November has blown in on a gust of dropping temperatures. The days of BBQ and beer are long gone, replaced by cold weather roasts and winter holiday drinks. We found some budget-friendly recipes for DIY cocktails that will keep your inner fires burning and your guests in a festive mood.
Drinks to Warm You Up.After a long day battling the cold nothing warms the body quite like a hot drink spiced with a hint of relaxation.
- Hot Toddy: An oldie but goodie, this simple brew uses what you have on hand. Start with a cup of hot tea and add some lemon, honey, and a spot of brandy. No brandy in the cupboard? Just substitute bourbon or dark rum. This is the perfect remedy for a sore throat.
- Spiced Hot Chocolate: Liven up traditional hot chocolate with chocolate vodka and garnish with marshmallows. Sip and savor slowly by the fire.
Holiday Drinks.Impress guests with these fancy party drinks. No one has to know they’re easy to make and also quite cheap.
- Candy Cane: This Pinterest-inspired holiday drink combines equal parts white chocolate liqueur and peppermint schnapps. Be sure to rim each glass with crushed candy canes for an extra kick.
- Eggnog Martini: Single Minded Women has assembled a 12 Days of Christmas Cocktails list, recipes included. Our favorite is the simple eggnog martini, which calls for mixing eggnog with vanilla vodka and amaretto and garnishing with a dusting of nutmeg or cinnamon.
Not-Just-for-Warm-Weather Sangria.When most people think of sangria, thoughts turn to a light, refreshing drink on a warm summer afternoon. But you can also enjoy sangria in the cold of winter. The appeal of sangria is its low-cost flexibility -- whatever seasonal fruits you have on hand in addition to the mandatory white or red wine.
- Fall Sangria: This holiday drink recipe involves mixing apples, oranges, a lemon, a cup or two of bourbon, half a cup of triple sec, one-quarter cup simple syrup, cinnamon sticks, and hot sauce to taste. Let everything marinate for a day, and then add a couple of bottles of white wine and a few cups of apple cider; adjust proportions to taste.
- Winter Sangria: For a simple winter sangria, combine cranberries, pomegranate seeds, a cut-up orange, and apple slices with red or white wine. Adding a cup of orange juice and a few cups of cranberry juice will deepen the flavor.
Non-Alcoholic Drinks.Surely there are times when you or your guests will prefer non-alcoholic party drinks -- and let’s not forget the kids.
- Grinch Punch: Children will love this Pinterest-inspired holiday drink idea. Mix Sprite with lime sherbet in a glass rimmed with green sprinkles. Enjoy on family movie night or while cuddled up with a good book.
- Homemade Hot Cocoa: This recipe from Pennies on a Platter involves mixing three cups nonfat dry milk powder, two cups powdered sugar, one-and-a-half cups unsweetened cocoa powder, one-and-a-half cups white chocolate chips, and one-quarter tablespoon salt; blend in a food processor until the chocolate chips are ground up. When you’re ready to make a cup of hot cocoa, combine one-third cup of the mix with one cup of hot milk. There are two compelling reasons to try this cold weather brew – it’s much better than processed store-bought hot chocolate mixes and it makes a lot. Store the dry mix for three months in an airtight container and it will last you all winter.