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Here We Come A-Wassailing! 

Red Stamp, November 2013

 

It seems like, in just the blink of an eye, the holiday season is upon us! The temperatures are dropping, coffee shops have pulled out their holiday cups, and we are beginning to plan out the next two months of festivities!

One thing that always puts us in the holiday spirit is preparing warm, cozy beverages, especially for a group of our friends and family. We love the smell of spices filling the air, and this Mulled Cranberry Apple Cider is just the thing  to warm us up to winter. We can’t stop thinking about how homey it will feel to prepare this cider for a holiday party, letting it brew all day while the snow falls and we decorate, bake and get ready. How perfect! There’s nothing like gathering with loved ones over steaming mugs of holiday cheer.

What is it about food and drinks filled with cinnamon, cloves, and other spices that is so cozy and wintery? Part of it is probably the way that smells are so closely connected with memories. These spices recall coming inside after long days of playing in the snow, warming up by the fire and sipping hot cider that mom made. Studies show that smell memories actually tend to be much more vivid and emotional than visual or verbal cues. And speaking of scents, here is an easy way to make festive, natural air fresheners with cinnamon and vanilla!

Drinks with these spices are also steeped in history, and nothing warms our hearts quite like a good, long-passed-down tradition! Mulled Cider has its roots in the British Wassail custom and is heavily associated with Yuletide celebrations. So this kind of spiced drink is wintery by trade!

We may not be drinking to the good health of trees and bountiful harvests like ye olde Wassail days, but we’ll happily drink to the health of our friends and families, and enjoy some good cheer over this cozy drink!

Mulled Cranberry Apple Cider (Serves 8)

Ingredients:
4 cups cranberry juice blend
6 cups apple cider
Peel of 1 orange, cut in wide strips
2-inch pieces of ginger, peeled and sliced
3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp whole cloves
Garnish: cinnamon sticks, orange slices, fresh cranberries
Optional: make it an“adult bevi” by adding Tuaca-soaked oranges

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot and heat on low for 4 to 6 hours, covered. Serve in festive mugs with desired garnish.

Take a peek at our other delicious recipes!