Winter Wedding Warmers

Winter feels closer than ever at the moment. It snowed the other day then the clocks went back. Personally, I think winter is a great time to get married. You can have a roaring fire, Christmas decorations, a cloak to keep you warm. You can make it cosy. So with that in mind I’m looking at hot winter drinks to keep you warm at the wedding.

Mulled Wine

Lets start at the beginning. Mulled wine. Everyone knows it and it will make your guests feel cosy and relaxed, and more importantly, warm. Now, you can buy the mix from a supermarket but if you fancy having a go at it yourself, here’s the recipe.

1 bottle red wine

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup brandy

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp whole allspice berries

4 star anise

1/2 tsp whole cloves

5 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed with the back of a spoon to expose the seeds

1/2 vanilla bean, slit down the centre

1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg

1/2 cup cranberry juice

1/2 cup whole cranberries.

Garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick and a star anise

Dissolve the water and the sugar together in a pan then add some of the cranberry juice. Once that’s heated through, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on a low heat for around 30 minutes. The best part is it can be made in advance and heated through for when your guests arrive. For your non-drinking guests, swap out the wine for red grape juice and miss out the brandy. Easy.

Spiced Irish Coffee

Coffee and whiskey are popular things in our house and yet I don’t think I’ve ever made this. It sounds so delicious that you know what I’ll be doing when the kids are in bed! Plus, I love pumpkins so it’s a win win for me.

For the pumpkin spice whipped cream:

1/2 cup heavy cream

1.5 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin spice

For the Irish coffee:

1.5 cups freshly brewed hot coffee

1 tablespoon sugar

4 tablespoons whiskey

To make the pumpkin spice whipped cream, just whip all ingredients to stiff peaks. Mix the coffee, sugar and whiskey together then divide over two glasses and top with the whipped cream. If you want, add extra pumpkin spice sprinkle over the cream. For a non-alcoholic version, just leave out the whiskey.

Whiskey Chai

Not everyone loves coffee. Some of us prefer tea. So, here is an alternative for the tea drinkers among us.

2 cinnamon sticks in pieces

20 black peppercorns

16 whole cloves

8 cardamom pods, seeds removed

1 tsp ground ginger

Freshly grated nutmeg

1 quart of whole milk

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon loose black tea

5 tbsp whiskey

Blend the spices to a powder. While you’re doing this, bring the milk to a simmer then combine with the spices, sugar and tea. Leave it for ten minutes then strain into a bowl. Rewarm, add the whiskey and serve.

The most important thing about serving tea is to not forget to just serve ordinary tea. Tea is warming and comforting. Tea is life. Sometimes, its best not to mess.

Baileys Hot Chocolate

This one oozes decadence. Hot chocolate? Baileys? Whipped cream? Marshmallows? Why am I only just finding out about this? And it’s so easy anyone can make it.

Follow the directions for your chosen brands hot chocolate, it’s Galaxy in our house, around 4 heaped tsp and hot water. Add Baileys to your taste then add whipped cream. Or marshmallows. Or chocolate powder. Or all three. It is, after all, a wedding, a time of celebration, so why not go all out.

Of course, it’s easy to make this for anyone not drinking. Skip the Baileys and add extra whipped cream

Red Wine Hot Chocolate

While searching for recipes worth trying, I discovered that hot chocolate and red wine were a thing and again I wondered why hadn’t I heard about this sooner?

As above, just make the hot chocolate as it says on the container, add some red wine to your taste and enjoy.

Any of these drinks would be a show stopper for your wedding, keeping your guests warm and content. Whether you serve the alcoholic or the non-alcoholic version, your guests will thank you for it.