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Spicing Up Hot Drinks

* 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!

cider mate* 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 (in Citrus Spice and Original Spice) and Simply Organic Mulling Spice.)

* For Spanish flair, add black pepper and chilies or cinnamon to hot chocolate.

* peppermint flavorFor 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 or Simply Organic 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.)

cinnamon sticks* 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.

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Quick Links

» Delicious Hot Drinks for Fall & Winter
» Spicing Up Hot Drinks
» Spice it Up
» Tips for Cocoa Lovers

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