5 Tasty Holiday Cocktail Recipes

A crisp bite in the air mingled with the sight of falling snowflakes always kindles an insatiable craving for hot ciders, toddies and eggnog.  While you can just as easily pop into the store for the basics, I believe creating concoctions from scratch can be half the fun and deliver double the delicious aroma.  So start a fire, put on some festive tunes and give these heart-warming holiday cocktails a whirl.


Mulling Spices:

Although you can purchase outstanding Mulling Spices for outrageous prices at places like Williams-Sonoma, you can also whip them up at home with bulk supplies for half the price.  Personalized mulling spices, arranged in basic mason jars, also make fantastic gifts.  You can use mulling spices to create hot apple cider, hot toddies and mulled wine.  There are numerous styles of Mulling Spices, but here’s a recipe that’s a consistent hit for me.   

1.5 Tablespoon allspice berries
1.5 Tablespoon whole cloves
85 gram jar cinnamon sticks
½ inch of fresh ginger, chopped or candied ginger, chopped (1mm x 1mm)
1 orange, zested
½ Tablespoon dried cranberry, chopped

Zest an entire orange peel.  Place zest and chopped ginger (if fresh) on parchment paper then bake at 200 F for one hour.   In the meantime, place cinnamon sticks in a Ziploc, wrap with a dishtowel and beat them into small chips.  I use a rolling pin but a hammer will also do the trick.  Mix together orange zest, ginger, allspice berries, whole cloves, cinnamon chips and dried cranberry.  Arrange them in a mason jar and get ready to whip up some cocktails.


Naughty Apple Cider:

Apple Cider can be made with or without alcohol.  The liquor used is up to you; I personally prefer Sortilege (Quebecois Maple Syrup Whiskey)!

1 Cup Apple Cider
Lemon juice
1 Tablespoon mulling spices
1 shot of liquor

For one serving, combine all the ingredients, heat over the stove to a gentle boil for five to ten minutes.  Take in the intoxicating aroma.  Strain and serve.  You can even garnish with a cinnamon stick for added effect.


Ambyr’s Hot Toddy


There are myriad ways of concocting a stellar hot toddy.  Some folks use lemon, honey and whisky while others prefer rum and tea.  Here is my favourite toddy that’s destined to be a winner every time!

½ lemon, juiced
1 tea bag of white or jasmine tea
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon raw sugar
1 Tablespoon mulling spices
1 shot of brandy (or Sortilege)

Steep the tea separately.  Bring the remaining ingredients to a low boil for five minutes then add the tea and continue boil for another minute.  Strain and serve.


Gluhwein (Glow Wine)

Gluhwein goes back to the time of Hippocrates and has been a holiday staple in Europe for centuries.  In other words, something that has stood the test of such vast time should definitely garner a place at your holiday party.  So treat your guests to a libation that will warm their hearts and inspire thoughts of seasons long, long ago. 

1 bottle dry red wine
one lemon, sliced
one orange, sliced
4 Tablespoons Mulling Cider
1 shot Grand Marnier

Heat the red wine in a pot, but do not let it boil.  Add the remaining ingredients and keep over low heat for one hour.  Never let it boil.  You can let it sit for hours, if you like.  Strain and serve.


Homemade Eggnog

Although eggnog can be found anywhere this time of year, the homemade stuff is truly fabulous and arguably worth the effort.  If you want go at the recipe with the store bought stuff, it will still take care of business.  If you would like to give Eggnog from scratch a try, here’s the recipe.

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ liter whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites

Beat egg yolks with an electric mixer then add 1/3 cup of sugar and mix until dissolved.  Add milk, cream booze and nutmeg and stir.  In the meantime, beat egg white with an electric mixer into soft, white peaks.  Gradually add a tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla.  Whisk the egg whites into the main mixture.  Chill and serve.    


Baby-It’s-Cold-Outside Coffee

This caffeine-infused nectar of the Gods will keep a smile on your face while you’re on your feet for the remainder of the season’s cooking extravaganza!

1 ounce amaretto liqueur
2 ounce baileys irish cream
a dollop of whipped cream
1 cup of coffee
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Mix amaretto liqueur and bailey’s into the coffee.  Cover with whipped cream and finish with ground cinnamon sprinkles. 

Tags: Diet, eggnog, gluhwein, holiday cocktails, hot apple cider, hot toddy, irish coffee, mulling spices

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