Family Friendly Holiday Drink Recipes
By Carol J. Alexander
Nothing speaks holiday like mulled cider, gingerbread, and candy cane. Whether you are chilling with the family or having friends over for an evening of holiday cheer, you want something seasonal to serve. Add a big bowl of popcorn or a plate of cookies and you are ready for games, storytelling, or just good conversation.
Every year before the weather turns too cold, the Miller family invites friends and neighbors over for a good old-fashioned stew. Mike not only fills his butchering kettle with beef stew over an open fire, he brings out the cider press and encourages everyone to bring a bushel or two of apples. Whether you have access to a press, or you have to buy your cider from the store, this Spiced Cranberry Cider is a hit at any event.
Spiced Cranberry Cider
2 quarts apple cider
6 cups cranberry juice
¼ – ½ cup brown sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 lemon, sliced
In a large stockpot, combine all ingredients.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove cinnamon, cloves, and lemon slices before serving.
For family gatherings or parties including children, this alcohol-free eggnog is smooth and creamy. Folding the whipped cream into the cooled custard makes all the difference. And since there is no alcohol in it, the kids feel special about being able to join the adults around the punch bowl.
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup white sugar
Dash of salt
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine eggs, white sugar, and salt in a saucepan then gradually stir in milk. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. Cover and refrigerate to cool.
Once the custard is cool, combine cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in a chilled bowl. Beat to form stiff peaks. Fold into the cooled custard. Pour into punch bowl, sprinkle with nutmeg, and serve.
Children, candy canes, and hot cocoa just go together. After playing outside on a winter day, kids always come in begging for hot chocolate. Adding peppermint extract and a candy cane stir stick gives it a special touch.
Candy Cane Cocoa
3 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate, grated
1 ½ cups water
1/3 cup sugar
Dash of salt
4 ½ cups milk
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup whipped cream
4 small peppermint candy canes
Heat water and chocolate, stirring constantly, until the chocolate melts.
Stir in the sugar and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and allow to simmer a few minutes, stirring constantly.
Add milk and continue to heat just until hot. Do not allow to boil.
Remove from heat and add peppermint extract.
Pour hot cocoa into four mugs and add a dollop of whipped cream on top of each one.
Serve with a candy cane stirring stick.
When unexpected guests drop by, you want to have something you can fix in a jiffy that makes your company feel special. Russian Tea is just the thing. You may only need to add hot water and stir, but your friends will think you had been cooking it on the stove all day.
Russian Tea also makes a wonderful gift when given in a decorated Mason jar or special tin. Print the instructions on nice card stock, cut out with fancy-edged scissors, and tie on with a ribbon.
½ cup plain instant tea powder
2 cups orange-flavored drink mix
3 ounces lemonade-flavored drink mix
¾ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients.
To serve, stir 2 to 3 rounded teaspoons full in a cup of hot water.