Friday, December 13, 2019

Warming winter beverages

Image by Linda Toman from Pixabay
Last night at our informal cookie swap, I served two warming winter beverages.  I know the cranberry one is on my Christmas blog, but thought I would share them both here at my kitchen table as well.


The cider is so easy.  You need:

1 gallon cider
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon of broken cinnamon stick pieces
Coffee filter and kitchen string to make spice bag
1 orange
Additional whole cloves

Pour the cider into a large kettle and begin heating it.  

Place the whole spices in the center of the coffee filter and gather it up to form a little bag.  Tie it closed with a piece of kitchen string.  Drop the spice bag into the cider.

Wash the orange well and cut it into quarters.  Stick 2 whole cloves into each orange piece and add the orange quarters to the cider as well.  Heat for 1 hour or until nice and hot.  May be kept on Low for an hour or so, or transfer it to a slow cooker set on Low.


1 orange
12 whole cloves
a cinnamon stick
1 cup water
2 quarts cranberry juice cocktail -- I used the Apple & Eve brand, the kind without sugar that is 100% juice.  It includes apple and pear juices, but that's preferable to sugar.
3 Tblsp. brown sugar

(The recipe also calls for 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, but I don't think it's necessary.  Maybe if you were using a cranberry juice cocktail that includes sugar, it might be, but not using the 100% juice.)

Use a vegetable peeler to peel off thin strips of orange peel from the orange. Set the orange aside. Put the peel in a small saucepan with the cloves, cinnamon stick and water. Bring this mixture to a simmer; cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

In a larger saucepan combine all of the remaining ingredients. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice into this larger saucepan. Using a strainer, strain the liquid from the spice/peel mixture into the larger saucepan as well. Add the lemon juice and brown sugar.  Heat the mixture in the large saucepan over low heat until it is hot. May be kept simmering over very low heat and ladled out as needed.

(For the cookie swap, I tried making this in a slow cooker and it worked beautifully.  About 2 hours before serving I put the cranberry juice into a 3-quart slow cooker and set it on high.  Then I peeled the orange and simmered the peel with the water, cloves and cinnamon stick for the 20 minutes as specified.  Then I strained this mixture into the slow cooker and added the juice of the orange and the brown sugar and let it all cook on high until ready to serve.  Then I turned off the slow cooker and it stayed plenty hot enough.)
Save the cranberry juice bottle to store any leftover beverage.  It reheats well by the mug in the microwave.

This recipe came from Cook & Tell, my old favorite cooking newsletter that is no longer in publication.   I discovered this beverage recipe a dozen years ago and it became an instant favorite of mine to serve to guests at holiday time.  I still love it -- it's so much fun to make! -- and people invariably ask for the recipe whenever I serve it.

Hope you will enjoy using these lovely recipes during this festive season!


  1. Your spiced cider recipe is similar to mine, the cranberry is one I want to try! I love making them in a slow cooker too, it makes the house smell so Christmasy ! Thank you for sharing.

    1. You're welcome, Sue! 😊 That mulled cranberry orange juice is really delicious. Hope you enjoy it!🍵

  2. Mmmm... I love a bit of hot spiced cider. You have inspired me to make sure I have some on Christmas Eve. I've used a slow cooker for this in the past, too - to make and to keep it warm.

    1. Yes, a slow cooker works great for cider also. I saved the leftovers from both beverages to heat up by the mug, and thinking we should have some tonight. It's so cold and blustery outside!😯

  3. Those both sound so good. I've had mulled cider many times, but I don't think I've ever had the Mulled Cranberry Orange. I may have to try that this winter. It sounds so good. Thank you for sharing the recipes. Merry Christmas!

    1. It's very good, Pamela. I hope you'll try it and let me know what you think!🍵

  4. I like the specialty beverages at Christmastime, but am now the only one in the family who does. I used to make it up in the crockpot and my first family—mother, father, grandparents, sister—liked it. Children and grandchildren not so much. They don’t know what they’re missing.

  5. You're right! They don't know what they're missing! 😉 I think if I were you, I would cut the recipe down and make a small batch for my own enjoyment. 😊🍵


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