Christmas Cocktails

I’m sharing two of my favorite holiday cocktails today: Crockpot Mulled Wine and Nog for One.

For more Christmas cocktails, see An Evening of Holiday Drinks at The Cocktail Chronicles (if you like your libations fancy) or Food and Wine’s Christmas Cocktails (if you like lots and lots of choices).

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Crockpot Mulled Wine

You will not believe the incredible smell which fills your home as the wine is mulling. It really sets the tone for a holiday party.

You could just as easily make this in a large pot and leave it on the stove on the lowest setting, but what I really love about serving it out of the crockpot is that it frees up space on the stove, always prime real estate at holidays.

2 bottles of red wine
2 oranges or large lemons
4-6 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons whole cloves
1 whole nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar

Pour wine into a large crockpot and set on low. Cut your citrus fruit in half and squeeze directly into the wine, then add the squeezed fruit rind to the pot. Add cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Seal spices in a fine mesh or cheesecloth bag if you don’t want the cloves to be ladled into the wine later.

Cover and simmer wine for at least 20 minutes, then add the sugar. Stir in well. Simmer for another 10 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved

Leave crockpot on low and serve from.

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Just for One Nog
makes one drink

I used to make big batches of nog—and this recipe can easily multiplied—but I stopped when I noticed that I was the only one drinking it. All of my close friends and family are nog-haters! Can you believe it?

1-2 tablespoons coconut or soy creamer
4-6 ounces soy or almond milk
1 oz rum, brandy, or bourbon
1 teaspoon simple syrup or 2 teaspoons Nog Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
splash vanilla extract (omit if using Nog Simple Syrup)
whole nutmeg

Vigorously mix all ingredients together, even better if you shake in a cocktail shaker until frothy. Grate nutmeg on top and serve.

Variation: Add 1/2 ounce of Kahlua.

Nog Simple Syrup
makes 10-12 ounces

1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 stick cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg (preferably freshly ground for best flavor)

Combine water, sugar, and maple syrup in a nonstick pot over medium-high heat and stir until sugar has dissolved, 1-2 minutes. Lower heat to a low simmer. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove cinnamon stick before storing in a lidded jar. If using freshly ground nutmeg, you might opt to strain it out using a fine mesh sieve or tea strainer.

In addition to simplifying the nog cocktail, this is great for making nog lattes, or nog french toast on Christmas morning (just add a tablespoon to the french toast liquid).

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