3 reasons to mix up warm winter drinks

During the next few months you may find yourself hosting a big bash with attendees attired in their finest duds or just having the couple next door over for a quiet toast. But whatever the size of your party, welcoming guests into your home with the mouthwatering aromas of these delicious hot drinks is a great way to celebrate the season. These treats warm the insides on a cold night with their mingling of fresh herbs and spices, fruit and just a hint of sweetness. These luscious hot mixes (both with alcohol and without) are sure to become festive favorites. Here are three more reasons to stir them all up this holiday season.

-A.J. Rathbun, author of Dark Spirits: 200 Classy Concoctions Starring Bourbon, Brandy, Scotch, Whiskey, Rum and More (Harvard Common Press, September 2009)

Warm Winter Drinks

1. Save Money

As an end-of-the-year bonus, these drinks won't break the bank. You can skip the super-expensive wine and liquor in the following recipes and opt for solid midpriced bottles instead. There's no point in buying a great bottle of wine or liquor when they're being combined with other ingredients that will alter their base flavors.

Warm Winter Drinks

2. Have Fun

They're easy to make and serve to a crowd, which means you're not stuck at the bar making one drink at a time.

Warm Winter Drinks

3. Make it Memorable

Destined to stand out, signature hot drinks ensure that your parties are a rollicking success season after season. Mention them on the invites to generate a little preparty anticipation. Who won't be excited to find out what is in a Whispering Wreath? And won't it be nice to have your winter wingding be the one everyone's talking about?

Warm Winter Drinks

Don't Forget ...

A few things to keep in mind when serving up these hot drinks. Have plenty of cocktail napkins on hand in case the glassware or mugs get too warm. And there's something about holiday parties that often leads to a few overly merry merrymakers. With that in mind, always have a reliable taxi company's phone number nearby and include a good nonalcoholic drink (such as the Sleigh Driver) in the mix. This holiday season, just relax, turn on the stove, start stirring and ladling, and smile as your party becomes a part of holiday lore.