Whether you're sitting in front of a crackling fireplace, or enjoying movies with your friends, hot cider, hot cocoa, and other warm holiday beverages can make everything seem more cozy.

Here are great seasonal recipes from Williams Sonoma, to entertain your friends on frosty nights. You'll also find three fabulous hot cocoa recipes.

 

Spiced cider

Makes 8 serving

7 cups apple cider or apple juice
4 cinnamon sticks
30 whole cloves
10 slices crystallized ginger, each   about 1 inch in diameter
1 cup Calvados or other apple brandy

 

 

 

 

Directions

  1. In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cider, cinnamon sticks, cloves and crystallized ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer gently for 30 minutes to blend the flavors.
  2. Ladle the cider into warmed mugs or cups, adding some of the spices to each serving. Stir 2 Tbs. apple brandy into each mug and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, After Dinner, by Kristine Kidd.

Apple Toddy

Makes 8 servings

2 cups Calvados, Applejack, or other type of apple brandy
2 cups apple syrup*
2 cups hot water
30 thin apple slices
1/3 cup nutmeg

 

Directions for each drink

  1. In an 8-oz. glass, combine 1/4 cup brandy and 1/4 cup apple syrup. Top with the 1/4 cup hot water and stir.
  2. Add 3 or 4 apple slices and 2 teaspoons nutmeg to taste over the top. Serve immediately.

*Note: Here's some guidance from Williams-Sonoma about apple syrup. "When buying apple syrup, look for the Austrian brand DArbo. This company produces some of the best, most intense fruit syrups on the market."

Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma TASTE Magazine, "Winter Warmers," by Andy Harris (Holiday 2001).

Hot buttered rum

Makes 8 servings

6 Tbs. firmly packed brown sugar
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 cups rum
4 cups boiling water
8 cinnamon sticks

 

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, butter, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Distribute evenly among 8 warmed mugs.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of rum to each mug, then fill with the boiling water, stirring well. Garnish with cinnamon sticks.

Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Outdoors Series, Snow Country Cooking, by Diane Rossen Worthington.