Fancy some eggnog? How about some posset? A soupcon of syllabub? Or maybe a wee spot of biersuppe?
They're all variations on the eggs-sugar-milk-booze creation that seems to have as many incarnations as jolly old Santa Claus/Kris Kringle/Joulupukki himself.
Take coquito, a Puerto Rican tradition that combines eggs, cream of coconut, rum and spices for ultra-rich seasonal sipping.
Daisy Martinez remembers grating coconut with her sister for her mother's special version of this drink. These days, there's canned cream of coconut to be had in abundance. "It's just as good and really time- and labor-friendly," says Martinez, who hosts Viva Daisy on the Cooking Channel and has written several cookbooks, including the recent Daisy's Holiday Cooking.
Then again, you could try a "Yard of Flannel," a recipe from colonial times included in Holly Arnold Kinney's cookbook, Shinin' Times at the Fort, a collection of recipes from the family's landmark restaurant near Denver.
Flannel relies on beer, not liquor, for its punch and, in fact, that's how the drink was initially made, says Kinney, noting that "nog" is an old English word for strong beer (noggin, meanwhile, was a small wooden cup used in taverns).
Kinney's recipe calls for blending hot ale with other ingredients gently (so the eggs don't curdle) resulting in a mixture that is silky, or as "soft as flannel." Coachmen would drive up to a tavern and call for a "yard of flannel," the drink served in a long, skinny glass. Handed up to the coachman as he sat on his tall seat, it was a drink that would refresh and "warm the cockles of his heart," Kinney says.
Over time, bourbon or rum, which were cheap and available, replaced beer. Kinney's Southern-born mother used to make syllabub, a variation that uses wine.
But she likes the idea of drinking something that harkens back to colonial days. "It's delicious," she says.
However you like your eggnog, it's likely you've already picked up a carton or two. Dairies across the country have been producing eggnog since early November.
"Over the years, it's moved up," says Neal Glaeser, president of Denali Ingredients in New Berlin, Wis., which makes eggnog base for dairies. "It's really become a winter drink, not necessarily a holiday drink."
Even with the mass-produced eggnogs, tastes vary by region, with dairies on the East Coast looking for spicier blends while those in the Midwest seem bigger on rum flavoring.
Television cooking show host and author Paula Deen, a native of Albany, Ga., has her own family recipe, Mama's Eggnog, which combines bourbon, cream and other delicious things.
"In the Hiers family household, we didn't celebrate a Christmas without Mama's Eggnog!" Deen says. "The added bourbon is the perfect touch to this holiday beverage to really make you feel warm and cozy!"
Of course, with something as varied as eggnog, the best version may well be yours.
Just ask Martinez how good coquito really is.
"Once you taste coquito," she answers with a laugh, "you'll be like, 'Eggnog who?' "