4 Delicious Holiday Drinks
This post written by guest blogger—Ashley Redfern
Whether the holiday season finds you preparing traditional meals for family and friends, organizing or attending a New Year’s Eve party, skiing on fresh powder in the mountains, or staying warm during the short, dark days at the end of the year, here are four festive beverages to complement any of these occasions.
There’s nothing quite like a hot toddy to beat cold winter weather. It’s said that the honey and spices aid in cold-prevention while warming the body and stimulating the senses. You can make these with practically any brown liquor (dark rum, whiskey, brandy, scotch), a sweetener (simple syrup, sugar, honey), and hot tea or water. Elements like ginger, lemon, star anise, cinnamon, clove and vanilla enrich the flavor and garnish the drink. My favorite thermos-filler for a day of skiing is Lemon Ginger Whiskey Hot Toddy:
For 2 servings: Steep 1 Tbsp. fresh Grated Ginger in 3 cups Simmering Water (about 10 minutes), add 1 Tbsp. Honey, Juice from 1 Lemon & a shot (or two) of Whiskey.
Decadent Viennese Hot Chocolate
This is a rich, warming classic to follow chilly outdoor activity or punctuate a cozy day inside. For an extra splash of “grown-ups only” holiday flair, add Peppermint Schnapps.
For 4 servings: 4 oz (120g) of 64% Chocolate, 2 cups (500ml) Milk, 2 Tbsp Bitter Cocoa (reserve some for garnish), 4 tbsp Superfine Sugar, 2/3 cup (150g) Whipping Cream, well chilled (Vanilla Bean Seeds add rich earthy flavor to the whipped cream, if desired), 8 oz Peppermint Schnapps.
First, heat milk, cocoa and sugar in a pan until just before boiling. Meanwhile, grate chocolate and beat heavy cream to firm peaks. Remove pan from heat, add grated chocolate and mix in blender or whisk in a large bowl at high speed for at least 2 minutes. When hot chocolate is foamy, serve immediately in large mugs (add peppermint schnapps) and top with whipped cream. Sprinkle cocoa on top and enjoy!
This sparkling libation is fun as a pre-meal refreshment or as a tantalizing twist on a bubbly classic for a toast.
FOR 8 SERVINGS: 2 Tbsp. fresh grated Ginger, 2 Cups fresh Cranberries, 1 Cup Cranberry Juice, 1 Cup Water, 1/4 Cup Sugar, 8 oz Campari, 1 Bottle chilled Prosecco or Sparkling White Wine
First, simmer Ginger, Cranberries, Juice, Water and Sugar together in a pan on medium heat until berries burst. Cool and strain liquid through a fine mesh sieve (delicious gingered cranberry sauce is a welcome by-product). Add strained liquid to Campari and pour 1/4 cup into 8 champagne flutes. Top glasses off evenly with chilled sparkling wine/Prosecco. Salute!
Eggnog – Naughty or Nice
During winter holidays, I never get tired of eggnog! There are many ways to enjoy this sumptuous treat, but these two are my list-toppers: Foamy Spiced Eggnog Latte, or a glass of chilled Eggnog mixed with a shot of Whiskey (or Rum) and topped with fresh ground nutmeg.
Ashlee Redfern was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and graduated from the Seattle Culinary Academy before moving to Florence, Italy, for 8-years full of culinary explorations, university studies and European travel. After receiving a degree in Intercultural & Interlinguistic Studies, working at cafés, wine bars & restaurants, translating & teaching English in Italy, she returned to her roots and now lives on Bainbridge Island. She shares her passion for delicious & healthy food, cultural knowledge and Italian experiences through her business, Italian Inspirations. As a Personal Chef, Ashlee creates Italian Dinner Experiences featuring rustic, traditional Italian recipes that incorporate local, seasonal ingredients for in-home gatherings. Ashlee’s Italian Inspirations Blog: www.italian-inspirations.com