Doing festive things for a holiday, like watching your favorite holiday movie, or hanging lights around your home all evoke nostalgic, happy feelings. Even if we are seeing the days become shorter, the weather getting colder and winter blues setting in; enjoying winter and holiday foods and drinks is a mood booster just like stringing up lights around your home. These smells, tastes, sounds and sites all tap into our nostalgia and trigger mood lifting feelings.
While the holidays can sometimes evoke loneliness, or maybe we don’t feel like decorating or celebrating this year, simply remembering the magic we felt as children or positive memories from past holiday seasons can lift our moods. Holiday traditions (which can be ones everyone has or ones that are unique to you) help you find more meaning and satisfaction in your life. Many people feel a stronger sense of social connection by having traditions. Holiday food and drinks are a great way to socialize, build connections and help make our December special every year. Enjoy responsibly!
Important Question - How can I make my holiday drinks low sugar?
The Queen of Delicious reminds us that, “A syrup is made by dissolving sugar into liquid. We are trying to make a healthy, sugar-free holiday beverage here, so making a real syrup is not the best of the ideas. What we are after is more like an extract. To make a syrup, use erythritol or stevia. The consistency is not syrupy, but you can achieve a syrup-like sweetness with those two. The healthiest option is to make the extract without any added sweetener and sweeten the drink in portions.
Some of the berry juices are already really sweet, and you might not want to add more sweetness to them at all. In the case that people want them very sweet, use honey or maple syrup and start by adding one teaspoon per mug. Erythritol can be used in this scenario too. And everyone can add the sweetening as much as they need and like.”
Mulled Wine - Gluhwein and Glögg
There are many classic beautiful and delicious holiday drinks to enjoy this December. Whether you find yourself in a European Christmas Market or sitting on the beach next to a palm tree with twinkling lights, each of these cocktails is sure to kindle your inner holiday cheer.
According to vinino.com, Mulled wine originated in the 2nd century. It was created by the Romans who would heat wine to defend their bodies against the cold winter. As the Romans conquered much of Europe throughout the next century, their love for mulled wine spread across their empire and the regions they traded with.
As its popularity continued to grow throughout the middle ages, Europeans would mix heated wine with spices because they believed it would promote health and avoid sickness. They would also use herbs and flowers as natural sweeteners to make unpalatable wines taste a lot nicer. The big turning point came in the 1890s, when mulled wine became associated with Christmas. Every wine merchant across the country had their own unique recipe to share. Now virtually every country has their own twist on mulled wine using their own unique blends of reds or whites and spices and herbs to accompany it.
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon of stevia (or use the above advice and have people add their own small sweetener to their individual cup how they choose)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 8 whole allspice berries
- 1 star anise pod
- 2 oranges, halved
- 10 cloves, whole
- 8 juniper berries
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1½ bottles Cabernet Sauvignon
- Orange twists, for garnish
- Cinnamon stick, for garnish
- Combine water, orange juice, sugar, cinnamon sticks, allspice and star anise in a pot over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce to a mild simmer.
- Juice the orange halves into the simmering liquid. Stud the remaining rinds with the cloves and gently place into the pot. Add juniper berries. Next, juice the lemon into the simmering liquid, and place the halves into the pot.
- Reduce the mixture to half of its original volume, add the Cabernet Sauvignon and heat until just below simmering. Ladle into glass mugs. Garnish with orange twist and cinnamon stick. Serves 8.
- 1 bottle red wine
- 1 1/2 cups bourbon, or vodka
1/2 teaspoon stevia (or use the above advice and have people add their own small sweetener to their individual cup how they choose)
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 2 tablespoons raisins, plus 1 teaspoon for serving
- 1 tablespoon green cardamom pods
- 2 tablespoons sliced ginger root
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 8 whole cloves
- 2 tablespoons almonds, blanched and slivered
- Orange slices, for garnish
- Combine the wine, bourbon or vodka (if using), sugar, orange zest, raisins, cardamom pods, ginger root, cinnamon stick, and cloves into a 2- to 3-quart pot. Heat to 175 F (77 C) and let simmer for 2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let it stand and steep for 1 hour.
- Strain to remove the fruit and spices and gently reheat the punch.
- Add a few almonds and raisins to each serving glass and garnish with a slice of orange.
- ¾ cup water
- 1 ½ ounces whiskey
- 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice, to taste
- 1 lemon round
- 1 cinnamon stick (optional, for garnish)
- Optional for others who can have added sugar- 2 to 3 teaspoons honey, to taste
- In a teapot or saucepan, bring the water to a simmer. Pour the hot water into a mug.
- Add the whiskey, 2 teaspoons honey and 2 teaspoon lemon juice. Stir until the honey has disappeared into the hot water. Taste, and add 1 teaspoon honey for more sweetness, and/or 1 teaspoon more lemon juice for more zing.
- Garnish with a lemon round and cinnamon stick (if using). Enjoy!
According to thespruceeats.com It is believed that eggnog began in Europe. As early as the 13th century, medieval monks in Britain were known to drink "posset," a warm ale punch with eggs and figs. Over time, this likely merged with the various milk and wine punches often served at social gatherings.
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 3/4 teaspoon stevia (or use the above advice and have people add their own small sweetener to their individual cup how they choose)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 cups heavy cream, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup bourbon, preferably Maker's Mark
- 1/4 cup dark rum, preferably Mount Gay
- 1/4 cup Cognac, preferably Remy Martin Grand Cru
- Freshly grated nutmeg, for sprinkling
- Beat yolks in a very large bowl until thick and pale. Slowly beat in sugar. Whisk in milk and 2 cups cream. Mix in bourbon, rum, and Cognac. Cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
- Just before serving, beat whites until stiff peaks form. Fold whites into eggnog. Whisk remaining 1 cup cream until stiff peaks form, and fold into eggnog. (Alternatively, you can fold half the whipped cream into eggnog, and top with the remaining half.) Sprinkle with nutmeg.
- 2 quarts apple cider
- 1 cup spiced syrup
- 2 cups frozen cranberries, divided
- 1 medium apple, sliced
- 1 medium orange, sliced
- 2 (11.5-ounce) cans chilled sparkling blood orange juice
- 1 (750-milliliter) bottle chilled sparkling grape juice
- Cinnamon sticks, for garnish
- In a large pitcher, combine the apple cider and spiced syrup. Stir well.
- Add about half of the frozen cranberries and all of the apple and orange slices to the pitcher. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 3 to 4 hours) to allow the flavors to marry. Keep the remaining cranberries frozen.
- When it's time to serve, add the sweetened apple cider and all of the fruit to a punch bowl. Finish it off with the sparkling blood orange and grape juices. Stir to combine.
- For smaller punch bowls, mix only half of the three liquids in the bowl. Combine the remainder in the apple cider pitcher and store it in the fridge. When the punchbowl needs to be refilled, it will be chilled and ready for you to pour.
- Ladle the punch into individual glasses, adding a few frozen cranberries to each to keep the drinks cold. Garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick as well.