A Guide to Festive Drinks

As college students, we rarely have time to cook meals for ourselves, let alone concoct our own fancy drinks. Since winter break is coming soon, though, and many of us will have time to spare, below are wintery, jolly drinks to try out during this Christmas season, because who does not love to treat themselves with hot chocolate or eggnog every once in a while?


Hot Chocolate

My all-time favorite drink, hot chocolate, brings me back to days of sledding with my older siblings and coming inside after to a hot bowl of soup and some hot chocolate from my mom. With the fancy recipes below, this nostalgic drink will have your mouth watering!


Peppermint Hot Chocolate


3 cups of milk (your choice)

3 cups half & half or light cream

1 and a half cups of white chocolate chips

A teaspoon of vanilla extract

A teaspoon of peppermint extract

Optional: crushed candy canes to place around the edge of the glass 


First, mix the milk and cream in a sauce pan with medium heat. Stir periodically until the mix is hot all the way through. Once this occurs, turn the heat to medium-low. Next, pour the chocolate chips into the mix and stir until completely melted. Lastly, add the vanilla and peppermint extracts. Serve with a candy cane or crushed candy canes along the edge of the glass for a little extra spunk!



Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

Ingredients for drink:

1 and a half cups whole milk

A half cup of semisweet chocolate chips

A fourth cup of creamy peanut butter

Ingredients for topping:

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

A teaspoon of artificial sweetener or 2 teaspoons of sugar

Chocolate syrup

2 tablespoons melted peanut butter

Directions for drink:

Place milk, chocolate chips and peanut butter into a blender and process on the highest setting for four to five minutes or until the mixture is frothy and warm. Pour the hot chocolate into mugs and prepare to top it off!

Directions for toppings:

As the hot chocolate is mixing in the blender, mix the whipping cream and sweetener with an electric mixer until the cream has soft peaks. When finished, place the cream on top of the hot chocolate and drizzle chocolate syrup and peanut butter over the drink. Voila!



Vegan Mexican Hot Chocolate


1 and three-fourths cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

A half cup of light coconut milk (canned)

1 and a half oz. of a dairy-free chocolate bar, crushed into pieces

1 to 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder

A teaspoon of ground cinnamon

A fourth teaspoon of ground red cayenne pepper

A pinch of salt

A tablespoon of coconut sugar


In a pot over medium heat, pour the coconut milk, almond milk, broken chocolate bar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt and coconut sugar in. Whisk until the ingredients begin to simmer. Once this occurs, bring heat to low and simmer for 3 to five more minutes, stirring periodically. Pour the drink into some mugs, sprinkle cinnamon on top, and enjoy the healthy hot chocolate with a bit of pop!



Apple Cider

Apple cider is a must during the holidays, but the same old drink can grow boring quickly. Why not spice up your classic cider with some sweet and spicy new recipes?

Caramel Apple Cider

Ingredients (Makes 12 servings)

8 cups of apple cider/juice

1 cup of caramel flavoring syrup

A fourth cup of lemon juice

A vanilla bean

2 cinnamon sticks (three inches long each)

A tablespoon of whole allspice

(Whipped cream, caramel ice cream and cinnamon sticks are all optional)


In a slow-cooker, pour the apple cider, caramel syrup and lemon juice in. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the mixture. Next, place the leftover bean, cinnamon sticks and allspice on a double-lined cheesecloth. Pull up the corners of the cloth and tie, creating a bag. Add the bag to the cider mixture in the slow-cooker. Cook the cider on low for two to three hours or until heated completely. Throw the spice bag away, pour the cider into mugs, add whipped cream, caramel topping and extra cinnamon sticks to the drink if you wish, and enjoy!



Warm Cider Cranberry Punch

Ingredients (Makes 20 servings)

A 64 oz. bottle of cranberry juice

6 cups of apple cider/juice

2 12-oz. Cans of frozen lemonade concentrate (thaw first)

A medium lemon, cut into wedges

4 3-inch cinnamon sticks

2 teaspoons whole cloves

1 teaspoon whole allspice

Cranberries, lemon peel strips and extra cinnamon sticks are optional


In a large slow-cooker, pour the cranberry juice, apple cider, lemonade concentrate and lemon wedges in. Put the cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice in a double-lined cheesecloth, pull the corners up, and tie to create a bag. Place the bag in the cider mixture, cook on low for three to four hours or until completely hot and throw the spice bag out. Lastly, if you wish to garnish with cinnamon sticks, cranberries and lemon peel feel free to do so. Hopefully this cider warms your body from the inside out!




Although eggnog can be hit or miss for peoples’ taste buds, I could not resist adding a recipe to this list, because nothing says Christmas and the holidays like eggnog.


Gingerbread Eggnog


6 large egg yolks

A half cup of granulated sugar

3 cups of milk (your choice)

A cinnamon stick

A teaspoon of nutmeg (grated)

A pinch of salt

A fourth teaspoon of vanilla extract

A fourth teaspoon of allspice

A fourth teaspoon of ground cloves

A half teaspoon of cinnamon

A half teaspoon of ground ginger

A tablespoon of dark molasses

A fourth cup of rum (optional)


First, separate the egg yolks from the whites, and add the yolks into a medium bowl. Pour the sugar in, and whisk until the mix is light yellow and smooth. You can also use a hand mixer for this step. Next, put the cinnamon stick in the milk and heat the milk in a pan until the milk is barely simmering. If you would like, you can replace one cup of the milk with heavy cream, which will make the eggnog thicker. After the milk begins to simmer, add the spices, molasses and vanilla. Thirdly, scoop a small amount of the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking as you slowly pour the milk into the eggs. Repeat this two to three times, only using a small amount of the milk mixture. Next, add the egg mixture into the remaining milk mix on the stove, bringing all the liquid to a simmer. When the mixture reaches 160 degrees, remove from the heat and pour into a glass bowl. Cover the mix, chill for four or more hours, and the drink is ready to serve! You can add rum after the drink has chilled. Hopefully, this eggnog can satisfy even the nog haters with its hint of gingerbread and molasses flavor!


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