Another installment in the Holiday Bliss Series!
The Holidays are coming! Can you feel it? Can you feel the coolness in the air? We've become energized again. The long, lazy and hot days of the summer are now behind us. We are just a couple of weeks away from Halloween... There's an excitement that comes this time every year as the leaves turn and begin to fall and blanket our lawns in magnificent colors... as we reach for sweaters and capes to wrap around our shoulders. Instead of water bottles, we cradle warm paper cups of tea or coffee or chai to warm our hands as we cheer our children on in their fall sports... We sip our beverages, savoring their flavors and savoring their warmth. We joke about adding a drop of rum to our warm cider or some Bailey's to our coffee. At the end of the day, when homework has been done, children have been bathed and clothes all laid out for the next morning... at the end of the day when we can slip into our soft flannel pajamas and curl up with a good book, we turn on the stove and fill the kettle or the coffee maker. That idea we had at our son's soccer game sounds divine. Tonight it will a cup of decaf but tonight we'll add the Bailey's to it for a little something special. And this feels just like the holidays!
I adore mulled wine. I wish I could make it in smaller batches. If I could I would have a cup every night! I first had mulled wine when I was about 13 and visiting La Jolie Grandmere one Christmas at her Oxfordshire home. The neighbors were all over with their children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews. The children went out caroling in the village while the elders stayed at home in the warm and merry home. A young boy took it upon himself to look over me and make sure that I was not alone and without someone to talk to. He was lovely and sweet and rather cute! He was so much older than I -- about 2 or 3 years! When we returned we all had some mulled wine to warm ourselves up from being out in the cold. When he had to leave that night he thanked me for his company and he gave me a sweet kiss on my left cheek. (I haven't washed it since!) From that night on, I've had a sweet spot for a warm cup of mulled wine.
• 2 bottles dry red wine
• 4 ounces port or brandy
• 12 whole cloves
• 4 cinnamon sticks
• 1 large orange, zested
• Serving suggestion: Garnish with cinnamon sticks or freshly ground nutmeg
Combine ingredients in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Do not allow mixture to boil. Heat for 20 minutes and serve in a large, heat resistant punch bowl.
There are other wonderful, aromatic and festive warm cocktails to be enjoyed during the cold season ahead of us...
Recipe from Warm Sangria Recipes.com
* 6 cups cranberry juice
* 2 cups orange juice
* 2 cups dry red wine
* 1/3 cup brown sugar
* 2 cinnamon sticks
* 1/2-1 teaspoon whole cloves
* 1 pinch nutmeg
* 2 oranges, cut in wedges
* 1 lemon, cut in wedges
* 1 cup cranberries
1. Heat all ingredients in a saucepan
on medium low heat, stirring until
sugar is dissolved.
2. When liquid is hot but not boiling, remove from heat.
3. Let sit 5 minutes, then strain
through a fine sieve, reserving fruit.
4. Pour liquid into mugs or heat
resistant glasses, adding reserved
fruit for garnish.
Warm Apple Pie Cocktail
Recipe from Sunset.com
Time: 5 minutes, plus 30 minutes to steep.
Yield: Serves 6
• 1 1/2 qts. fresh unfiltered apple juice
• 3 cinnamon sticks (2 1/2 in. long)
• 12 whole cloves
• 6 whole allspice
• 1 1/2 cups spiced rum
• Sweetened whipped cream
Combine apple juice and whole spices in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let sit 30 minutes. To serve, reheat juice, then strain into heatproof mugs, dividing evenly. Add 1/4 cup rum to each and top with whipped cream.
Why not have some friends over for coffee and dessert? This is an easy get together to host that involves far less work and clean up than a dinner party does and won't strain your budget.
- Have on hand, milk, sugar, whipped cream, crushed peppermint sticks and lemon rinds in pretty little bowls
- Liquors that work well with coffee -- Irish creme, Triple Sec, Peppermint Schnapps, Kahlua, Frangelico, Amaretto and Butterscotch Schnapps
- In pretty bowls or jars place candy canes, cinnamon sticks, rock candy lollipops for an added air of festivity!
I tend to stay away from the fancy drinks for the most part and stick with my red or white wine, but during the Holiday Season there are so many wonderful festive drinks that can be enjoyed earlier in the day with a light brunch or later on before a more formal dinner.
Are you look for something more formal
Cranberry and Pear Bellini
Recipe from Martha Stewart
• 1 cup pear nectar
• 1 cup cranberry juice cocktail
• 1 bottle Prosecco or other dry sparkling white wine
1. In a small pitcher or large liquid measuring cup, combine pear nectar and cranberry juice cocktail. Pour 1/4 cup juice mixture into each of eight champagne glasses. Dividing evenly, top with Prosecco or other dry sparkling white wine.
Recipe from Southern Living
Prep: 30 min., Stand: 30 min. Place turbinado sugar in a saucer rather than a bowl. The thin layer of sugar will make the rim of the glass more attractive.
Yield: Makes 8 servings
• 3 navel oranges, peeled and sectioned
• red grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
• 1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into cubes
• 1 1/2 tablespoons orange liqueur or orange juice
• 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
• (750-milliliter) bottle sparkling rosé wine
• 1/2 cup frozen grated coconut, thawed and toasted
• 8 maraschino cherries
1. Toss together oranges, grapefruit, and pineapple; set aside.
2. Pour orange liqueur into a shallow saucer. Dip rims of 8 glasses in liqueur; dip rims in sugar, and let stand 30 minutes to dry completely.
3. Spoon fruit mixture evenly into glasses. Add rosé wine, filling three-fourths full; top with grated coconut and cherries. Serve immediately.
Blood Orange Champagne Punch
Recipe from Martha Stewart
Serves 10 to 12
• 2 1/4 cups freshly squeezed or frozen blood-orange juice
• 2 750-ml bottles champagne, chilled
1. Pour 3 tablespoons juice in each champagne flute. Fill flutes with champagne, and serve.
Looking for a way to dress up your cocktails?
Use a candy cane
in place of a cocktail stirrer,
Place a few cranberries on a cocktail stirrer
Place a sprig or rosemary, lavender
or float some holly leaves (with berries if possible)
in your glass.
Most importantly, greet and serve
your guests with a smile!
For more wonderful holiday ideas please visit these wonderful ladies!
Mindy Lockard Getting your stationery wardrobe ready for the holidays + a giveaway Lily Lemon Tree In Vogue at the Tailgate Party: The Height of Chic on the Twenty Yard Line