Last Call: What Foods And Drinks Make This The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year?

Over the past few weeks, I have eaten more than my fair share of chocolate-peppermint, which is a lovely combination but is, for some reason, only widely available during the holiday season. The rest of the year, you have to hunt, or settle for inferior substitutions, like mint chocolate chip ice cream. I guess that's why they have that song about how this is the most wonderful time of the year.

Traditionally, the only thing I've made a special point of consuming every December is a plate of potato latkes with sour cream. I was proud of learning how to make them as an adult, but my mother's always taste better. (I suppose it didn't help that the first time I tried to make them for myself, I grated the potatoes by hand and scraped my knuckle. My father always claimed that blood was the secret ingredient in his grandmother's latkes. Clearly I lack her capacity for sacrifice and suffering.) This year, though, I have resolved to add a Tom and Jerry to my holiday rotation, first because it tastes delicious, like a spicy marshmallow, and also because my friends and I had such a good time drinking them together, and because our meeting was arranged with such a minimum of back-and-forth and no last-minute rescheduling that it seemed like a holiday miracle worth sustaining.

What are the tastes of the season for you?