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Festive Holiday Drinks with a Garden Twist

As the holidays approach, many of us look forward to a smorgasbord of decadent food, treats, fancy drinks, and revelry. A time of year when coming together with friends and family is paramount, and celebration is at the heart of everything.

Sure, this year may be different (as we navigate our way through the chaos that is 2020), but let’s not make this year prevent us from feeling festive. Perhaps this year, we can look to enjoy the holidays on a smaller scale with some delightful boozy (or not) drinks to warm the spirits.

Below are three sumptuous and easy to prepare drinks that will make you feel pumped for the holiday season no matter how you choose to celebrate it.

And, by adding some easily obtainable ingredients inspired by your garden — such as apples, mint, and rosemary — you can add an appealing twist to a few classic cocktails that any connoisseur would approve of.

Mulled Wine with Apples
Apple Mulled Wine

This classic holiday recipe is a staple across the UK, Europe, and elsewhere. Delicious and traditional, mulled wine tastes like nostalgia in a cup.

Stewing holiday spices alongside citrus, apples, and red wine will not only make your home smell divine, but the drink will make you feel cozy all over.

Perfect if brewed on the stovetop, or even a slow cooker, mulled wine takes little effort to prepare and is simply delightful.

I find that adding apples as well as a good dose of brandy takes this already great recipe to the next level. Try it for yourself — I guarantee you’ll agree.

Ingredients:

(Makes approximately 8 servings)

  • 2-liter bottle of red wine (preferably dry)
  • ½ Cup of brandy (optional — but recommended!)
  • 2 Oranges
  • 2 Apples
  • 3-4 Cinnamon sticks
  • 6-7 Whole cloves
  • 2 Whole star anise
  • ¼ Cup of sugar or honey
  • 1 Whole nutmeg
Directions:
  1. Slice oranges into rounds (keep the peel on).
  2. Core apples, and slice into chunks.
  3. Add fruits to a large pot or slow cooker.
  4. Add sugar (or honey).
  5. Pour the entire bottle of red wine over the fruit.
  6. Add in brandy (if using it).
  7. Drop in cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, and nutmeg.
  8. Cook on low for 1-2 hours (you want it on low because you don’t want to burn off the alcohol).
  9. Ladle into cups and enjoy warm.

Note: For a virgin version of this mulled wine recipe, try using non-alcoholic red wine, which is usually available in supermarkets.

Mint, Pomegranate Punch
Mint Pomegranate Punch

I just love pomegranates, and as it happens, the best pomegranates are available over the holiday season — making it the perfect opportunity to put them to good use by means of a festively fun punch bowl.

Combining fresh mint alongside the tartness of pomegranate, the decadent fizz of prosecco (and a sneaky dose of vodka) creates an exceptionally fabulous adult take on a bowl of punch that packs a punch!

Ingredients:

(Makes approximately 10 servings)

  • 2 Cups of Pomegranate juice
  • 1 Bottle of Prosecco
  • 1 ½ Cups of Orange Juice
  • ½ to 1 Cup of vodka
  • ½ A pomegranate*
  • ¼ Cup of fresh mint
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Cup of ice
Directions:
  1. Slice orange into wedges (keep the peel on).
  2. Open the pomegranate and carefully scoop out half the seeds.*
  3. Pluck fresh mint leaves.
  4. Combine ingredients into a nice bowl or pitcher.
  5. Add in a cup of ice.
  6. Pour in pomegranate juice, prosecco, and orange juice.
  7. Measure in vodka.
  8. Stir and refrigerate for 12-24 hours in advance.
  9. Serve chilled.

Note: For a virgin version of this punch, replace the Prosecco and vodka with soda water.

*Wonder how to crack open a pomegranate? I find this 5-step method the easiest way to go about it:

  1. Slice a thin piece off the bottom of the fruit.
  2. Make an angled circular cut around the top of the fruit’s stem.
  3. Remove stem.
  4. Gently score vertically along the raised ridges of the fruit (don’t cut too deep though — you’ll pierce the inside of the fruit and make a mess).
  5. Crack open with your hands, and carefully scoop out the seeds.
Rosemary & Cranberry Cocktails
Rosemary Cranberry Cocktail

Although a relatively new recipe for me, this cocktail is fantastic, and I’m glad I came upon it. Sure, some might be thinking, “Why on earth would you add rosemary to a cocktail”. Well, I’ve got news for you! Gin and rosemary happen to pair wonderfully together — Try it, you’ll see what I mean.

Ingredients:

(Makes 8 cocktails)

For simple syrup –

  • 2 Cups of water
  • 2 Cups of white sugar
  • 1 Sprig of fresh rosemary

For cocktails –

  • 2 Cups of cranberry juice
  • 2 Cups of gin
  • 1 Cup of club soda
  • ¼ Cup of simple syrup
  • Ice
  • 8 Sprigs of fresh rosemary
Directions:

For simple syrup –

  1. Bring water, sugar, and 1 sprig of fresh rosemary to a low boil.
  2. Continue to simmer on medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and remove rosemary sprig.
  4. Cool in the fridge.

For each cocktail serving –

  1. Add a handful of ice cubes to a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add in ½ tablespoon of chilled simple syrup.
  3. Add in ¼ cup cranberry juice and ¼ cup of gin.
  4. Shake well.
  5. Pour into a tumbler.
  6. Top with club soda.
  7. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
  8. Serve ice cold.

Repeat for each serving.

Note: For a virgin version of this cocktail, omit the gin with a dash of fresh lime or lemon juice.

Whether you plan on celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, or another exciting holiday, this is truly the season to indulge in some exciting new recipes.

So, why not have your hand at making a few festive cocktails with a bit of a twist, and pull inspiration from your garden by adding fresh herbs or crisp apples to these classic boozy drinks that are sure to please.

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