Monday, October 22, 2012

Coffee and Hot Drinks

Specialty coffees and other hot beverages are perfect for cool autumn evenings. If you keep a few basic supplies handy, you can whip up a number of beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) quickly to impress family and friends who stop by on short notice.

If you have a deck or patio, you can throw on a jacket and enjoy your drinks under the stars. A fire pit adds to the atmosphere and creates a cozy setting. Or if the weather isn't cooperating, you can set up a quick "hot drink buffet" and enjoy your drinks in front of your fireplace or around your coffee table.

Here are some items to consider stocking so you can prepare a variety of hot drinks at a moment’s notice.
  • Variety of tea bags 
  • Instant hot chocolate and cider packets 
  • Brown sugar 
  • Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice… 
  • Instant non-dairy creamer
  • French press and coffee grounds
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Honey

And here are a few quick recipes you can try if you have some extra time to prepare.

CafĂ© au Lait Mix 
  • 6-ounce jar of instant non-dairy creamer 
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar 
  • ¼ cup instant coffee 
  • Dash of salt (optional)
Mix ingredients and store in an airtight container. When ready to drink, combine ¼ cup of the mix with 2/3 cup boiling water. Makes 2 cups of mix for eight drinks.

Spiced Cider 
This recipe makes about 2 quarts which should yield 8-10 servings. You can increase of decrease quantities according to your needs.
  • 2 quarts apple cider 
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks 
  • ½ tsp. Ground allspice 
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground nutmeg 
  • Dash of salt (optional) 
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, reduce heat; cover; and simmer for 20 minutes.

Hot Buttered Rum 
This recipe makes about 4 drinks.
  • 2 cups water 
  • ½ stick butter (unsalted) 
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon 
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg 
  • Dash of ground cloves (optional) 
  • Dash of salt (optional) 
  • 2/3 cup rum (dark rum is recommended, but light will work in a pinch) 
Bring all the ingredients except the rum to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in rum.

Do you have any favorite hot drinks to enjoy during the fall and winter months?

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