It's been really cold here in New England. On night's like these, I am so thankful to have a safe, warm house to retreat to at the end of the day. With the chaos of the holidays winding down, jack frost making himself known, and bf sound asleep on the couch, I knew Friday night wasn't going to consist of going too far beyond my living room.
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I decided to light a fire and make myself a cozy beverage, I was thinking a hot toddy when I remembered that I had a lot of cranberries left over from holiday baking. I decided to go through the winter cocktail's in Sarah Leah Chase's Cold Weather Cooking and sure enough, I had all of the ingredients for her Nantucket Sleigh Ride. It called for cinnamon, cranberries, and orange...in short the perfect holiday drink (even with the holidays coming to a close). I just love the name too. I'm picturing being nestled in the back of a sleigh on a beautiful snowy evening going by quaint homes on Nantucket. Except that, I've never been to Nantucket (but I've been to Martha's Vineyard, so I think that's what I'm picturing). Also, we're at the point where the snow here isn't crisp and white, it's muddy and disgusting. I suppose too that being in a sleigh in sub-zero temperatures would be less romantic and more like Doctor Zhivago in the second hour of the film....I'll stick to my fire and cuddle duds on the couch.
Anyway, this came together very easily. I adapted the recipe for one, though I'm printing it here with the original measurements (which serves 8). You could easily double this in a crockpot for a warm party punch. If you're looking for something other than mulled wine and toddies for NYE, this is a good option!
In a large pot, steep the tea bags in the 6 cups of boiling water for about 5 minutes. When the tea is steeped, remove the tea bags. Add all of the remaining ingredients (except the alcohol) and bring to a boil before simmering for 15 minutes.
Once it's complete, stir in the Grand Marnier and serve in mugs while warm. I garnished mine with an orange wedge and some fresh cranberries. That's it! So easy. I think if you were having a party where there were some kids and non-drinkers you could put the Grand Marnier on the side so that guests could have it without the alcohol. Though I'll be honest the liqueur gives it a nice toasty kick.
This drink was sweet from the orange and the honey, but had a little tart from the cranberries and of course a little spice from the cinnamon. I'm a big mulled wine girl, but this was a nice change. I know not everyone likes mulled wine so this would be a great option for a party and I definitely plan to serve it at my next one. I don't think it's just a holiday drink, I think it would be great all winter! Of course I also enjoyed it all by myself while catching up on The Crown so it works perfectly well for that too!
If you're on a warm beverage kick and looking for another great option, I recently made Chase's Mulled White Wine with Pear Brandy Flambe from the same cookbook, it's worth trying as well. What's your favorite warm cocktail to serve at parties?
The original recipe can be found on page 182 of Sarah Leah Chase's Cold Weather Cooking