Mexican Hot Chocolate
From the kitchen of Georgia Johnson, Austin, Texas, thecomfortofcooking.com:
Simmered with a cinnamon stick, vanilla extract, and a touch of chili powder, this hot chocolate is amazingly fragrant and delicious with a dollop of whipped cream."
3 cups milk
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (3.5-oz.) chili chocolate bar, chopped
1/4 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
Garnishes: whipped cream, shaved chocolate
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Bring milk, cinnamon stick, cocoa, and vanilla to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; stir in chopped chocolate until melted. Remove from heat. Add chili powder, if desired. Discard cinnamon stick. Garnish, if desired.
Note: We tested with Lindt Excellence Chili Dark Chocolate.
From the kitchen of Shawnda Horn, Houston, Texas jasonandshawnda.com: "We love cranberry margaritas because they're beautiful and festive, and are a reminder that margaritas aren't just for summer."
1 tablespoon cranberry juice Sugar Ice 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cup tequila
3/4 cup cranberry juice
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup orange liqueur (such as Triple Sec)
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups chilled club soda
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
Garnishes: whole cranberries, lime peel strips
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Dip rims of 6 (8-oz.) glasses in 1 Tbsp. cranberry juice; dip rims in sugar to coat. Fill glasses with ice. Process cranberries, tequila, 3/4 cup cranberry juice, lime juice, orange liqueur, and 1/3 cup sugar in a blender 30 seconds. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large pitcher. Stir in chilled club soda and orange juice. Pour into prepared glasses. Garnish, if desired. *Thawed frozen cranberries may be substituted.
Holiday Milk Punch
From the kitchen of Natalie Broulette, New York, New York, thesoho.blogspot.com: "It's unusual to find a cold drink that gives you that sense of holiday coziness, but this one does. Grate the nutmeg fresh. It makes a difference."
2 cups milk
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup brandy or bourbon
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Freshly grated nutmeg
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Whisk together milk, half-and-half, brandy, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a pitcher. Serve over crushed ice. Top each serving with freshly grated nutmeg.
From the kitchen of Amy Mikkelsen, Atlanta, Georgia www.yoursouthernpeach.com: "This cocktail was inspired by the Southern side dish that's popular during the holidays. Add some marshmallows and cherries for a festive garnish."
1/4 cup coconut rum
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
Splash of grenadine
Garnishes: marshmallows, coconut flakes, cherries
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Fill an 8-oz. glass with ice. Stir in rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, and a splash of grenadine. Garnish, if desired.