Why do we drink “ifferent things” during the cold weather? Or during the holidays?

Just as with food, there is tradition involved. We associate certain flavors with certain seasons or holidays.

Also, we crave something light and refreshing when it's hot and something warming and cozy when it’s not. It’s just the way we work.

Here are some drink ideas that fit the season.

WINTER ORANGE POMEGRANATE ICED TEA

from Midwest Living

3 cups water

1 navel orange, sliced into 1⁄4-inch slices

3 inches stick cinnamon, broken

6 whole cloves

4 orange-flavored or black tea bags (decaffeinated, if you like)

1 cup orange juice

1 cup pomegranate juice

2 - 3 tablespoon sugar

12 orange wedges or chunks

6 lime wedges or chunks

6 6-inch wooden skewers

Ice cubes

In a medium saucepan, combine water, orange slices, cinnamon and cloves. Bring just to boiling; remove from heat. Add tea bags. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags; discard. Strain tea mixture through a fine mesh strainer; discard orange slices and spices.

In a glass pitcher, combine strained tea mixture, orange juice, pomegranate juice and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

To serve:

Place 2 orange wedges and 1 lime wedge onto each skewer. Serve tea in glasses filled with ice cubes. Add fruit skewers to each glass.

If you like the taste of cranberry, try this syrup and some of the ways it can be used. You might think of other ways, too.

HOLIDAY CRANBERRY SYRUP

from Midwest Living

2 1⁄2 cups cranberry juice

1 cup cranberries

3⁄4 cup light-colored corn syrup

1⁄4 cup sugar

In medium saucepan, combine cranberry juice, cranberries, corn syrup and sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Boil gently, uncovered, 30 to 40 minutes or until reduced to 2-1⁄2 cups.

Pour syrup through a fine-mesh strainer or strainer lined with 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth. Discard cranberries. Cover and chill syrup at least 3 hours to cool completely or up to one week.

CRANBERRY MARTINI

1 cup ice cubes

2 ounces (1/4 cup) Holiday Cranberry Syrup

2 ounces (1/4 cup) vodka

1 ounce (2 tablespoons) lime juice

In a cocktail shaker, combine ice cubes, Holiday Cranberry Syrup, vodka and lime juice. Cover and shake vigorously; strain into a chilled martini glass.

CRANBERRY

CHAMPAGNE

Using a champagne flute, add equal parts chilled champagne and Holiday Cranberry Syrup.

CRANBERRY-ORANGE MARTINI

1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Holiday Cranberry Syrup

1⁄2 cup ice cubes

1 ounce (2 tablespoons) orange juice

1 ounce (2 tablespoons) vodka

Place Holiday Cranberry Syrup in the bottom of a chilled martini glass. In a cocktail shaker, combine ice cubes, orange juice and vodka. Cover and shake vigorously; slowly strain mixture into glass atop the syrup. Stir mixture gently once or twice to slightly blend layers. If you want a well blended drink, add the syrup to the cocktail shaker with the orange juice and vodka and increase ice cubes to 1 cup.

I never thought I liked eggnog, until I had the homemade kind. That makes all the difference.

EGGNOG

from daysoftheyear.com

3 1⁄2 cups milk

1 1⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cinnamon stick

generous pinch of ground clove

6 egg yolks

3⁄4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup rum (optional)

1 cup heavy cream

1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg

Over low heat combine milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, cinnamon stick and clove in a medium saucepan. Rise the heat slowly and bring to a slow boil (it takes about 7 minutes to bring to a boil.) Once the milk mixture starts to boil take off heat and let the cinnamon stick seep for 2 minutes, remove cinnamon stick.

In the bowl of a standing mixer combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until pale and fluffy. With the mixer on low, pour the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks (tempering the yolks) whisk until well incorporated. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat on med/med-low for about 5 minutes, continually stirring, until thickened and creamy.  Do not let it boil, or the nog will curdle.

Stir in the rum, heavy cream and nutmeg and refrigerate over night. When ready to serve garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Surveys show the favorite winter drink of Americans is hot chocolate.

There are billions of recipes out there for hot chocolate. No kidding. I looked!

Here is one that looks like the ultimate.

HOMEMADE HOT CHOCOLATE

from celebratingsweets.com

4 cups milk (preferably whole or 2%)

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate bar

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place milk, cocoa powder and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium/medium-low heat, whisking frequently, until warm (but not boiling). Add chocolate chips and whisk constantly until the chocolate chips melt and distribute evenly into the milk. Whisk in vanilla extract, serve immediately.

NUTELLA HOT

CHOCOLATE

from celebratingsweets.com

2 cups milk

⅓ cup chocolate hazelnut spread

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, optional, for a stronger chocolate flavor

marshmallows or whipped cream, for topping

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, whisking until combined. Serve warm.

WHITE HOT

CHOCOLATE

from celebratingsweets.com

4 cups milk

1 cup good quality white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate, I use Guittard or Ghirardelli

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

pinch salt, optional

Optional garnishes: white chocolate chips, white chocolate shavings, marshmallows, whipped cream, candy canes

 Place the milk, white chocolate, vanilla and a pinch of salt (if using) in a medium saucepan. Whisk continuously over medium-low heat, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth (do not boil). Serve immediately.

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lward@dailyindependent.com

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