Slow-Cooker Cocktails

You probably never thought of your slow cooker as a punch bowl, but it's the perfect option for making hot holiday drinks. Combine ingredients in a slow cooker and heat on low for 1 to 3 hours. Remove spices, set on warm, and serve. Each recipe makes 7 to 8 cups.
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Red-Hot Apple Cider
Combine 2/3 cup red cinnamon candies and 8 cups apple cider; stir occasionally to melt candy. When ready to serve, mix in 1 cup brandy and add thin apple slices.

Mulled Red Wine
Mix two 750-ml bottles dry red wine such as zinfandel, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 5 whole cloves, 4 cinnamon sticks, 4 allspice berries, and 4 peppercorns. Serve with fresh-cut orange slices.

Winter Tea
Mix 2 1/2 cups water, 2 cups orange juice, 1 1/4 cups cranberry juice, 5 star anise, and 1/2 cup brown sugar. When hot, add 6 cran-apple tea bags, steep 8 minutes, and remove bags. Add 1 3/4 cups spiced rum.

Sugarplum Kiss
Combine 3 3/4 cups peach nectar, 1 3/4 cups prune juice, 2 1/2 cups sweet white wine, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 6 cinnamon sticks, 5 whole cloves, and 5 cardamom pods. Serve in sugar-rimmed glasses.

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, December/January 2010.


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