Warm beverages to help celebrate on a cold night

By Leah Fisher Nyfeler – December 3, 2012

The holiday wrap has been put in the recycling bin, the family is recovering from unbridled glee and festive food, and perhaps there's a shopping trip to make some gift returns or to take advantage of sales planned for the future. Whatever this week holds in store, New Year's Eve is just around the corner and many are turning their thoughts to just what to do in order to ring in 2013. Combine this planning with the cold front that has actually brought winter temperatures to town, and a hot cider sounds delicious and welcoming. Build a fire, cozy up with a loved one, and enjoy a warm beverage while awaiting 2013.

Here's a non-alcoholic cider recipe:

Hot Apple Cider

  • 6 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice berries
  • 1 orange peel, cut into thin strips
  • 1 lemon peel, cut into thin strips
  1. Pour the apple cider and maple syrup into a large stainless steel saucepan.
  2. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, orange peel and lemon peel in the center of a washed square of cheesecloth; fold up the sides of the cheesecloth to enclose the bundle, then tie it up with a length of kitchen string. Drop the spice bundle into the cider mixture.
  3. Place the saucepan over moderate heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cider is very hot but not boiling.
  4. Remove the cider from the heat. Discard the spice bundle. Ladle the cider into big cups or mugs, adding a fresh cinnamon stick to each serving if desired.

Now, if you're looking for an adult version to ring in the New Year, you can't go wrong with this recipe from Deep Eddy Vodka, which was field tested (and approved) at AFM's holiday party.

Naugh-Tea Cider

  • 3 parts Hot Apple Cider (see above)
  • 1 part Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka
  • 2 whole cloves

Cinnamon stick or nutmeg garnish.
Mulled wine, which is warm wine with spices, is another traditional warm party drink that not only tastes good but can make your house smell divine.

Holiday Mulled Wine recipe:

  • 1 bottle (750 mL) of red wine (suggestions: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot)
  • 1 orange, peeled and sliced (keep peel to add zest to taste into cooking pot)
  • 1/4 cup of brandy
  • 8-10 cloves
  • 1/3 cup honey or sugar*
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp fresh or 2 tsp ground ginger (allspice can be substituted)

  1. Combine all ingredients in either a large pot or a slow cooker.
  2. Gently warm the ingredients on low to medium heat (avoid boiling) for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure that the honey or sugar has completely dissolved.
  3. When the wine is steaming and the ingredients have been well blended, it is ready to serve. Ladle the mulled wine into mugs (but leave seasonings behind); serves 4-6.

* The 1/3 cup of honey or sugar makes a sweeter-styled mulled wine; feel free to cut honey/sugar down to taste.

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