Enjoying winter warmth

Elizabeth Baird archives

Elizabeth Baird archives

Elizabeth Baird, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:02 PM ET

In from the cold and yearning for something steaming hot? Winter is the moment when hot drinks step up to the task of warming us up from the inside out. There’s a whole range of flavours to contemplate – sunny citrus, the tangy sweet of cranberry and apple, and who can forget chocolate as the ultimate in hot drink satisfaction.

Mulled Apple Cider


Nothing says a warm sipping welcome like mulled apple cider. In a pinch, you can use apple juice instead of cider, adding a splash of strained lemon juice to compensate for cider’s piquancy.

8 cups (2 L) clear apple cider


2 sticks cinnamon, roughly broken into shards


6 whole allspice or cloves


2 strips either lemon or orange peel


1 small red apple, unpeeled

In a stainless steel saucepan, combine cider, broken cinnamon sticks, allspice and lemon peel. Cover and heat over medium-low heat until steaming. Reduce heat to low and simmer very gently for spices to flavour cider, about 30 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove spices and lemon peel. (Make-ahead: Let cool. Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat until steaming.)
Meanwhile, quarter and core the apple; cut each quarter into 4 thin slices. Place 2 slices in each of 8 mugs and pour spiced cider into mugs. As mulled cider is hot, apple slices will soften but not break down into sauce. Do eat apple slices.
Makes 8 servings.

VARIATION: Mulled cranberry juice. Replace apple cider with red or white cranberry cocktail, adding 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) granulated sugar to juice. Replace apple garnish with 2 dried, frozen or fresh cranberries per mug.
Tip: You can add a splash of brandy or rum to the Mulled Apple Cider - try brandy or rum.


Florida Orange Ginger Tea



This recipe and photo are provided by the Florida Department of Citrus, and feature the fresh flavour of that state’s orange juice. The citussy tea is enhanced with the fusion of spicy ginger and sweet Asian pears. You can serve it warm, reheat the infusion for a piping hot drink, or for a different twist serve cold as a refreshing spritzer with a splash of ginger ale or sparkling water.



4 cups (1 L) Florida orange juice


2 Asian pears, cored and sliced


1/3 cup (75 ml) peeled and thinly sliced fresh ginger


1/4 cup (60 ml) granulated sugar


2 cinnamon sticks, broken into shards

In a saucepan, bring orange juice, pears, ginger, sugar and cinnamon to boil. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour to serve warm. Strain through sieve. ( Make-ahead: Let cool and refrigerate in airtight container for up to 3 days.). If serving hot, reheat until steaming. To serve cold, let stand for at least 2 hours, strain and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until cold. Pour over ice if desired.
Makes 4 cups (1 L), about 6 servings.



Creamy Hot Chocolate


This drink has two shots of chocolate – lovely dark chocolate and unsweetened cocoa. Yes, there’s a little sugar to sweeten the creamy beverage, and a touch of cinnamon and vanilla that take the mugfulls of pleasure back to their Mexican roots. 



1 oz. (30 g) chopped unsweetened chocolate, or dark chocolate couverture pistoles


3 Tbsp. (45 ml) granulated sugar


2 Tbsp. (30 ml) unsweetened cocoa


4 cups (1 L) whole milk


1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla


1/2 cup (125 ml) whipping cream, whipped
Ground cinnamon



In a saucepan, whisk together chocolate, sugar, cocoa and 1/3 cup (75 ml) of milk. Warm over medium-low heat until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Gradually whisk in remaining milk and heat until steaming. Stir in vanilla and pour into warm mugs. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Makes 4 generous servings.


SUBSTITUTIONS: Instead of whipped cream, you can top hot chocolate with a scattering of mini marshmallows. If you prefer, add cinnamon to chopped chocolate mixture and top whipped cream with real chocolate sprinkles.




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