Sood writes that you might find mulled wine at a party in South America (also in Western Europe and Scandinavia). In Chile, where the drink is called “navegado,” it’s made by first “caramelizing sugar in the bottom of a pot, adding a box of cheap red wine … and then simmering it with some cinnamon sticks, cloves and orange slices.”
There is another delicious-looking concoction Sood highlights in Turkey called sahlep. The “sweet, soothing drink [is] made from the powdered roots of wild mountain orchids. … The sahlep powder is simmered with milk and sugar and then dusted with cinnamon for serving.” It’s usually served in traditional copper urns.
In Mexico, The World’s Monica Campbell writes, that the margarita usually comes to mind as the celebration cóctel, but there’s another favorite: The Paloma (“dove” or “pigeon” in Spanish). The drink has a “serious tequila kick, but with a fizzy twist (and less expensive ingredients). To make it, take a Collins glass (or a tall glass), tequila (Herradura’s reposado is a good mid-shelf pick), fresh lime juice, salt, ice and then fill the rest of the glass with grapefruit soda. In Mexico, the go-to brand here is Squirt soda. But Fresca, Mexico’s Jarritos Toronja (grapefruit) or a lemon-lime soda also work.”
In Japan, people drink amazake on New Year’s, according to The World’s Sonia Narang, who writes that it’s also a common winter drink.
Amazake is a “sweet, thick drink made from fermented rice, and it’s usually served warm at Shinto shrines in Japan around New Year’s. Though the word “amazake” literally means “sweet sake,” it’s not actually sake. The drink is made by fermenting a mixture of steamed rice and rice koji (the Japanese term for cultured grain). Alternatively, it can be made with the leftover yeast from sake production. When these sake yeast deposits are mixed with water and sugar, it turns into a sweet, low-alcohol amazake.
I’ve had warm amazake at outdoor winter festivals in Japan, including at one particularly chilly ice festival in the mountains of central Japan. It tastes like fermented porridge, and it can quickly warm up people visiting Shinto shrines on a cold New Year’s Eve night.”
What do you drink to ring in the New Year? Let us know by recording right from your computer microphone, or let us know in the comments below.