When I think of the holidays, I think of cozying up in my favourite nook with a hot drink and watching the snow fall. This time of year is filled with variety when it comes to picking the perfect beverage to help you relax. The tree lights twinkle, along with the soft melody of your favourite Christmas tune, It’s time to grab your favourite blanket, cozy socks, and take a much needed break.
Let’s talk about DRINKS! Of course, there are the classics: Hot Chocolate, Apple Cider, and Mulled Wine that most people turn to during times of desperately needed relaxation from the holiday season… But why stick with the basics? Here are a few unique recipes that put their twist on our well-known holiday specials and they will be sure to dazzle you, your friends and family!
Spiced Orange Mocha Hot Chocolate
Who can really say no to a cup of Hot Chocolate? This unique twist on an old classic by The Cupcake Confession has me just about drooling. It also has the added espresso (did someone say, caffeine? Yay!).
– 400 mls milk
– 120 grams chopped dark chocolate
– 2 tbsp freshly made espresso*
– 2 tbsp raw sugar
– 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
– 1 + ½ teaspoon cornflour
– ¼th teaspoon cinnamon powder
– 1/8th teaspoon nutmeg powder
– Zest of one orange cut into strips.
Toppings/ Serving Suggestions:
– Peppermint Marshmallows
– Shaved dark chocolate
– Any Chocolate based candy.
1. In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan add the milk, dark chocolate and espresso.
2. On medium heat, combine the ingredients until the chocolate is partially melted.
3. Add the rest of the hot chocolate ingredients and bring to a boil.
4. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the hot chocolate has thickened.
5. Take it off the heat.
Not Your Typical Hot Mulled Cider
This recipe by Patricia Heaton is one of my favourites. The honey, cloves, and calvados give an extra little kick that is sure to briefly ease your mind during the holiday season.
– ½ gallon apple cider
– 12 ounce hard cider, bottles
– 1 cup calvados
– 1 lemon, juiced
– ⅓ cup honey
– 3 cinnamon sticks, plus more for serving
– 3 cloves
– 1 star anise
1. Special equipment: a 6- to 7-quart slow cooker and a cheesecloth square
2. Combine the apple cider, hard cider, calvados, lemon juice and honey in a 6- to 7-quart slow cooker. Place the cinnamon, cloves and star anise in a square of cheesecloth, tie the ends together to close and toss in the slow cooker. Heat on high to bring to a simmer. Then turn to the warm/hold setting. Serve the cider in a mug with a cinnamon stick.
Mulled Wine / Gluhwein
Mulled wine, otherwise known as Gluhwein is hot spiced wine. The term Gluhwein directly translates to ‘glow wine’ in English and was derived from the red hot irons used to heat the wine across the Germanic cultures hundreds of years ago! Flash forward to now, there are dozens of takes on the recipe but this adaptation by The Edgy Veg is sure to impress!
– 2 oranges, sliced
– 10 whole cloves
– 1½ cups freshly squeezed orange juice
– ½ cup coconut sugar, or to taste
– 1 (3 inch) piece of fresh ginger, sliced
– 5 cinnamon sticks
– 2 star anise pods
– 1 vanilla bean, halved (use 1 tsp vanilla extract, if you don’t have beans)
– 1 bay leaf
– 2 bottles red wine
– 1 cup brandy or rum
– Amaretto, optional
1. Stick whole cloves into the orange slices and place into a large stockpot.
2. Add orange juice, sugar, ginger, cinnamon sticks, star anise, vanilla and bay leaf, and bring it all to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer. Simmer for 30 mins, add 1 cup of wine and simmer for another 30 mins, until thick and syrupy.
3. When the syrup is ready reduce heat to low and pour in remaining wine and add brandy. Bring just to a gentle simmer and heat for about 5 minutes. DO NOT BOIL.
4. Strain out orange sliced and spices and ladle wine into glasses and serve warm. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and orange peel if desired.