As you make plans for holiday parties, drawing up menus and planning tablescapes, consider adding festive slow cooker beverages to your fare. Spiced ciders, creamy cocoas, mulled wines, and more can be kept hot and inviting for the duration of your soiree. Plus, they are a cinch to make, most only requiring that you add all the ingredients to the appliance and turn it on!
This one is as easy as pouring apple (or pear) juice or cider into your slow cooker, adding some cinnamon sticks and whole cloves and turning it to low. It will be fragrant and delicious in a few hours. But you can also make it extra-special with a few tweaks.
- Citrus Cider – the addition of orange and lemon juices and fresh ginger is a refreshing twist
- Spiced Caramel Cider – this is sweeter cider that pairs apple with it’s best friend, caramel
- Apricot Cider – delight your guest with this variation that uses apricot nectar instead of apple cider
- Serving suggestion – float slices of apple in mugs and add a cinnamon stick
Slow cooker cocoas generally begin with a mixture of powdered milk, cocoa, and sugar. You can also make your slow cooker cocoa with fresh milk, heavy cream, and real chocolate pieces. It’s up to your preference and your budget.
- White Hot Chocolate – infused with cardamon and vanilla beans, this is a not your grandmother’s hot chocolate!
- Spirited Hot Mocha – this coffee flavored concoction is made with brandy but that can be left out if you’re serving a younger crowd
- Coconut Hot Chocolate – the toasted coconut rims give this a decadent touch
- Serving suggestion – create a Hot Cocoa Bar for your party with different kinds of marshmallows, stir-ins (like peppermint sticks, cinnamon red hots, peanut butter chips), whipped toppings, and sprinkles.
Mulled wines, wassails, and toddies
Mulled simply means that spices and sweeteners have been added (so technically a spiced cider would be mulled). Wassail traditionally is mulled ale or mead but the more modern version are a mulled cider. Hot toddies are mulled drinks typically made with an alcoholic base such as whiskey or brandy. All can be made in your slow cooker with delightful results!
- Hot Mulled Wine – this recipe brings together spices with orange, lemon, wine, and a other spirits
- Swedish Glögg – a traditional Scandinavian hot drink
- Cranberry Hot Toddy – this mulled recipe uses cranberry cocktail (instead of cider) and rum making it a festive treat for your party
- Serving suggestion – float rounds of orange or lemon slices or a few cranberries in the mugs
A few final tips to consider. Several slow cooker beverage recipes start the process on the ‘High’ setting of the appliance, just be sure to turn it to ‘Low’ or ‘Warm’ once the drink is ready to serve. Also, remember that slow cookers do get very hot to the touch, so position your slow cooker away from small hands and nearer to the center of a table or buffet to keep it from being knocked over. Consider providing disposable, “to-go” cups with lids for your guests to help prevent hot liquids being spilled and to keep the beverage warm.