Let’s be honest. Cocktails are very seasonal. Drinking a caipirinha, a bootleg, or even a traditional margarita in December seems a little…sacrilegious, almost. In this same vein, most people wouldn’t consider drinking a White Russian or a hot toddy of sorts in August – it just doesn’t fit.
Here are a few seasonally appropriate recipes that will warm up any gathering. These “comfort drinks” can be made in big batches and kept warm in a crockpot or thermos – perfect for an outdoor gathering, a tailgate, or sledding party.
HOLIDAY HARVEST MULLED WINE (adapted from The View From Great Island)
- 1 bottle red wine
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp whole allspice berries
- 4 star anise
- 1/2 tsp whole cloves
- 5 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed with the back of a spoon to expose the seeds
- 1/2 vanilla bean, slit down the center (if you save pods this is a good time to reuse one)
- a good grating of fresh nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp)
- 8 clementines, cut in half (remove any seeds)
- garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick and a star anise
- 5 fresh sprigs of rosemary
- whole fresh cranberries, for garnish
Put the water and sugar in the crock pot and turn on high. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Juice 4 of the clementines and add to the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients and heat until the wine just gets to a simmer. Then turn the dial to the ‘keep warm’ setting and let it sit for about 30 minutes before serving. You can strain the wine before serving, or not. Serves 4.
Smoked Maple Bourbon Chai Tea
- 24 ounces boiling water
- 8 chai tea bags
- 12 ounces Knob Creek Maple Bourbon
- 4 ounces half-and-half
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 4 cinnamon sticks, for garnish
Pour the steaming water over the chai tea bags in a heatproof mug. Let steep for 3 minutes, then remove the tea bags. Add the maple bourbon, half-and-half, and nutmeg and stir to combine. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. Serves 4.
images via theviewfromgreatisland, Kitchn, thetraychic