You guessed it.. the magical answer is: Alcohol.  Winter is great, right?  Family, friends, presents, holidays, freezing cold, being snowed in, lack of daylight.. Okay, you caught me.. I hate winter time. But in this post, we’ll go over ways to make it, and any nagging, visiting in-laws, more bearable.

The “Happy Get-Together with Family and Friends” drink:  Hot Apple Cider

This one is awesome. It’s easy, so very very tasty, nice and warm for when it’s cold outside, makes your entire house smell amazing, and magically makes your Great Aunt Ruth’s stories about growing up on the farm approximately 83% more interesting.

Here’s how it goes down. Get all these things:

  • 8 cups apple cider
  • ½ cup real maple syrup
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice berries
  • 1 orange peel, cut into strips
  • 1 lemon peel, cut into strips
  • A big ol’ bottle of Black Strap Rum (brand of your choice)

Now.. obtain a crock pot. If you don’t have one, shame on you. They’re the easiest, laziest way to cook a hot meal ever. Pour in the apple cider and maple syrup, crank that bad boy up to high. Take everything else, put it in a cheese cloth, wrap it up into a pouch, and tie off the top with kitchen string/twine – and toss it in the cider. Let that steep for about 15 minutes, and serve. Grab some mugs, fill them a 1/3 of the way up with rum, the rest of the way with cider, and bust out the Christmas Carols. Feel free to top it off with a stick of cinnamon in the mug, or finely chopped apple right in there.

The “It’s Just Cold Enough to Make Me Mostly Anti-Social” drink:  Spiked Hot Chocolate

This one is great for when you want to spend your time cuddled up in front of a fire on a bear-skin rug like a frickin’ Christmas card. We all do that, right? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • Plenty of Kapali/Kahlua

Pour the milk, cream, and sugar together in a saucepan over med-high heat, and let it get just barely to boiling. Add the chocolate, and whisk over heat until melted (but NOT boiling). Same with the cider, fill your mug about 1/3 of the way with liquor, and the rest with hot chocolate. And yes, you can totally top this off with those tiny little marshmallows. Especially if you find the ones that are shaped like little hearts and unicorns and other br00tal stuff. That makes it 3 times more badass.

The “That’s It. I’m Sick of You People” drink:  Egg Nog and Maker’s

This particular drink (and photo) comes from our favorite Jacob, who definitely knows a thing or two about combining misanthropy and alcohol.  This is for when you want to put on A Christmas Story, throw an elf hat on your cat, and pretend you’re being festive and social. Now.. honestly, if you’re at this point, it’s probably best not to over-exert yourself, and just use Jacob’s method: buy pre-made egg nog, a bottle of Maker’s, and go to town.

However, for you over-achievers.. here’s what you’ll need to make it yourself:

  • 1 cup Maker’s Mark
  • 2 tablespoon sugar syrup
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla essence [yes. essence.]
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • a pinch of salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup whipped cream
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon powder

Now’s when you start regretting being an over-achiever: Beat eggs, sugar syrup and salt till the ingredients are mixed properly. Now, add milk slowly while whisking so that it forms a smooth mixture. Heat a pan and add the contents, stirring it continuously on a low flame, till the mixture become thick. Allow the mixture to cool for a while. Take a sieve and drain the mixture to remove unwanted pieces. Pour it into a large container and add vanilla essence, add PLENTY of Maker’s and cover it with a plastic or foil. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Before serving, mix the egg custard and cream, whip, til it becomes frothy. Sprinkle nutmeg powder, and serve chilled.  I sure hope you had fun with that one. If not.. that just means you’re ready for drink number four.

The “I Have No Interest In Winter Or Anything It Has To Offer” drink:  Sangria

This is when you start realizing all your friends are sending you texts like “man, SCREW this weather! An icicle totally tried to attack my face today!” every day. So what do you do? Invite them all over.. have everyone bring an ingredient for fajitas, throw on some Mariachi music, and make some delicious Sangria. Have each person bring something from this list:

  • 2 Bottles of red wine (any red wine will do, really. Use the cheap stuff. You’re not going to taste the intricacies of the wine with this)
  • 1 Lemon cut into wedges
  • 1 Orange cut into wedges
  • 1 Lime cut into wedges
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • Splash of orange juice or lemonade
  • Half a cup of Triple Sec
  • A cup or two of Gin or Vodka (optional)
  • 1 bag of frozen mixed berries
  • 1 Small can of crushed pineapples (with juice)
  • 4 Cups ginger ale

Now, you can do this one of two ways.  If you have the time and resources, combine everything Except the ginger ale into a large pitcher. For the citrus fruit, squeeze the wedges into the mixture, and toss in the full wedge. Let it marinade over night and really soak in those flavors. Right before you serve it, add the ginger ale, and serve over ice. If everyone’s contributing, you’ll have to do this on the fly when they all get there. In which case, throw everything together, and serve over a LOT of ice. You can even put it all in a blender and make sangria slushies. The first method tastes better. FYI. When it sits over night, it really gives those juices a chance to come together properly.

Now.. turn up the heat, bust out the maracas, and let’s pretend that whole ‘snow’ thing was just a bad dream.

And lastly…. .

The “When All Else Fails” drink:  Totally Self-Explanatory

Cheers!

♥ Jackie