Festive Hot Drinks for the Holidays

Mulling spices aren't just for apple cider! While a cup of hot mulled cider is still one of our favorite cozy ways to warm up on chilly days, there are many other delicious hot mulled drinks that are equally enticing using our Christmas Cove Holiday Spice Blend.

Here's the Basic Recipe for a Crowd: Add 1/3 - 1/2 cup mulling spices to 1 gallon liquid. Heat liquid until almost boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Sweeten to taste, if desired. Strain. Keep mixture warm on the stove or a crock pot. Add additional fruit (apple or pear slices, orange slices) for garnish, if desired.  

Classic Apple Mulled Cider
We prefer fresh, unfiltered, organic apple cider — it's naturally sweet, so it is rarely necessary to add additional sugar. Prefer your cider a little sweeter? Consider using a little maple syrup, honey, coconut nectar, date syrup, or brown sugar. If you aren't familiar with coconut nectar, it is f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s. Made from evaporated coconut sap, it has a rich, almost buttery flavor that is perfect when you want a little sweetness, but not too much.

Hot Buttered Apple Toddy with Rum
Use the classic Apple Cider recipe above, but add a tablespoon of high quality butter (like Kerrygold or other European style, richly flavored butter) and a shot of Meyers's rum to each mug for a toddy. Finish with a light dusting of freshly grated nutmeg. By the way, you can also leave the rum out and enjoy 'as is.'
 
Vanilla Pear Cider
If you are lucky enough to live where pears are plentiful, many times you can purchase fresh pear cider. If not, check your your specialty grocer for pear juice. Prepare like Classic Apple Cider, but add a few slices of pears and a whole vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise, as you heat mixture. (Alternately, add 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract after simmering the spices if you do not have a vanilla bean.) Strain. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh thyme and a crisp slice of raw pear.

Pomegranate Mulled Cider
The combination of pomegranate juice and apple juice or cider not only makes a beautiful ruby color drink, but it's also good for you! To a gallon of apple juice or cider, add a quart of pomegranate juice. Heat with mulling spices and simmer 15-20 minutes. Taste for sweetness and sweeten if desired. Strain and garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary or an orange slice and cinnamon stick.

Cranberry Cider
Using the directions for Classic Apple Cider, substitute Cranberry juice (or cran-apple blend) for the apple cider. Add a whole navel orange sliced into thin slices, mulling spices and bring mixture to a simmer.  sweeten to taste, if desired.  Garnish with a slice or orange peel.

English Mulled Ale
To make this traditional English classic, use a winter style Christmas ale or bock lager. Place 36 ounces of ale, 4 tablespoons of brown sugar or honey, and 2 tablespoons of mulling spices to a saucepan. Bring mixture to a gentle simmer (do not boil) and cook for 3 - 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 6 ounces of Cognac or brandy. Strain. Serve in mugs garnished with slice of orange peel (white pith removed).

Sparkling Mulled Cider Mocktail
Prepare Classic Apple Cider an simmer uncovered for 35-40 minutes to reduce and concentrate liquid slightly. Remove from stove and allow to cool with spices in the liquid. Strain and refrigerate until well chilled. When ready to serve, fill a champagne glass half full with cider and top off with icy cold sparkling water. Add an apple or pear slice for garnish, if desired.