How long has it been since you’ve had real, homemade eggnog? Or maybe mulled wine? How about wassail or hot buttered rum? They were all holiday classics many, many years ago before busy lives and quick mixes took over. But they’re making a comeback! As people look for more sustainable solutions, especially in their food and drink choices, these old classics reveal something magical about themselves. They rely on seasonal ingredients, they’re delicious, and today, it’s easy to find locally-produced or organic spirits to complete them. Grab your favorite mugs and enjoy!
The real deal isn’t that thick, gloppy stuff in the grocery store. The real deal is rich, intense and a true holiday treat. Some local creameries might produce small batches of eggnog during the holidays, and it’s worth looking for them. If not, give a homemade nog a try. Don’t be intimidated by the long looking recipe, it really isn’t difficult and this eggnog recipe from Food Network’s Alton Brown gives step-by-step instructions. Serve eggnog in a gorgeous cordial glass for an extra special treat.
This treat actually dates back to the Roman Empire, but it really came into its own in Victorian England as a traditional holiday libation. You almost don’t need a recipe for this and it can be served piping hot, barely warm or even room temperature.
Just combine one bottle of red wine with an equal amount of apple cider in a large saucepan. Add 1/4 cup honey, 2 cinnamon sticks, the zest and juice of one orange, 4 whole cloves, and 3 anise stars. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with a garnish of orange slice.
It’s a greeting, an activity and a drink. Meaning, “be you healthy”, wassailing was originally intended to ensure the health of the orchards and the beverage started out as a mulled beer or hard cider. You can follow Alton Brown’s recipe for an amazing homemade wassail, or you can go the quick route of mixing apple cider, orange juice, spices and apple and citrus slices in a saucepan and bringing them to a simmer for 10 minutes. Keep it kid friendly, or add your favorite rum, brandy or whiskey for an adult treat. Top the quickie wassail with whipped cream if desired.
Hot Buttered Rum
What do you get when you combine the ready availability of sugar and rum? A classic holiday beverage that dates back to Colonial America, of course!
This recipe makes about 12 drinks, but the joy of hot buttered rum is making the butter mixture ahead of time, then mixing the drink as desired.
- 1 stick unsalted butter, soft
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 pinch salt
Combine all ingredients and mix until thoroughly blended. Roll into a log, wrap and store in the refrigerator.
To mix 1 drink:
- 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture
- 3 ounces of rum
- 3 to 4 ounces boiling water
Place the butter mixture in the bottom of a mug, top with rum then stir in the boiling water. Stir well and serve, garnished with a cinnamon stick. You could also mix in a bit of vanilla ice cream, or top the drink with whipped cream for an even richer treat.