Holidays bring the chance to mingle with friends, family members, and even coworkers to celebrate the season and enjoy good food and drink. Holiday beverages are warming and cheerful and sometimes include a touch of spice. The variety of options makes holiday drinks enjoyable for everyone.
Christmas Punch: Spiked or Alcohol-Free
Christmas punch was made popular during Victorian times when it was known as wassail. Charles Dickens refers to a specific type of Christmas punch known as Smoking Bishop in his classic novel, “A Christmas Carol.”
Today's versions may be more streamlined than Smoking Bishop, but they are no less popular. Punch is a budget-friendly option when serving a big crowd, and it’s easy to offer both alcohol-fortified and non-alcoholic versions.
The basics of a good holiday punch are to add ginger ale and fresh fruit to a mixture of seasonal juices, such as apple cider, cranberry, and pomegranate juice. Your favorite warm spices like cinnamon and clove add the finishing touch. Serve over ice or warm it in a slow cooker for the perfect post-caroling warmup.
Minty Chocolate Coffee
Minty chocolate coffee is another versatile holiday drink that can be adjusted to personal preferences. Mix hot coffee with a package of instant cocoa instead of hot water or milk, and add a drop or two of peppermint extract for a super simple but highly satisfying coffee treat.
Variations of this method include using decaf coffee, adding a shot of peppermint schnapps, and allowing the mixture to cool, then serving it over ice.
Mimosas are delicious but more aligned with spring brunch than a winter holiday. One version of the poinsettia is to substitute cranberry juice for orange juice.
A slightly more elegant but easy version includes cranberry juice, sweet orange liqueur, and your choice of sparkling white wine. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and fresh cranberry or two.
The Not Toddy
The “Not Toddy” is a non-alcoholic version of the traditional hot toddy. It’s a warm and soothing drink that will lift the spirits of non-drinkers and those too young to imbibe. Start with a steaming hot mug of Earl Gray tea, or use a citrusy herbal tea blend if you prefer to skip the caffeine. Add honey, a squeeze of lemon, and stir with a cinnamon stick for that touch of holiday spice.
Warm Spiced Eggnog
It wouldn’t be the holiday season without at least one glass of eggnog. Warmed nog spiked with an ounce of rum, whiskey, or Cognac and topped with freshly grated nutmeg is the perfect cocktail for an intimate holiday gathering or for relaxing after an afternoon of skiing.
Grinch Punch and Monster Milk
Nothing kicks off the holidays for kids like a Halloween party. Having something spooky and special to drink sets the mood and lets the youngsters know they are in for a fun time. Two “dead easy” beverages for a monster mash include Grinch punch and monster milk.
Grinch punch is green soda pop served in a glass rimmed with red salt. If available, green carbonated beverages like Green River soda are best, but adding a drop of green food coloring to Sprite or Slice works as well. Mix salt with a drop of red food coloring for a pop of gory color for the rim.
Monster milk is so fun to drink that kids might forget it is something mostly healthy. Use dairy, nut, or oat milk and purple food dye to create the monster milk. Use a black edible ink pen to draw a small circle in the center of mini marshmallows to create monster “eyes.” Top the milk with a handful of eyes, pupils up, and let the kids enjoy.
Big or small, holiday gatherings are more fun with something festive to sip. Try one or more of these beverage ideas to add some holiday cheer to your next celebration.
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