1. CRANBERRY APPLE CIDER
This delicious drink is made of apples, cranberries, and citrus juices. You should drink it warm and it’s suitable for different holidays during the colder part of the year. The good thing is – even your little ones can enjoy it! I usually use all natural unsweetened juices, but feel free to experiment – cider is all about that.
- 4 1/4 cups apple juice
- 2 cups orange juice
- 4 1/4 cups cranberry juice
- 1/2 cup of sugar, steavia or honey
- 3 whole cinnamon sticks
Place all ingredients into a slow cooker. Stir (and do this occasionally). Cook the drink for 4 – 5 hours on low and keep the drink warm until serving. You can refrigerate leftovers and reheat when needed.
For richer aroma, you can add slices of apple or orange or even berries.
2. S’MORES HOT CHOCOLATE
Here comes the happiness for the whole family. Soft and creamy, this drink is made for relaxation and enjoyment. There is a sweet surprise with every sip! Enjoy it!
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons light chocolate syrup
- 1-2 tablespoons sugar
- pinch of salt
- Graham crackers or Petit-beur (crushed)
- 1/2 cup marshmallows
Preheat the oven, at low temperature.
Heat milk and water in a saucepan for about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overheat it. Add cocoa powder, chocolate syrup, sugar and salt and whisk continuously to make an even mixture. Meanwhile, use few of your marshmallows to rub them around the top of your mugs so crushed crackers stick better. Then dip mugs in crackers until well lined. (You can add crunches on the bottom of your mugs to intensify the taste.)
Pour in hot chocolate and top each mug with 1/4 cup of marshmallows. Carefully put the mugs on the baking sheet and into the oven. Keep them in the oven for few minutes until marshmallows are slightly browned (don’t let them burn). Be careful when removing from the oven, the mugs should be very hot now (but don’t worry, they will cool soon enough for easier handling). Before serving, you can add more chocolate or sugar, if you need it tastier, or even a small amount of Biley’s for a boozy combo.
3. MULLED WINE
In Europe, mulled wine is a favorite drink during cold days. I make it with red wine, with white wine, with different fruits and spices. I can make it sweeter or more sour; spicier or mild – but I enjoy all of them. It’s my top priority drink, and don’t forget – a glass of wine a day keeps the cardiologist away! 😉
- 1 bottle of red dry wine (750ml)
- 1 orange (sliced into rounds)
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1/4 cup sugar or honey
- 8 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise
- Extra citrus slices (orange, lime, lemon), extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise – for decoration
Put all ingredients together in a large pot. Let the liquor simmer on medium-high, but don’t let it boil (or alcohol will boil out). Reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the wine simmer for about 3 hours (for the best results). Strain the drink and serve with your favorite garnishes.
4. CHILI HOT CHOCOLATE
I always put my favorite things at the very end of the article. This one is something I make for years now and everyone enjoys it as much as I do. It’s about soft and smooth and rich taste of chocolate with a pinch of hot and spicy…absolute winner!
- 3 cups milk
- 1/2 stick of vanilla
- 1 chili paper (cut at half and fully cleaned of seeds)
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1/2 cup sweet chocolate
- sugar (as desired)
Shortly cook (on the medium) milk with vanilla, cinnamon, and chili. Add ribbed chocolate, stir until chocolate is melted into the milk. Turn the stove off and let it rest for about 15 minutes, so it can absorb spices. Strain the mixture and serve.
5. WINTER SANGRIA
For this tasty drink, you’ll need apples, pears, and pomegranates. It’s made with red wine (so it’s not suitable for kiddies, but you can relax after a stressful day when little ones are in bed). Infused with succulent fall fruits, this drink is bright, crisp, and slightly sweet. The best ingredient is pomegranate – one of the richest fall fruits. Ruby red seeds are one of the greatest antioxidants in the world. Sometimes I used it in salads, pasta, and sauces, or like a snack between main meals.
Friendly advice: don’t waste your money on expensive wine. It will be cooked and infused with other flavors, so no need for fancy etiquettes. Save them good stuff for cheese-plater.
- 2 pomegranates
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 pear
- 1 apple
- 1 bottle red wine (750 ml)
- 1/4 cup Tripple sec
- 1/4 cup pomegranate liquor
De-seed pomegranates. In a small pot, mix 1/2 a cup water and 1/2 a cup of pomegranate seeds. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for 5 minutes, then let it cool completely. After the liquid cools off, strain the mixture into an empty cup and discard the pomegranate seeds.
Cut apples and pears into thin slices. Put the slices and remaining pomegranate seeds into a bigger pot. Pour the wine, triple sec, pomegranate liquor, and cooled pomegranate simple syrup into the pot. Cover and place the pot in the fridge, chill for 24 hours (or as long as your time allows) and serve. You can serve it with few cubes of ice, as well; someone found it more pleasant that way.