When the holiday season comes near, a good mulled wine recipe is a necessity. A toasty mug of spiced wine is a special treat on cold winter nights. Luckily, this treat is easily adaptable for those who don't partake in alcohol. For this recipe, wine was replaced with cranberry juice and cherry juice was used in place of brandy. Combined with orange zest, cinnamon, ginger and cloves, this spiced drink is sure to be a favorite.
Special equipment: a mulling bag or square of cheesecloth and cooking string
Put cloves, zest and crystallized ginger into mulling bag or square of cheesecloth. Tie closed.
Combine cranberry juice, cherry juice, water, brown sugar, cinnamon stick, vanilla extract and cheesecloth bag in a 4-quart saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring.
Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Hot buttered rum is a guilty pleasure. For a nonalcoholic version, the butter and rum are replaced by butter rum candy. The flavor will still be there without any of the guilt.
Bring cider, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to a boil in a 1-1/2- to 2-quart saucepan over moderately high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Put a butter rum candy in the bottom of each glass. Pour hot cider over. Gently stir to dissolve the candy.
Sparkling ciders are the perfect alternative to Champagne. They are equally festive but can be served at every occasion. To make your sparkling ciders stand out from the crowd, brew up a batch of chai simple syrup. The chai tea flavors of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, cloves and star anise spice up your sparkling cider and give it an extra dose of holiday flavor. This recipe uses pear sparkling cider, but it would also be delicious with apple.
Place 4 Champagne flutes in the freezer for 15 minutes. Remove and add 1 tablespoon of the chai simple syrup to each flute. Fill each flute to the top with sparkling pear cider and serve immediately.
On stove top, heat water to boiling in a saucepan. Add brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and allow to steep for half an hour.
Allow syrup to cool before using.
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