Even in Louisiana come January the temperature drops down cold enough to drink hot, spiked cider or mulled wine. December 11th, in 2008, just 3 weeks ago it actually SNOWED in south Louisiana! AND the snow stayed on the ground for two days before it all melted off. Pretty amazing as we made snowmen on our front lawns just like I did as a kid when our family lived in Maine for a few years. Will wonders never cease?
However, what was joyful for us silly Southerners was not a lot of fun for our Northern and Western and even Midwest cousins in the country. Even now so early in the New Year the majority of the country has been experiencing record snowfall and cold. This is when those hot winter drinks come in handy to warm our insides.
Hot, Spiked Apple Cider
Per serving: Take a cup of cider or apple juice and heat it in the microwave. Now drop a shot of rum into it. You could also add other variations: orange juice, cranberry juice, cinnamon, cloves and orange slices. Just make sure you add the liquor AFTER heating the juice.
This is really popular all over America in cold weather: Wassail. Often it's used to toast good things to others like wishing them good health. You get to look like the great guy giving good cheer to others while sipping a yummy drink. Now aren't you clever?!
Bring a pint of water to a boil on the stove. Add a cup of your favorite honey, 5 whole cloves and 3 sticks of cinnamon. Heat for 5 minutes. Add a sliced lemon and now an entire bottle of good red wine. Heat to a simmer and serve with a lemon slice.
Now here's a cold weather drink that's as old as the hills! It's been around for at least 500 years since the Middle Ages. There is no hard and true recipe just the basic ingredients you can experiment with at will to your personal taste.
The basic recipe starts with a bottle of inexpensive hearty red wine. Add a couple of cinnamon sticks, some cloves and 1 cup of sugar. Add the mixture to a saucepan and warm it until the sugar dissolves - without boiling - and then serve it in a cup with either a cinnamon stick as a garnish or for Christmas try a peppermint candy cane.
This one is often served to revive folks at ski resorts.
To your cup of hot cocoa just add to spike it: a shot of rum, brandy OR peppermint schnapps. Garnish with an orange peel or even marshmallows.
The variations used are: peppercorns, bay leaves, cardamom, nutmeg, brown sugar, anise, rosemary, brandy, herbal tea, citrus slices as garnish too.
Hot Buttered Rum
Into your mug place 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon butter and 4 whole cloves. Now add a shot of rum. Stir well and fill with boiling hot water.
Variation: Some people replace the butter with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Add brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg.
Lots of variations on this theme with hot tea.
Fill a mug 3/4 full with hot black tea like Luzianne (not a bitter tea like other national brands. These guys specialize in taking the bitterness out of black tea and now have moved on to developing their own coffee line!).
Add a shot of scotch, 1 Tablespoon of honey and a slice of lemon.
Variations: Can use rum, brandy or bourbon.
Add cloves, a cinnamon stick or a grind of nutmeg - even a dash of Angostura bitters (which has an orange flavor).
Note: For other recipes visit my other fun blog –
Romancing The Chocolate