Holiday Comforts: Beverages

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The holidays can be so stressful. The days are shorter, traffic is heavier, families are running amok and at the end of the day it’s nice to curl up on the couch with a mug of something warm. Or a glass of something cool, I am in Southern California after all. We’ve been known to have Christmas day reach 80 degrees. There is something about the holiday season that inspires me to get a little fancier with my beverages. I thought I would share some of our traditional favorites.

Alcoholic Beverages

I am incredibly picky about seasonal winter beer. I don’t love nutmeg, so I find the ones with the super strong nutmeg/allspice flavor to be a little off-putting. My hands down favorite is Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. We used to have parties the night it was released and I always used to bring some home for my dad. Luckily, it is easily available in Southern California now, so this is one tradition I continue every year. I think the only year I missed having a Cele at Christmas time (since I turned 21 of course) is the year I was pregnant with Spencer.

One of my all time winter favorites when I lived in Northern California was hot buttered rum. I’m not normally a rum drinker, but it the winter I do love the taste of rum combined with the sugar rush of a hot buttered rum topped with whipped cream. I made it from scratch or bought the batter that comes in a tub. This hot buttered rum recipe is similar to the one I used to make.

Oh! And I have to talk about mulled wine. This is the perfect option when want to feel like a fancy-pants grown-up. Plus it is a great excuse to use a punch bowl and wee glass mugs. I love this recipe for mulled wine from Martha; it’s spiced without being overpowering.

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

One of the items on my life list (if I had one) would be to have apple cider on a crisp fall day at an apple orchard in New England. The closest I came to this was visiting Iowa one year in November, but there was a heat wave. Of course. I really like the Trader Joe’s apple cider and this year they have a fantastic cherry cider. So great on a chilly day! Bonus DIY tip: use festive preschool art as place mats if it isn’t cherish it forever material. I sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top, still gives an extra kick, but isn’t as overpowering as a dash of cinnamon. You could also garnish with a cinnamon stick.

I love sparkling, bubbly beverages of all sorts, the kind that get your drunk or not. Some of my favorite fizzies that are also appropriate for the younger set are italian soda, sparkling cider (bonus points for the single serve Martinelli’s in the glass apple), and cranberry spritzers. My dad would always make me a cranberry spritzer when my grandmother and her seabreezes came to visit. Fill a glass with ice, add half cranberry juice and half clear bubbly (soda, club soda, mineral water) and then add a twist of lime. So delicious you don’t even miss the vodka.

One last drink I love, but I prefer to make at home, is peppermint coffee/latte. This is so simple but packs a big punch. This turns out the prettiest if you used foamed milk, but tastes just as good with regular milk. Heat up a bit of milk in a measuring cup, I use 1/4 – 1/2 cup of milk, then foam the milk. Then I put a little peppermint extract into brewed coffee (about 1/8 teaspoon per cup of coffee, but it is definitely a personal preference thing) and pour the coffee (carefully) into the foamed milk. If you pour down the center, there is no need to stir. You could also throw some whiskey in there and make peppermint irish coffee. Yum.

What are your favorite holiday beverages?

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6 Responses to “Holiday Comforts: Beverages”

  1. TMae says:

    I know this post is about beverages, but I’m going to digress and mention that my sister used to live in San Diego, and the first Xmas that I spent with her was…2003 (?). Anyway, I’d been living in Virginia for a few years and figured, “Yeah, SD can be warm, jeans and t-shirt should be fine.” I almost died. I think it was 80+ and I spent a week trying to find shorts so I didn’t die from heat exhaustion.


    Amy Reply:

    My favorite ridiculously hot christmas memory is from elementay school. My sister and I got snow coats because we were going to winter girl scout camp. I was like 85 degrees, but I insisted on wearing the jacket all day over my nightgown.


  2. Cole says:

    Mommy and I *love* apple cider!


    Amy Reply:

    Spencer hasn’t tried apple cider yet, but I’ll make him some as soon as the weather stays cool.


  3. Suzanne says:

    Tomorrow we are going to a cider mill to drink warm mulled cider made on site and eat apple cider donuts. If you can get here by 10 am I will totally bring you along. Please?


  4. Melissa says:

    Hot chocolate is always a favorite around these parts. Or coffee with some baileys in it. Mmmmmm. I’m super stoked to try that hot buttered rum recipe!


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