We've never recovered from our first eggnog experience. We were in kindergarten, enjoying an early December holiday-themed clown show in the auditorium of our school. There was punch–a sea of red drink with drifts of Cool Whip floating on top–and a snowy vat of non-alcoholic 'nog. We drank a few glasses and found it good. Then we drank a few more. And a few more. Then, shortly after leaving the party, our face painted, our ears still ringing with silly clown songs, we suffered consequences that, even now, pain us to discuss in any detail.

Needless to say, we don't touch the stuff anymore. In ice cream, for instance, the flavor is fine, but any cocktail is poorly conceived if one's digestion capabilities go haywire after more than two servings. That's just us though. While gourmand Frank Bruni takes 'nog to task–gently and fairly snootily–in a recent New York Times article, seeking out alternatives that sound slightly less wretched, we know 'nog has serious devotees, and we don't aim to dis them. For fellow non-'noggers, there's no need to fret, of course; thankfully, holiday cheer has other transfer systems.

12. Glögg

11. Mead

10. Cider

9. Anchor Christmas

8. Bourbon

7. A beer in a green bottle.

6. A beer in a red bottle.

5. A wine of some kind, mulled or not.

4. Any cocktail that does not have cream in it.

3. Vodka on the rocks.

2. Any beer. A Pabst. Whatever.

1. Any halfway palatable liquid you can scavenge from the cupboard or fridge without letting your hosts know that their favorite party drink makes you ill. Keep in mind: Politeness counts this time of year. If being a good guest means showing up to a friend's house, scratchy reindeer sweater tight across your shoulders, and accepting a cup of 'nog when it's offered, by all means, do so with a smile. Then, still smiling, take it to the bathroom, close the door, and pour that shit down the sink.

LA Weekly