To help make your spirits bright during our Yule Ball (or anything you celebrate this time of year!), here are a few festive libations. Most of these Yuletide cocktails have an alcoholic element in the recipe but are easily made non-alcoholic. They’re the perfect pairing for a watch along or DIY craft! Stir something up and join us as we bid adieu to 2018 and welcome the new year!
Here we come a-wassailing…
Wassailing is a medieval ritual to protect the cider apple trees and ensure a good harvest in the coming year. Part of the festivities included drinking wassail, a hot cider with spices and brandy or sherry. There are a number of recipes for making wassail, some as easy as pouring the ingredients into a slow-cooker and walking away for a few hours. This recipe comes from Curious Cuiseniere and, while more involved, is more like the traditional beverage.
Prep time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 8 – 10 servings
- 4-5 apples, peeled, halved and cored
- 1 ½ Tbsp brown sugar
- 8 c apple cider (2 quarts)
- ½ c brandy
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 8 whole allspice berries
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 eggs, separated*
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Place the apple halves, cut side up, on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for 45 min, until soft.
- While the apples bake, pour the apple cider and brandy into a large soup pot and warm the mixture over medium-low heat. Do not bring it to a boil. Add the ginger and nutmeg. Place the allspice berries, cloves, and cinnamon sticks into a tea bag or tie them into a bundle of cheesecloth to keep them from getting lost as they steep. Place the bag into the cider and heat the cider until warm, 20-30 min. (Alternately, place the wassail mixture into a large slow cooker. Heat on low for 4-5 hours.)
- In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks until pale in color and frothy using an electric hand mixer. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Blend the egg yolks into the beaten egg whites, mixing until just combined.
- Temper the beaten eggs by slowly pouring 1 cup of the hot wassail mixture into the eggs, whisking as you pour.
- Remove the spice bundle from the wassail and pour the mixture into a bunch bowl. Add the tempered eggs to the wassail punch, stirring gently to combine. (The froth will mix in slightly, but then float to the top.) Float the warm apple halves in the punch bowl.
- Serve the warm wassail in mugs.
- Recipe Notes *If you want to serve the wassail without the eggs, feel free, the spiced and spiked cider is wonderful on its own.
Mulled wine goes by many names the world over. The Swedes call it glögg and the Germans and Austrians glühwein (for English speakers, my understanding is that this sounds something like glue-vine). But wherever you may happen to be, when someone hands you a mug of this warm, deep red liquid, you’re in for a real treat. This recipe for glühwein came from the Austrian National Tourist Office,
Servings 10 servings
- 2 bottles of good quality red wine
- 2 cups of water
- juice of 2 lemons
- 5 oz sugar
- 6 cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 oranges – cut into bitesize pieces
- oranges for decoration
- Put all ingredients in a pot and bring it close to boil
- For additional taste cut 2 oranges in to bite size pieces and add to the wine
- Let simmer
- Remove clove, cinnamon stick before serving it into lightly pre-warmed glasses
- Decorate glasses with a slice of orange
If this still seems like too much work, there are a number of pre-spiced and bottled glühweins that can be purchased and heated in a saucepan on the stove. Quick and easy!
‘Tis sure but we love an Irish Coffee
There are any number of ways to make an Irish Coffee, some fancier than others. But a good basic Irish Coffee consists of good coffee, dark brown sugar, a true Irish whisky, and good whipped cream. The Spruce Eats recipe is simple and refined.
Prep: 7 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Yield: 1 serving
- 4 ounces strong, rich hot coffee
- 1 1/2 ounce Irish whiskey
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 ounce lightly whipped heavy cream
- Gather the ingredients.
- Pour the sugar into a warm Irish coffee glass, mug, or other heat-proof glass.
- Add the coffee and stir until dissolved.
- Add the Irish whiskey and stir again.
- Float the cream on top by pouring it over the back of a spoon.
- Do not stir again. Instead, drink the coffee through the cream.
But where has all the hot buttered rum gone?
Hot buttered rum became a variation of the hot toddy when Jamaica was colonized in the mid-1600s. Rum, then an easy import to the colonial United States, replaced other liquers and was fortified with butter. Epicurious provides this traditional recipe.
Prep time 10 mins
Mix time 5 hours
Total time 5 hours 10 mins
- 2 Cups brown sugar
- 1/2 Cup butter
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 sticks cinnamon
- 6 whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 2 Cups Rum
- heavy cream; whipped
- Put all ingredients, except rum and cream, and nutmeg into crockpot.
- Add 2 quarts hot water.
- Stir well.
- Cover pot and cook on LOW for 5 hours.
- Add rum; stir to blend.
- Serve from pot in warm mugs with a scoop of whipped cream and a dusting of nutmeg.
But if you’re looking for something a little different and have had a problematic experience with this cocktail in the past, check out American Food Roots recipe. This recipe includes ice cream, which acts as a bonding agent for the “oil slick” that sometimes occurs in this concoction.
The best of all nogs, Eggnog
Eggnog is perhaps the most contentious yuletide cocktail. Some people love it, some hate it, and some can’t get past the idea of raw eggs. This recipe from Mix That Drink offers variations both cooked and uncooked, alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
This makes a little over two quarts. For the non-alcoholic version, just leave out the brandy and rum.
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup brandy
- 1/4 cup dark rum (or bourbon)
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- Beat the yolks at medium speed until they’re frothy.
- If you’re not cooking it, gradually add the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg as you continue beating. Otherwise, skip to Step 3.
- If you’re cooking it, warm the milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it starts to bubble. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly whisk the warm milk into the eggs. Put the mixture back on medium heat and cook, stirring gently, until it reaches 160 degrees.
- Stir in the whipping cream, brandy and rum.
- Chill it until you’re ready to serve.
- It’s best to keep it chilled at all times.
- Garnish each individual serving with the nutmeg sprinkled on top and a Cinnamon Stick
If you love eggnog and want something even simpler, take a tip from staffer Jen, who adds a shot of amaretto to store-bought eggnog.
Hotsy totsy, hot toddy!
The hot toddy is medicinal. No, really! Long have hot toddies been used to stave off a winter cold. It is perhaps the easiest of all yuletide cocktails to make and personalize. Use more honey, less lemon, add a teabag, try rum instead of whisky! The options are endless! This base recipe from Cookie & Kate is a wonderful starting place.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1 cocktail
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 ounces whiskey
- 2 to 3 teaspoons honey, to taste
- 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice, to taste
- 1 lemon round
- 1 cinnamon stick (optional, for garnish)
- 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!
Make it vegan: Substitute maple syrup for the honey.
Change it up: Instead of whiskey, use brandy or dark/spiced rum. For extra flavor, you could also steep 1 tea bag (green or black tea) in the hot water for 2 to 3 minutes, or add a splash of apple cider. Change up the garnishes by adding a slice of apple or fresh peeled ginger, whole cloves or anise.
Love in a mug – Hot Cocoa
Have you heard of this? Hot cocoa? Also sometimes known as hot chocolate? It’s the newest thing these days and the kids are going wild with variations. Ok, ok, you probably already know this one. And, more than likely, you know about its roots in Mayan and Aztec cultures. But we want to hear about YOUR hot cocoa recipe. Do you add cinnamon? Marshmallows? SALT?! Stir it with a peppermint stick? Let us know in the comments below, or if you’ve got any other favorite Yuletide cocktails suggestions!