Texas Living

Homemade Holiday Gift Guide: Wintry Drink Starter Kits

By Annie Wiles 12.15.21

Sometimes in life, the little things are the most important. Add a sparkle of handmade goodness to your gifts with these simple but effective winter drink ideas. Bonus: If gifting a spice sachet or syrup, write the recipes below on the gift tag. Or just make them for yourself!

winter drinks- Cider
Photo by Elizabeth Lavin

Mulled Cider Spice Sachet

Mulling spice sachets make sweet small gifts to attach to another homemade gift. You can find muslin tea bags on Amazon and in other shops. For one sachet, add:

  • 2 cinnamon sticks, plus extra to use as stirring sticks if desired
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 12 allspice berries
  • 6 star anise pods
  • 2 cardamom pods

Gifting Instructions: Add sachet contents to make 6 cups of mulled cider.
Mulled Cider Recipe: Combine ½ gallon of apple cider and spices from 1 mulled cider spice sachet in a large pot. Split 1 vanilla bean pot lengthwise and scrape in the seeds, then add the pod. Bring cider to a slow simmer, then reduce the heat, keeping it at just below a simmer for about an hour to allow the flavors to infuse. Strain and pour into mugs, garnishing with a sprinkle of freshly ground nutmeg. Add a cinnamon stirring stick for an extra touch. Serves 6.

winter drinks- Chai Latte
Photo by Elizabeth Lavin

Chai Latte Spice Sachet

Using the same method as above, fill one muslin tea bag with the following:

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 piece of crystallized ginger

Gifting Instructions: Add sachet contents to make 2 cups of chai latte.
Chai Latte Recipe: Crush spices from 1 chai latte spice sachet in a mortar and pestle (or with the back of a spoon). Add 3 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer gently, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add 3 black tea bags, and steep for 5 minutes. Discard tea bags, add 1 cup of whole milk and ¼ cup of brown sugar, and bring to a simmer over high heat, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Strain into a teapot and serve hot. Serves 2.

winter drinks- Hot Chocolate
Photo by Elizabeth Lavin

Peppermint Syrup

This is the perfect drop of winter sweetness to gift in a cute jar. Bring your ingredients to a soft boil in a small saucepan, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Cool your syrup to room temperature, transfer to a small Mason jar or flip-top bottle, and refrigerate until ready to use or gift. You’ll need:

  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract

Gifting Instructions: Add 1 tablespoon to hot chocolate or other winter drinks.
Peppermint Milk Hot Chocolate Recipe: Slowly heat 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 8 ounces of milk chocolate, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of peppermint syrup in a small saucepan until chocolate is dissolved. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream and crushed candy cane if desired. Serves 2.

winter drinks - Eggnog
Photo by Elizabeth Lavin

Brown Sugar Syrup

Using the same method as above, bring your ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring, until sugar dissolves. For this syrup, you’ll want to let it cool for 3 hours while spices infuse. Strain, transfer to a small Mason jar or flip-top bottle, and refrigerate until ready to use or gift. You’ll need:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 cloves
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tablespoon of orange zest
  • 1 cup of brown sugar

Gifting Instructions: Add 2 tablespoons to eggnog.
All-Ages Eggnog Recipe: Separate 3 large eggs and whisk yolks with 1/3 cup of sugar until emulsified; it will look yellow and frothy. Whisk in 1 cup of whole milk and ½ cup of heavy cream. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Whisk egg whites until they form stiff peaks. When ready to serve, gently fold in egg whites using a metal spoon and a gentle touch. Pour into glasses and dust with nutmeg and cinnamon to taste. Serves 2.

For more from our homemade holiday gift guide, learn how to gift cookie boxes and baking mixes.

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