Thanksgiving day came and went, and Christmas and New Year’s are right around the corner. This is the time of year when everyone starts brainstorming Christmas party ideas and Christmas gift ideas and dreaming of their favorite recipes for Thanksgiving. But while the holidays are a wonderful time for enjoying long-held traditions and favorite foods, it’s also the perfect opportunity to try new things.
Here at KPacho, we love Latin cuisine and all the fun culinary traditions Latin culture has to offer around the holidays. That’s why today, we’re sharing ten of our favorite Latin foods and drinks to help you add a fun twist to this year’s ideas for Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or any kind of family celebration.
1. Pisco Sour
The pisco sour is a classic South American cocktail originating from Peru and Chile. This iconic drink seamlessly blends the robust character of pisco (a grape brandy) with the zestiness of fresh lime juice, the sweetness of simple syrup, and the velvety texture of egg white. Accentuated with a few dashes of bitters, the pisco sour has become a symbol of sophistication in Latin American mixology. Its frothy texture and tantalizing combination of flavors make it a staple at festive events of many kinds.
Tamales are a dish that’s deeply rooted in Mesoamerican culture. These delicious treats are made from masa (corn dough) and filled with various ingredients such as meats, cheeses, or chilies, then wrapped in corn husks and steamed. Tamales carry a great deal of Latin cultural significance and can often be found on the menu at parties and community gatherings. Add them to your Thanksgiving dinner, or bring them out as one of your Christmas party appetizers and watch them become an instant favorite!
3. Cuban Rum Punch
Embodying the laid-back charm of the Caribbean, Cuban rum punch is a delightful fusion of Cuban rum with pineapple and orange juice, finished with a touch of grenadine and a hint of lime. This fruity concoction transports you to sun-soaked beaches with every sip. Whether enjoyed under the sun or at this year’s New Year’s Eve party, Cuban rum punch channels the joyous and carefree ambiance of the region.
Empanadas are a culinary treasure that originated in Spain and were later adapted into diverse regional variations. These hand-held pastries consist of a delicate, flaky crust that envelops a whole host of fillings. From savory meats and cheeses to many different kinds of vegetables, empanadas showcase the culinary creativity inherent in Latin American cooking. Bake or fry them to golden perfection for a perfect appetizer at any New Year’s Eve dinner or Christmas office party. They also make one of the best Thanksgiving sides.
The coquito is a beloved Puerto Rican tradition. It’s more than just a drink — it’s a creamy, coconut-infused experience. This luscious coconut eggnog embodies the holiday season with a combination of coconut milk, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and a generous pour of rum. A hint of cinnamon adds a warm, festive touch to the mix, making each sip a celebration of Puerto Rican culture. Whether you’re sharing with everyone at a large New Year’s gathering or sipping around the fire with friends on a cozy evening, the coquito invokes holiday cheer like few other drinks can.
6. Cuban Paninis
Inspired by the classic Cuban sandwich, Cuban Paninis are an ode to the fusion of Latin and Caribbean culinary influences. Layer thinly sliced ham, succulent roasted pork, Swiss cheese, zesty pickles, and a touch of mustard (or sometimes salami), and carefully press between slices of Cuban bread. Grill them until they’re nice and crispy, and dig into a symphony of flavors and textures, from crispy exterior to melty, savory interior.
7. Piña Colada
Who doesn’t love a good piña colada? Born on the shores of Puerto Rico, this classic cocktail tastes like a liquid vacation in a glass. It combines the rich creaminess of coconut cream with the sweet tang of pineapple juice — all balanced around the spirited kick of white rum. Blend to a smooth consistency with ice and serve to your New Year’s Eve guests to send them on a tropical sensory journey.
8. Plantain Chips with Guacamole
Plantain chips are the perfect snack to have on hand for holiday parties (or all kinds of events year-round). Slice plantains thinly and fry them until crispy for a delightfully crunchy snack. Add homemade guacamole made with ripe avocados, lime, and a dash or fresh cilantro to turn your plantain chips into an elegant appetizer fit for any fun-filled event. If you want, you can bulk up your guacamole even more with an assortment of diced vegetables like onions, tomatoes, peppers, or whatever you like best.
The Paloma is a cherished Mexican cocktail that delights the taste buds with its perfect balance of flavors. Tequila takes center stage in this drink, paired with the effervescent grapefruit soda, a splash of lime juice, and just a touch of salt. This lightly carbonated concoction not only refreshes the palate but also perfectly complements the bold and spicy notes found in many types of Latin cuisine. Serve it at any party or gathering this holiday season and delight your guests with a refreshing Mexican classic.
10. Stuffed Jalapenos
Stuffed Jalapeños are bite-sized explosions of culinary creativity with a fiery kick. They’re typically filled with a blend of cream cheese and shredded cheese and are sometimes complemented by savory meats or vegetables. You’ll find them at many kinds of social gatherings and game day spreads, but they also make an ideal snack or appetizer for a holiday party.
Get a Taste of Latin Cuisine at KPacho
Looking for more fun New Year’s Eve dinner ideas or “New Year’s Eve dinner near me?” Add KPacho to your list of restaurants to try this holiday season for a memorable and fun-filled occasion every time. Need catering or New Year’s dinner ideas? Stop by KPacho for all your catering needs, get some takeout, or grab a seat and dine in with us. We hope to see you soon!