By Gabriella Vigoreaux, EPICURIOUS
We've been praising the slow cooker lately as the unsung hero of quick and cozy weeknight dinners. And while that gentle, consistent heat is brilliant for braising stews and simmering oatmeal, it's also perfect for gently infusing holiday spices into your favorite warm cocktails. And since most of these appliances have a pretty big capacity, you can brew up plenty of drinks for your friends--and serve them warm straight from the slow cooker.
Yep: The heavy burden of keeping all your guests' glasses full during your holiday party just got a whole lot easier. Read on for some of our favorite warm winter cocktails--and how to adjust them for your slow cooker.
To make hot cocktails in a slow cooker, just use your favorite recipe (double it if you need to), fill up your slow cooker, cover and cook for 3 1/2 hours on low or 2 hours on high. If using citrus peels or whole spices, like cloves or cinnamon sticks, bundle them up in cheesecloth so nobody gets any unpleasant bits in their drink. Click the links for full recipes.
1. Clementine Mulled Cider
Rum is optional in this fruity mulled cider, but come on. It's the holidays!
2. Hot Toddy
Hot toddies are the perfect blank canvas for adding whatever flavors you like. You can use rum, rye whiskey, or bourbon, and it's a great drink for experimenting with infused liquors.
3. Hot Mead
This cocktail is inspired by mead, a fermented honey drink from the Middle Ages that we are completely willing to bring back for the colder months. Here, it's reborn as a honey- and ginger-spiced hot vodka beverage that will be your go-to fireside cocktail throughout the colder months.
4. Mulled White Wine
This mulled wine is like a warm white sangria, and the cardamom, star anise, and pear brandy are welcome additions.