When the weather starts to get colder, there’s nothing like a nice warm drink to help you feel cozy. This winter, why not try something new? We’ve put together a list of delicious winter drinks that will be perfect for your next holiday party! From hot chocolate and red wine, to spiced cider and sangria, we’ve got something for everyone. So gather your friends and family around the fireplace and get ready to toast to the holidays!
Hot Chocolate Red Wine
Have you heard of hot chocolate red wine? It’s a delicious drink that combines the warmth and sweetness of hot chocolate with the depth of red wine.
- 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (We recommend a premium chocolate brand like Ghiradelli.)
- 2/3 cup dry red wine (RayLen’s 2019 Carolinius Red, RayLen’s 2021 Cabernet Franc, or RayLen’s 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 2 tablespoons sugar (optional: see notes)
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine the chocolate chips, milk, half and half, and sugar (if using), in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is hot.
- Remove from heat and slowly stir in the wine, vanilla, and salt. Pour into mugs and serve.
- Whether you’ll need to use the sugar or not will depend on the sweetness of your wine. If you’re using a very dry wine, you’ll want to add in the sugar. It’s best to take a sip without the sugar, and then add it in if desired.
- Choose a red wine with low-acidity like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, or Petite Verdot for this recipe, as high acidity can make the drink a bit sour.
- Adding the wine off the heat will reduce the chance of curdling.
This sangria is perfect for a winter party. It’s filled with seasonal flavors like apple cider, oranges, and cranberries.
- 1 cup cranberries
- 1 apple cored and sliced into thin quartered wedges
- 2 oranges sliced into thin quartered wedges
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 bottle RayLen Vineyards 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2 cups apple cider
- ½ cup brandy
- Add cranberries to a large pitcher and muddle together to release the juice. Add apple slices, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, cabernet sauvignon, apple cider, and brandy to the pitcher. Stir to combine.
- Cover the pitcher with plastic wrap. Place the pitcher in the refrigerator for 6 – 8 hours to allow the flavors to marry.
- To serve, fill a wine glass with chilled sangria.
- Don’t have a muddler? Simply use the bottom part of a wooden spoon. Gently press the cranberries to release their juices.
- Add some sparkling water or sparkling soda to the sangria if you’re not a fan of strong cocktails.
- Sangria can be made up to three days ahead of time, simply store the sangria covered in the refrigerator.
Cider Mulled Wine
This cider mulled wine is a great way to warm up this winter. Full of rich spices and sweet apples, it’s perfect for any holiday gathering.
- 2 tablespoons mulling spices (use your favorite pre-mixed blend or make your own using this recipe)
- 1 bottle of RayLen Vineyards 2019 Chardonnay
- 4 cups apple cider
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 orange – sliced
- 2 apples – sliced
- Additional cinnamon sticks for garnish
- Begin by filling a spice bag with your mulling spices.
- In a heavy-bottom saucepan or a slow cooker, add the bagged mulling spices, wine, cider, and honey. Mix to combine. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours. Remove the bagged mulling spices and discard them.
- Before serving, stir in the orange and apple slices. Serve immediately or keep covered and set on low
- If you prefer a stronger apple flavor, add up to an additional 8 ounces of apple cider.
Get the Holiday Season Started with RayLen Vineyard Wines
There you have it! Three delicious winter drinks that you can serve at your holiday party. Wintertime is a great opportunity to get together with friends and family, so why not make it even more special by serving some of RayLen’s wonderful wines? We offer a wide range of red and white wines to choose from – all perfect for the holidays! So get out there and find the perfect bottle (or two) to complement your winter gathering!