Drinking it all in with fun holiday beverages

We’ve been drinking eggnog in our house since mid-November. Ever since the kids spotted it in the grocery store, we’ve had it on hand.

While I love one glass of it a season and prefer mine as an eggnog latte, I can appreciate how the kids like seasonal drinks. They’ll take eggnog and hot chocolate with peppermint every chance they get. And I love me a hot Tom and Jerry sprinkled with nutmeg!

I’ve been hunting for holiday drinks recently because of a round-robin we are doing with four other couples. Each couple has to serve a drink and an appetizer that begins with the first letter of their last name. I’ve been looking up beverages that start with the letter G and have had so much fun hunting around. Everything sounds good: Golden Blizzards, Grand Mimosa, Grasshopper, Goodnight Kiss, Gail’s Winter Storm and so much more.

During my search, I came across these holiday drinks I thought I’d share with everyone. They are from the Associated Press and sound delicious!

CHAI EGGNOG

Servings: 4

2 cups 2 percent milk, divided

3 1/2-inch stick cinnamon, smashed using the side of a knife

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

10 whole cloves

1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, coarsely crushed

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

4 cardamom pods, crushed (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom)

Kosher salt

2 large eggs

1/4 cup sugar

Brandy or rum, for flavoring (optional)

Grated nutmeg, to garnish

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 1/2 cups of the milk with the cinnamon, vanilla bean, cloves, peppercorns, ginger, cardamom pods and a hefty pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then turn off the heat and let it stand for 15 minutes.

2. Strain the mixture through a sieve, discarding all of the solids except for the vanilla bean. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk; discard the vanilla pod.

3. Wipe out the saucepan and return the milk to the pan over medium heat.

4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl beat the eggs with the sugar for 2 minutes, or until they are light and lemon colored. Add the heated milk in a stream, whisking gently. Return the egg-milk mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon, about 4 to 6 minutes. Do not let the mixture come to a simmer or the eggs will scramble.

5. Quickly add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk to the pan to stop the cooking. Transfer the mixture to a pitcher and chill for at least 2 hours or until very cold.

6. To serve, divide the eggnog among 4 chilled glasses, stir in a dash of brandy or rum, if desired, and top with a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg.

CHRISTMAS SANGRIA

Servings: 8

750-milliliter bottle fruity red wine, such as Beaujolais

1/2 cup fresh clementine or orange juice

1/2 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice

1/2 cup Grand Marnier liqueur

1 firm pear with the skin, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)

2 clementines or 1 orange, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

Seeds from 1 pomegranate

2 tablespoons superfine sugar

1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Chill, tightly covered, at least 8 hours before serving.

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