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Warm on the Inside

Warm Drink Recipes

The holiday months are filled with delicious comfort drinks that hit the spot on cold weather days. I love wrapping my hands around a warm cup of Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice with extra caramel drizzle. However, a Grande size packs a whopping 380 calories in just one serving. It’s okay to indulge sometimes but to decrease some of the extra calories, make your own balmy cup of cocoa or cider with healthier ingredients. The recipes below are approximately 192-250 calories. We love that!

Comfy Cozy Drinks for Cold Winter Days

Maple Hot Chocolate

15 mins · 4 Servings


¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking cocoa

⅛ teaspoon salt

¼ cup hot water

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

4 cups milk

1 teaspoon maple flavoring

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

12 large marshmallows


Prep/ 15 m /Ready In/15 m

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa, and salt. Stir in hot water and butter; bring to a boil. Add the milk, maple flavoring, vanilla, and 8 marshmallows. Heat through, stirring occasionally, until marshmallows are melted. Ladle into mugs and top each with a marshmallow.

Lower Calorie Ingredients: 2% milk, almond, or coconut milk (unsweetened). Smaller marshmallows or light whip cream. Substitute butter with Smart Balance Heart Right/Low Cal butter or Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Butter (Nutiva brand is our favorite!)

Hot Cinnamon Apple Cider 15 mins 6 servings (1 cup each)


1-quart apple juice

2 cups water

5 cinnamon sticks, plus more to garnish

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

6 whole cloves

1 orange, sliced (leave the skin on)


In a large pot over high heat, bring all ingredients (nutmeg, cloves, oranges with the skin) to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 15 minutes, or longer, stirring occasionally.

Serve hot and garnish with cinnamon sticks.

Lower calorie apple juice Martinelli's 100% Pure Apple Juice and Mott's Apple Juice Original.

Hot Cranberry Drink

Prep/Total Time: 25 min 8 servings


2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

6 cups water, divided

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup red-hot candies

7 whole cloves

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup lemon juice


In a saucepan, cook cranberries in 2 cups of water until they pop. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving juice and discarding skins; set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, candies, cloves, and remaining water. Cook until candies are dissolved. Add orange and lemon juices and reserved cranberry juice; heat thoroughly. Discard cloves. Serve hot. Yield: 6-8 servings (about 2 quarts).

Crank Up the Heat with Hot Cocktails

These recipes are not the traditional Hot Toddy. They are an eclectic mix of spices and spirits garnished with fruits and herbs. Your guest will keep asking for more. Enjoy!

Hot Spice Mulled Wine

Prep and Cook 15 mins-20 mins Serving 8 to 10 servings


1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1 orange, cut into thin wedges

2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel

1/4 cup lemon juice

6 inches stick cinnamon

2 cardamom pods, crushed or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 750 - milliliter bottle dry red wine (Burgundy, Zinfandel, or Merlot)

Brandy, rum, vodka, port, or kirsch (optional)


In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, orange wedges, lemon peel and juice, cinnamon, cardamom pods, bay leaves, and whole cloves. Bring to boiling; reduce heat, Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Pour in the wine and heat until steaming but not simmering.

To serve, strain mixture through a very fine wire-mesh strainer; discard solids. Serve hot wine in small heat-proof mugs or glasses. Add about 1 tablespoon of brandy or desired liquor to each, if you like.

Vanilla Cranberry Mimosa

Preparation 5 min Total Serves 1


1 1/2 ounces of vanilla-flavored vodka

1 1/2 ounces of cranberry juice

sparkling wine (I use the sparkling wines of Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards)


In a cocktail shaker, combine the vanilla vodka, cranberry juice, and ice. Shake vigorously, then strain into a champagne flute. Fill the glass to the top with sparkling wine. Garnish if desired.

Optional Garnish

Fresh cranberries, whole vanilla beans, or red grapefruit.

Warm {Eggnog and Baileys}

YIELD: 1 drink Total Time: Prep/ 1 minute Cook/0 minutes

Time to take a break, use up the last of your eggnog, and put your feet up for a minute. The combo of Baileys and eggnog is a winner. Smooth, creamy, just sweet enough, and it hits the spot. I like to sprinkle mine with a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon for added flavor. A perfect after-dinner drink that Santa will enjoy.


4 parts eggnog

2 to 4 parts Baileys, to taste

ice cubes, optional

nutmeg, for sprinkling

cinnamon, for sprinkling


To a large glass add the eggnog, Baileys to taste, and optionally add ice. Stir to combine.

Evenly and lightly sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon. Serve immediately. The recipe is intended for those for whom it’s legal and appropriate to drink alcohol, always drink responsibly.

Adapted from Elana’s Pantry from the Comfort Kitchen(Hot Cider), Yummily (Hot Chocolate), AllRecipes, Hot Cranberry Recipe by Taste of Home/originally by Breakfast Cookbook 1994. Hot Cranberry Drink Originally published as Hot Cranberry Drink in Cookin' Up Country Breakfasts Cookbook 1994, p86 Vanilla Cranberry Mimosa by Jenny Bullistron/Honey and Birch. Averie Cook /eggnog posted dates December 23, 2014, by Averie Sunshine. Images: Yay Image Photographers: Sea Wave, Ildi, Darius Dzinnik, Grafvision, Tacar, Alex 9500, and Stephanie Frey.

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