Think of some of your favorite drinks to sip during the holiday season, and you’ll probably put eggnog near the top of the list, maybe followed by hot buttered rum, mulled wine or wassail. All of these winter warmers would certainly add to the holiday cheer as you gather in front of a cozy fire or watch your favorite holiday movies.
But if you’re craving a drink that’s a bit brighter and equally festive, you might add the classic snowball to your list of Christmas cocktails to mix up this holiday season.
The snowball originated in the U.K. in the 1940s and was re-popularized in this century by beloved chef Nigella Lawson, according to Make Me a Cocktail. This cocktail blends sparkling lemonade with avocaat and a splash of lime. It’s served chilled.
At first glance, this drink looks more suitable for a lazy day by the pool than the fireside thanks to its addition of sparkling lemonade. What changes this citrus drink into one suitable to sip when stuffing stockings or trimming the tree is the addition of advocaat, a liqueur from the Netherlands that combines alcohol (usually brandy), eggs, sugar and vanilla.
If that sounds familiar, that’s because many eggnog recipes have similar ingredients. Some advocaat blends include honey, evaporated milk or cream. (If you can’t find a bottle of avocaat at the store, you can make it yourself and tweak the recipe to your tastes.)
Though avocaat gets its creaminess from egg yolks, the Dutch may have created it to mimic a drink the early explorers discovered while traveling in the Caribbean that used avocados, according to Culinary Lore.
The classic snowball recipe has three basic ingredients, according to BBC Good Food’s recipe: sparkling lemonade, advocaat and lime juice. It takes less than five minutes to whip up and serve topped with a cherry for some colorful flair.
Why is this drink called a snowball? When you mix all the ingredients together, they create a puff of white foam that floats on the top of the drink, according to Good Housekeeping.
Ready to pour one? Any glass will show off that foamy topping. This tweet from @KankiRestaurant shows how some restaurants and bars serve these up in big brandy snifters, but other cocktail glasses will work, too:
There's snow place like #Kanki during the holidays. ❄🍒 Get in the Christmas spirit with a Snowball cocktail. Our collaboration with @WRALOutandAbout celebrates @CarolinaBallet's virtual performance of #TheNutcracker, airing on @WRAL on Christmas Day! 🥰
📸: @susfoodnews pic.twitter.com/yA16GgiE5H
— Kanki Restaurant (@KankiRestaurant) December 14, 2020
Since they’re relatively easy to make at home, a lot of people create their own twists, like this vegan snowball @veganxmasUKNE posted:
2. Vegan Snowball
Advocaat is sadly not vegan, but you can still enjoy this traditional Christmas drink with this Kitchen of Lion recipe! It makes 2 cocktails. Read the full recipe here -> https://t.co/kqQK0P7eAM pic.twitter.com/oNC0itfym5
— Vegan Xmas UK North East (@veganxmasUKNE) December 15, 2020