One of the things that makes this season just a bit warmer and more cheery is what we put in our bellies.  Nothing makes a holiday feel quite so much like a holiday as much as its food and drink, and when it comes to the latter, our family enjoys a mix of traditional and not-so-traditional beverages.  For most of these, we can give thanks to our dear friend Saccharomyces cerevisiae (and his allies) for the wonderful transformative alchemy of fermentation…though a few are non-alcoholic (can’t leave the kids out of the fun!).

Momma’s Favorite–Kahlua Hot Chocolate with Bailey’s Creamer:  Hot Chocolate recipe of one’s choice, add a shot of Kahlua and a dash of Bailey’s Creamer.

My Momma’s Bourbon Slush: Combine 12 oz frozen orange juice concentrate thawed, 6 oz frozen lemonade concentrate thawed, 1 1/4 cup bourbon, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 7 cups of water, and two cups of strong tea (pour 2 cups of boiling water over 5 tea bags and steep).  Mix well then put in freezer, stirring every 2-3 hours til set.  For best results, freeze overnight. Remove from freezer 10-15 minutes before serving.  Serve in glass and pour white soda over it, about half and half.

Tidewater Tea: Combine 1 quart strong tea, 1 c cherry juice, 3 tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 c orange juice, 4 whole cloves, 1 cinnamon stick and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Serve hot.

Munchkin Favorite–Peppermint Stick Hot Chocolate: This mix recipe is readily available on the net (makes a great jar gift and a great way to use up those candy canes), but I like the pics on this one best…its super simple to whip up a jar for your kitchen and make it to serve as a before bedtime (and teeth-brushing) snack.  For more fun, serve with a candy cane stir stick!

Wassail Tea: 1/2 c sugar, 1 c water, 3 whole cloves, 1 stick of cinnamon, 1 whole allspice, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 3/4 c OJ, 1/2 c lemon juice, 2 c apple juice–heat and let steep at least an hour before rewarming to serve.

Hot Buttered Rum: In a sauce pan, combine 1 quart apple juice or cider, 1/4 c butter and 1/4 c dark corn syrup. Heat until butter melts and stir continuously…do not boil.  Pour into mugs, add a shot of dark rum or a dash of rum extract.  Serve with a cinnamon stick for a stirrer.

Momma’s Favorite–Pomegranate Cosmo: 2:1:1:1/2 ratio of a quality vodka (in our house, Finlandia), Cointreau (orange liqueur), pomegranate juice and lime juice served cold in a sugar frosted martini glass. Optional–garnish with lime peel.