Food & Wine

Chefs Share Their Festive Holiday Beverages

21 December 2021 By Laura Shaughnessy
Cranberry Cocktail with Ice
Cranberry Cocktail with Ice

Laura Shaughnessy is the former managing editor at Dockwalk. 

Who can argue with the power of a great peppermint frappuccino, eggnog, or hot toddy? Or, perhaps you want to try something new. Read on for some fresh holiday inspiration to wow your guests, or just to enjoy some peace and quiet with a great drink in hand.

Chef Charly Valdez

“I became a chef on the yacht by accident. This happened when I was executive chef on a luxury cruise company in South America and was traveling near an iceberg in Antarctica,” Chef Charly Valdez says. “That’s when I was offered a place on a yacht in the Mediterranean on my return home.”

His favorite dish is “stuffed turkey and foie gras because they are synonymous with parties and sharing,” he says. 

“This period is particularly pleasant for me because I cook for families and people I love.” However, he also has an affinity for a delicious holiday beverage. “The mulled wine is hard to miss and will certainly delight all [your] guests,” says Valdez.

Hot Wine

Courtesy of Charly Valdez

>3 cinnamon sticks
>250 grams brown sugar
>Several slices and peels of orange, clementine, or even lemon (for a little acid aftertaste)
>A dozen cloves
>2 star badiane (be careful if you don’t love anis, because the taste is really very pronounced)
>A small piece of minced ginger

Bring to a boil slowly, before simmering for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring regularly.

To get rid of pieces left in the bottom of the pan, simply use a colander before pouring the mulled wine in your favorite glass, which can be decorated with a small slice of orange or another cinnamon stick.

Chef Carlos Concha

“While studying architecture at university in Colombia many years ago, I began working for a very well-known Colombian chef. He encouraged me to move to Canada and pursue my passion for cooking. He suggested Vancouver, as it is well known for its diversity in cuisine and amazing seasonal produce. I attended culinary school and shortly after began working as a chef for an award-winning restaurant,” Chef Carlos Concha says.

When it comes to Christmas, Concha’s favorite holiday dish is “Stuffing in every version. I have a vegetarian one that I make with corn bread, day-old Italian crust, fresh vegetables, nuts, pears, and truffles. Its flavor profile is fantastic and the textures of all the nuts and roasted root vegetables is unique. To the same extent, I make one for meat lovers with homemade Italian sausage meat, rabbit, apples, hazelnuts, organic dehydrated apricots, and fresh sage. This is all cooked in a double boiler, so it’s nice and mostly like a soufflé technique.”

Despite his fondness for stuffing, he also understands the power of a great drink to welcome in the holidays. The seasoned superyacht chef shares his recipe, Mezcal Spiced Coffee, which is an adaptation of a drink he had while traveling in Tulum Mexico. “The weather was torrential for a few days, then we had the most amazing two weeks of sun. It’s a destination that must be explored,” says Concha.

Check out Chef Carlos Concha website at

Mezcal Spiced Coffee

Courtesy of Carlos Concha

Mezcal Spiced Coffee:
>1 oz cold-brew coffee
>1/2 oz Mezcal
>1/2 oz Campari
>1/2 tsp Autumn Bog Cranberry Bitters
>Dehydrated mango spiced with Oaxacan salt
>Dash of maple syrup

>French cucumber
>Tajin spice

I always stock an Excalibur® Dehydrator. The mango is dehydrated overnight at 70°C. The mango goes on the side and you bite into it as you sip.

Put Tajin spice on the rim of a short glass. In a mixing glass pitcher, combine ice, cold brew coffee, Campari, maple syrup, and a dash of lemon. In the rimmed glass, put ice sphere, sliced cucumber, and lime-berries. Gently pour three drops of bitters on the ice and pour the rest of the cold mixture. You can also pre-make the mix and infuse all ingredients in a crucial detail porthole.

For even more holiday drink inspiration, check out these ideas and drinks, shared by stews on Instagram:


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