It’s Christmas and party-time, but the very thought of the lager you enjoyed all summer is giving you the chills. Room temperature is as good as a one-hour freeze in the fridge and coffee is not an option. But Christmas comes with its own breed of festive drinks, and the best part is – they are all served hot! Here are our top three picks for winter and the party season:
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Eggnog, also called egg-milk punch, has traditionally been a Christmas favourite and comes in both virgin and alcoholic versions. This dairy-based drink can be made an alcohol rich indulgence, and if you’ve never tried this before, make sure you make it as traditional as possible – don’t substitute skimmed milk or try to lighten it. It’s rich in calories, but one sip of eggnog will put you in the Christmas spirit. What’s more, you can also make eggnog in custard form. Those who like dairy drinks will love this.
Mulled wine, which is essentially “heated and spiced” wine, is as essential to a traditional Christmas as mince pies or pudding. Heated wine goes back to medieval times, when the temperature and spices were thought to ward off illness. However, it was probably the Victorians who made mulled wine a Christmas favourite. There are dozens of variations on the basic recipe, and everyone has their favourite, but ingredients normally include red wine and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, but you can also include allspice, cardamom, bay leaves, vanilla pods or ginger. A touch of citrus will complement the warm flavours, but tangerine and mandarin will add that extra punch for a Christmasy feel. If you like your drink extra sweet, add a drizzle of honey to it.
It’s warm and sweet and tastes of comfort. The perfect pick-me-up after a long day, this serves both as a refreshing winter-evening drink for a night in, or for a fun get-together of friends at home. A perfect alternative to mulled wine, which may be too sweet for some palates, hot buttered rum is rich, creamy and smooth, with the sweetness of rum being perfectly balanced by the taste of cinnamon. Take small sips of this and gradually feel your cheeks glow a warm red and the tiredness leave your body. But the best part is you can make the spiced butter in advance and store it in the fridge. Just scoop it up, blend it with rum and hot water and settle down for a comfortable evening in.