Hot holiday party drinks

Nov 26, 2013 at 11:03 p.m. ET

Every year, I ask myself why I am willing to freeze through another winter on the East Coast.

M&M bag

Trudging through the cold streets, bopping from one heated place to another and bundled up layer upon layer with fingers and toes numb — the situation is not exactly ideal. And yet, here I am — and one reason that gets me every time is how celebratory and happy everyone becomes around the holiday season.

When the temperatures drop in New York City, one of my favorite pastimes is to throw a warm and cozy dinner party. Inviting friends and family over can be a nice respite from setting foot outside. While over lanning may prove stressful, there are many things one can prepare with just a bit of advance notice.

To me, nothing says holiday time is here more than a warm drink, so here are a few of my go-to recipes that you can prepare before your guests arrive and that will definitely put a smile on their rosy-cheeked faces.

Note: All of these drinks can be made sans alcohol, of course.

Spiked hot chocolate

Spiked hot chocolate


  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 3 ounces Amaretto
  • 4 ounces Bailey's Irish Cream
  • Whipped cream
  • Mint Holiday MY M&M's (for garnish)


  1. In a medium saucepan, stir the cocoa with the sugar and salt. Stir in the milk, milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is close to a boil. Gently whisk to completely homogenize the mixture.
  2. Add the Amaretto and Bailey's and stir to combine. Pour into glasses and top with fresh whipped cream and MY M&M's for garnish.
Using personalized MY M&M's is a sweet way to add a little something extra to your party.


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Check out the MY M&M's website to make your decorations a little more personal with little snowmen, snowflakes or messages.

Mulled cider

Yields approximately 8 servings

If you aren't lucky enough to have a fireplace to warm up next to, this foolproof drink is best served right when your guests arrive.


  • 1 apple
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • 2 quarts apple cider (I prefer Red Jacket Orchards.)
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup dark rum
  • Cinnamon sticks (for garnish)


  1. Stud the apple with the cloves.
  2. In a medium pot, combine the studded apple and the remaining ingredients except the rum, and slowly bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat.
  3. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and add the rum.
  4. Discard the apple and ladle the hot cider into mugs, garnishing each mug with a cinnamon stick.

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