Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Holiday Beverages to serve and give as gifts

Prepping for the Holiday Series

We sometimes forget that the best way to communicate the season is through beverages and scents and what better way than with hot beverages.  And these make great gifts too.  You can make seasoning blends for cider, herbal teas or seasoned hot chocolate.

Spiced Lemon Tea Mix

½ cup lemon herbs (lemon thyme, lemon balm, lemon verbena)
1 Tbls. lemon peel
1 Tbls. ginger
2 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. cloves

Blend all ingredients together. Store in a sealed jar.
To use: add 1 to 2 tsp. per cup of boiling water.

Hot Buttered Rum Mix

2 ½ cups brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
½ tsp. salt
1 stick real butter (unsalted room temperature)

Mix brown sugar and spices in a large bowl.  Cut the butter into 4 pieces.  Mix into the sugar well with a spoon or electric mixer.  Place in a plastic container with a tight lid and store in the refrigerator.

To use: Place 1 to 2 tsp. mix in a mug. Add ½ to 1 jigger rum.  Fill mug with boiling water.  Serve with a cinnamon stick or a Tablespoon of ice cream.  Mix will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.

Alternative use: For mulled wine or hot apple cider place 1 tsp. mix in a mug.  Add 1 cup red wine or apple cider.  Heat in microwave for 1 minute.  (You can simmer larger quantities on the stove.)

Cheating Cider Simmer

¼ cup powdered (sugar-free) lemonade mix
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg

You can layer the ingredients in a jar or mix together before placing in jar. (If layering you must include instructions to shake well before using.). 

For decoration tie a cinnamon stick to the package.

To use: stir 1 tsp. of mixture into 1 cup hot apple juice, hot cranberry juice or hot cider.

Lavender Hot Chocolate

You can give this one for the winter holidays or save it for Valentine’s Day.

2 tsp. dried lavender buds
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 Tbls. Dutch process cocoa powder
2 Tbls. sugar
1/8 tsp. Kosher salt

Blend cocoa powder, sugar and salt together.  Package the lavender and bittersweet chocolate separate.  Place all items in a decorative container. 

To use:
3 cups whole milk or half & half
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Pour milk into a medium saucepan and stir in lavender flower buds.  Set over medium heat and bring just to a boil.  Remove the mixture from heat and allow to steep for 3 to 5 minutes.  Strain the milk to remove lavender, then return milk to saucepan and whisk in the chopped bittersweet chocolate until melted and smooth.  Whisk in the cocoa powder mixture.  Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla.  Divide among coffee mugs and serve with a marshmallow or whipped cream.

If crafting these beverages is not your cup of tea, try ours:

Mexican Spiced Cocoa

Sugar-free Hot Cocoa

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