Like a boozy, liquid, adult version of the Christmas cookie jar, our holiday mixology menu tastes unmistakably seasonal, comforting and familiar, but with distinct spicy twists.
This gorgeous garnet-colored punch featuring hibiscus flowers, allspice, ginger and star anise looks splendid in a glass punch bowl or pitcher.
Our lighter, coconut milk version of eggnog isn't lighter on flavor — it's infused with whole cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries and vanilla bean.
Here's a holiday cocktail that is refreshing rather than stupefying because it features Chinese Se Chung Oolong tea and the dazzling warmth of Chinese Five Spice Powder.
Hot drinks can warm us up and lift our spirits throughout the winter months -- and they're essential once the holiday season gets underway. Mugs of steaming mulled cranberry juice or hot spiced chocolate are perfect for greeting Thanksgiving or Christmas guests; Wassail makes a delightful winter dinner party centerpiece; warm, flavored milk helps excited toddlers snuggle in for the night; and what better way to end a hectic day than with spicy hot tea for you and your partner in front of a cozy fire? There are plenty of opportunities for enhancing the holidays with hot drinks!
Given their impact, warm beverages are extraordinarily easy to prepare. And if you take a moment to add a few spices, you'll create drinks that are especially festive and delicious. Here are some recipes to get you started, though you'll likely be concocting your own signature hot holiday beverages in no time.
Can a cocktail be wholesome? This toddy comes close with apple cider, a melange of mulling spices, fresh ginger and mellow bay leaf.
Glugg is a mulled Swedish beverage. Use any red wine you prefer for this recipe. Serve with a spoon so your guests can retrieve every last raisin and almond.
The traditional English Christmas drink, wassail is a hearty hot beverage, good for brisk winter weather. Add beer and/or sherry for a more spirited drink.
This deliciously rich toddy adds festive delight to any gathering.
Depending on how sweet you make it, Chai tea can serve as a spicy, flavorful, warming dessert. Vary the spice amounts, too, to taste.
This recipe is a good candidate for the crockpot. Instead of straining the drink, you can place the spices in cheesecloth or a muslin bag for easy removal.
Here are some of the spices you might consider adding to your hot drinks:
- Cayenne and other chili peppers
- Chicory root
- Fenugreek seed
- Lemon peel
- Licorice root
- Orange peel
- Peppercorns (black and white)
- Peppermint leaf
- Spearmint leaf
- Star anise
You might also want to have on hand:
- Cocoa powder
- Carob powder
- Nonfat milk powder
- Maple syrup (powder and granules)
- Orange or lemon peel (granules, powder and cut and sifted)
- Vanilla beans and vanilla extract
- Other Frontier baking flavors and extracts
Sweetened and flavored butter makes a lovely final touch for hot drinks, especially atop some softly whipped cream. To make your own, simply blend butter with a little brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and orange or lemon peel. Store in the refrigerator, in a covered container or wrapped in waxed paper. Top hot coffee, tea, cider, or cocoa with a small dab of the spiced butter.
Tips for Cocoa Lovers
If you love hot cocoa, you'll want to know the best cocoa powder to use and maybe how to make your own cocoa mix and special topping. Here's a little info to help you enhance your cocoa experiences:
What kind of cocoa powder should I use for hot cocoa?
You want to use pure unsweetened cocoa powder, made from ground cocoa solids without any added flavorings or sweeteners. There are two kinds of pure cocoa powder: Dutch-process (which has been made more soluble with the addition of an alkaline agent) and non-alkalized cocoa powder. Because it's darker and less lumpy, the Dutch-processed cocoa powder makes the best drinks. But you can substitute the non-alkalized powder, and the flavor will be similar.
How can I make my own hot cocoa mix?
Making your own hot cocoa or carob mix is easy and well worth doing if hot cocoa is popular at your house. Vary this recipe according to taste for sweetness and richness, but start by combining equal parts cocoa or carob powder and sugar. Add twice as much instant dry milk powder. (You can also add spices, like allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg, now, or use these as variations during preparation time.) Store in a covered container. Add a vanilla bean to the container for lovely aroma
To use, shake the container to mix ingredients, then place 3 tablespoons of the mix in a cup. Add a small amount (about 1/4 cup) of boiling water. Stir well until mix is completely dissolved. Add warm milk to fill and stir well. (In a pinch, you can use boiling water rather than milk, though your drink won't be as creamy.)
If you're looking for cocoa convenience, you'll also want to try Frontier's Cocoa Mix. For more cocoa recipes, visit our Homemade Hot Cocoa Bar article
- Provide an array of different mugs for guests, so that each can identify his or hers for refilling throughout the party.
- Make an adult and kids' version of some drinks -- adding a bit of rum or bourbon to a warm milk bedtime drink for the grownups, for example.
- Surprise your child by packing a nourishing warm drink in her lunchbox. Don't forget the marshmallow!
- Mix the ingredients for your favorite hot drinks ahead of time, so that you can quickly whip up something wonderful for unexpected guests -- or carolers! (Streamline all your holiday preparations by stocking up on Frontier Cocoa Mix and Cider Mate
- For Spanish flair, add black pepper and chilies or cinnamon to hot chocolate.
- For an instant flavor boost, add good quality baking flavors and extracts -- like mint, orange, almond, cinnamon, and vanilla -- to any hot drink (milk, cocoa etc.).
- Float sliced fresh fruit -- like orange wheels -- in your serving bowl of mulled juice or cider.
- If your mulled beverage gets too strong, simply add more juice, cider or wine.
- For simple but lovely homemade gifting, combine the dry ingredients for a special hot drink in a small jar or canister and tie with a festive ribbon. Punch a hole in a recipe card with mixing directions and attach to the ribbon. (A tasty and easy option is to use Frontier Cocoa Mix.) Place in an attractive mug or a pretty teacup and saucer and tie with a ribbon.
- To mull cider or juice, try combinations of allspice, cinnamon, cloves, fenugreek, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, orange peel, and star anise. (Or use a pre-blended mulling spice like Frontier Cider Mate or Mulling Spice) And don't forget to vary the juice, too. Apple is traditional, but cherry, cranberry, and white grape juice are also delicious -- and unexpected. Combine them half and half with the apple juice, or use solo. Try mulling red or white wine, too. Be careful not to boil the wine or you'll ruin the taste and evaporate the alcohol.
- Combine your ingredients in a crockpot and set it on low throughout a cold day or festive occasion. Keep mugs and a ladle nearby so guests can serve themselves whenever they like. All the while, the aroma will waft through your home.
- Eliminate the need to strain mulled drinks by wrapping and tying spices in cheesecloth or a small muslin bag before adding them to your mulled recipe. Simply remove the bundle when it's time to serve the beverage.
- Remember to stock up on cinnamon sticks. They're indispensable for mulling, but they also spruce up any hot party drink. (Large cinnamon sticks make lovely holiday decorations, too, when tied together with a satin ribbon.)
- Add cinnamon sticks, orange peel and/or lemon peel to any black tea. Serve, or sweeten first, if you like, with honey or brown sugar. To richen the flavor even further, add a tablespoon or two of cognac.
- Enliven green teas with crystallized ginger and sliced fruit (like pears).
- Thicken your hot cocoa with cornstarch or arrowroot, for an Italian version of hot cocoa. Stir in some vanilla or Grand Marnier, and top with nutmeg or cinnamon.
- For a mocha drink, simply use strongly brewed coffee in place of some of the liquid in your favorite hot cocoa recipe.