Winter is the perfect time of year for a comforting cup of cocoa or hot cider. Spirits give your drinks an extra kick when it's cold outside, but the non-alcoholic variety are just as delicious and satisfying. When serving guests one of these cold-weather concoctions, use garnishes such as a cinnamon stick, peppermint candy cane or dark chocolate shavings for visual punch. When it's just you by the fire on a cold, wintry night, keep it simple: Pour it into your favorite mug, sit back and relax.
Coffee GrogServes 4
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
4 zests of lemon peel
4 zests of orange peel
1 cup dark rum
Cream butter with nutmeg (saving some for sprinkling as garnish) and brown sugar.
Into four mugs add some of the butter mixture, 3 cloves, one cinnamon stick (in each mug), lemon and orange zests, and 2 ounces of rum. Stir well and ignite briefly with a crème brûlée torch (or other flame source). Fill with hot coffee and top with whipped cream and nutmeg.
Hot Butterscotch Cocoa
3/4 ounce butterscotch schnapps
3/4 ounce coffee liqueur
5 ounces hot cocoa
Mix ingredients in coffee mug, top with whipped cream.
Tasty Homemade Hot Chocolate
Serves 4 to 6
4 cups milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup raw sugar
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Fresh vanilla whipped cream (recipe follows)
English toffee, crushed
In a saucepan combine milk, water and sugar, and stir over medium heat until mixture comes just to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate pieces until they are melted and mixture is frothy.
Pour into mugs and top with fresh whipped cream, crushed English toffee and cocoa powder.
Fresh Vanilla Whipped Cream
In a mixing bowl combine 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat until soft peaks form.
Tea and Cider Wassail
6 cups freshly brewed hot tea of choice
6 cups cranberry juice
6 cups apple cider or apple juice
3 cups orange juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups lemon juice
4 cinnamon sticks, broken
3/4 teaspoon whole cloves
Apple slices (optional)
1. In a 6-to-8-quart Dutch oven (or other covered baking dish) combine hot tea, cranberry juice, apple cider, orange juice, sugar and lemon juice. Prepare a spice bag by placing cinnamon and cloves in the center of a double-thick 6-inch piece of cheesecloth. Fold corners to center of bundle and tie together with string. Add satchel to liquid mixture.
2. Bring mixture to a boil and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes. Remove spice bag and serve in heat-proof punch bowl with ladle. Garnish with apple if you wish.
Slow-cooker directions: Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove spice bag and serve in the same fashion as above.
Mocha Mint Irish Cream Cappuccino
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon crème de menthe
1 teaspoon crème de cacao
1 shot Irish cream