“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
This fruity beverage is great all year-round, and tasty hot or chilled. I got the recipe from a co-worker and made it one Christmas for a family gathering. Now whenever we get together for the holidays, I'm the designated wassail-maker.
Meet the Cook: Here in the High Sierras, my husband and I operate a small bed and breakfast inn. I like serving this drink to winter guests as they warm up in front of our stone fireplace - it's a favorite with everyone for its heavenly scent! It's also a standby when we host local groups, who frequently meet at our place.
I learned to cook from my mother. I have been at it since I was a girl. My husband and I have six grown children and a total of 11 grandchildren.
-Marlene Cartwright, Sierra City, California
One of the best things about holiday cooking is the aromas that drift through the whole house! To me, it wouldn't be Christmas without the tang of oranges, cinnamon and cloves in the air-just what you'll smell as this fresh cranberry punch is simmering.
To get the brightest red color in your punch, be sure to pick out the reddest of the fresh berries as you clean them.
This thirst-quenching beverage really rounded out our Valentine's Day dinner. But I've found it makes a colorful addition to any special occasion no matter what time of year.—Kay Curtis, Guthrie, Oklahoma
Adding colorful appeal to a wintertime meal is a easy—just turn to this tasty cider Anna Mary Beiler developed in her strasburg, Pennsylvania kitchen. "The cranberry juice gives it lots of flavor, too," she confirms.—Anna Mary Beiler, Strasburg, Pennsylvania
As a table brightener, fix a bowl of festive fruity punch—it's a refreshing beverage you can mix together in moments. To dress it up even more, I add an ice ring filled with oranges, lemons and cranberries. —Karen Ann Bland, Gove, Kansas
My mother would brew a batch of this hot drink when any of us children were sick. One sip and we'd instantly feel better! Now I make it for my husband and daughter on dreary winter mornings or anytime they're feeling under the weather.