“When our children were younger, I always made warm cider for Christmas Eve. This herbal version was a favorite. The kids are grown, but my husband and I still enjoy a mug or two during the holidays for old time’s sake.” —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
I like to enhance the naturally good taste of hot apple cider with a bundle filled with cloves, allspice, dried orange peel and a cinnamon stick. It really warms you up on a winter day.—Alissa Stehr, Gau-Odernheim, Germany
I think the best thing about this recipe is that you can make it hours ahead of time so you can spend more time with your guests. And you can keep it warm on the stovetop or in a slow cooker throughout the party. —Mary Price, Youngstown, Ohio
My mom used to make cider for the holidays, so I based my citrusy-vanilla variation on her recipe. I think it hits the spot! The longer the cider simmers, the stronger the flavors will be.—Kristin Weglarz, Bremerton, Washington
Wonderfully versatile, this gift is seasoned for both sipping and sniffing. When mixed with fruit juices, it's a delicious winter warmer-upper. Boiled in water, it makes a "scentsational" potpourri that will add a heavenly fragrance to the whole house!
Put the butter base for this beverage in a decorative jar and attach a copy of the recipe for a great gift from your kitchen. You can omit the brandy for a kid-friendly version.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
When the temperature drops outside, I like to warm up family and friends with steaming mugs of simple spiced cider. The recipe can easily be doubled for a larger group.—Deirdre Cox, Kansas City, Missouri