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Hot drinks for those cold days

On these blustering winter days  (particularly in the northern sections of the country),  there is nothing better to warm you up than a steaming hot drink.  Most of the drinks on this page can be served either hot or cold.

MULLED  WINE
Vynas  su  prieskoniais

1 bottle sweet red wine
1 quart water
10-12 cloves
2-5 cinnamon sticks
Bit of ginger
Juice of 2 lemons
Raisins and peeled almonds
Place all the spices in the water and bring to a boil. Let the mixture simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and filter out the spices with a sieve. Add the wine and lemon juice to the spiced water. Heat the mixture, but do not let boil. Serve hot, placing raisins and almonds in the bottom of each glass.

CRANBERRY/APPLE  CIDER
Spanguolių/obuolių  gira

2  cups cranberry juice cocktail
2 quarts apple cider
1/3 cup sugar
1 orange studded with 6 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches each)
Orange slices or cinnamon sticks for garnish
Combine cranberry juice cocktail, cider and sugar in a slow cooker or heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Add orange and cinnamon sticks and simmer on low for  1/2 hours. Serve in warm mugs with orange slices or cinnamon sticks.

MILK  LIQUEUR
Pieninis  krupnikas

2 1/2 cups grain alcohol
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups sugar
3 oranges
3 lemons
1 vanilla stick
Wash oranges and lemons. Cut into small pieces.  Combine alcohol, milk, sugar, orange/lemon pieces, and vanilla in a 1-gallon glass jug. Mix well. Let stand for 3 weeks, beating briskly daily. Filter through filter paper (using many funnels –  coffee filters are ideal). Liquid should be clear and golden.  Bottle and enjoy.

CRANBERRY  CIDER
Spanguolių  gira

2 lbs. cranberries
1 gallon boiling water
1 lb. sugar
1 oz. yeast
Wash berries. Place in pot with cold water to cover. Boil till berries pop. Strain into crock, pour on boiling water, add sugar. When lukewarm, add yeast dissolved in a little water. Cover, place in warm spot. Next day, skim top.  Pour into bottles, cork. Keep in cool place. Ready to drink in 2-3 days.

MULLED  CIDER
Gira  su  prieskoniais

2 quarts apple cider
1/2 cup packed brown sugar or V
2 cup honey
12 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
Peel of 1 large orange, cut into long strips
Peel of 1 large lemon, cut into long strips
2 cups brandy
Combine cider, sugar, cloves, cinnamon sticks and orange and lemon peel in a large, non-aluminum pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to low and simmer for  10 minutes.  (Recipe may be made ahead to this point.) Add brandy and heat until steaming, but do not boil. Pour into a large, heat-proof bowl or ladle directly into warm mugs. Add some peel to each serving. Alterna­tively, if making punch ahead of time, do not add brandy. Instead, pour 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) brandy into each mug, and top with hot punch. Omit brandy for non-alcoholic punch. Note: To make wine punch, substitute 2 bottles dry red wine for the cider and add 2 cups port wine, ruby preferred, with the brandy.

HONEY  LIQUEUR
Krupnikas

26 ounces grain alcohol
1 star anise pod
1 Tbsp caraway seed
10 cloves
10 whole allspice
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean
2 slices dry ginger root
10 cardamom seeds
1/2 whole nutmeg
1 pinch saffron
Rind of 1 whole orange
Rind of 1 whole lemon
5 cups water
1 / 4  lb. honey
Tie the spices into a cheesecloth and simmer in 5 cups water until the liquid is reduced by half. Remove spices. Add honey and bring back to a boil. Turn off burner and cool slightly. Add grain alcohol and boil for 5 minutes. Cool and pour into bottles. The legendary honey “krupnikas” has as many recipes as there are Lithuanians. Some may feel that the above recipe has too many spices, so you can skip a few without loosing the taste of this delicious favorite. And it improves with age.