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More Gourmet Recipes  

Beyond Wine: Yuletide Beverages with a Difference (December 1, 2005)

Christmas is a time when you consume more beverage alcohol than usual. Here are some recipes to kick-start your party.

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (45 KB)

Home-made Egg Nog

Serves 8

  • 6 Large eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1½ cup brandy
  • ½ cup rum
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 cups cream
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • Nutmeg to sprinkle

Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs. Beat the yolks slowly while simultaneously adding the sugar; do this until the mixture is pale and golden. Now slowly add in the brandy and rum, then beat in the milk and half the cream.

Set aside until just before serving, then whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the eggnog mixture. Whip the remaining cream and icing sugar until thick. Top each glass of eggnog with whipped cream and a shake of nutmeg.

(If you have left over egg nog, use it to make French toast. Heating in a fry pan will drive off the alcohol during cooking.)


Wassail was originally not a drink, but a practice of caroling. In Merry old England carolers would bring a cup with them, and, as they sang before the homes of wealthy citizens, their mugs would be filled with a hot spiced ale, often with a roasted apple slice floating in it.

This recipe is a variation on that ancient theme.

Serves 6

  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp mace
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 baked apples

Heat the bottle of red wine. Meanwhile, separate the eggs. Beat the yolks and whites separately, then fold both together (egg whites should be stiff). Put spices in water and heat for a few minutes to release flavor.

Now pour all into a punch bowl along with baked apples. Serve warm.

Hot Mulled Wine

Wine is not often consumed hot anymore, but at one time it was a heartening treat in the winter. With Christmassy spices like cloves, it can bring a rosy glow after a sleigh ride – or a good old-fashioned snowball fight.

Here is a simple recipe that will introduce you to this pleasant drink.

  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 12 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Add all ingredients to a pot and steep gently over medium heat until hot. Avoid boiling the mixture. Serve in mugs.

N.B. Heating the wine drives off the alcohol. So it's much less alcoholic than if you just drank the bottle of wine!

Champagne Cocktail

Serves 12

  • 1 cup Triple Sec
  • 1 cup brandy
  • ½ cup Chambord
  • 2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1 quart chilled ginger ale
  • 2 chilled 750 mL bottles dry champagne

In a bowl combine the Triple Sec, the brandy, the Chambord and the pineapple juice and chill the mixture, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight. In a large punch bowl combine the Triple Sec mixture, the ginger ale, and the champagne and add ice cubes.

Cider & Tequila Toddy

Serves 6

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup cranberry juice cocktail
  • ½ cup tequila
  • ¼ cup Triple Sec or other orange-flavoured liqueur
  • Garnish: lime slices

In a saucepan, heat cider and cranberry juice cocktail just until hot (do not let boil) and remove from heat. Stir in tequila and liqueur. Serve toddies in mugs, garnished with lime slices.

Damn The Weather

Serves 6

  • 2 cups Ruby Port
  • 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Chilled club soda or seltzer water
  • 6 lemon slices for garnish

In a large pitcher stir together well the port and the juices. Divide the drink among 6 glasses filled with ice cubes. Top off the drinks with the soda and garnish them with the lemon slices.

Tree Trimming Cider Punch

Serves 12

  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 2 large apples (such as Granny Smith or Rome Beauty), peeled, left whole
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Ground nutmeg

Pour apple cider into large pot. Insert 6 cloves into each apple. Add apples and cinnamon sticks to pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and barely simmer over very low heat one hour to allow flavors to blend. (Can be prepared one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over low heat before continuing.) Ladle hot cider punch into mugs. Sprinkle with nutmeg and serve.

Non-Alcoholic Hot Tea Punch

  • 6 cups water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 5 tea bags
  • 1½ cups orange juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Bring first 4 ingredients to boil in heavy large saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add tea bags. Cover and let steep 10 minutes. Discard tea bags. Add orange and lemon juices to punch. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before continuing.) Using slotted spoon, remove whole spices. Serve hot.

Irish Punch

The best way to get warm and cozy after a day outdoors is with this drink, in Ireland known simply as "hot whiskey."

Serves 6

  • 1¾ cups Irish whiskey
  • ¼ cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 6 thick lemon slices
  • 24 whole cloves
  • 3 cups hot water

Mix whiskey and sugar in pitcher to dissolve sugar. Divide among 6 heat-proof glasses. Stud each lemon slice with 4 cloves. Place 1 slice in each glass. Pour ½ cup hot water into each; stir to blend.


Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (45 KB)




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