Janet's Notebook
Seasonal Drinks Warm Hearts Though the Generations

Yvonne Corbett's Old Virginia Wassail

Years ago a dear friend introduced me to the flavors of her heritage. With a Puerto Rican father and Dominican mother, she grew up with an endless supply of fresh ingredients, hearty recipes and spices galore. One Christmas she surprised each of us girlfriends with a delicate glass bottle filled with her favorite childhood drink, Coquito. Beautifully wrapped with a cascading bow, the bottle was almost too pretty to open... but boy, am I sure glad I did! To this day, that homemade gift of her family's favorite recipe stands as one of the most meaningful presents I've ever received.

Coquito, also known as Puerto Rican eggnog, is rich with the flavors of the Caribbean; vanilla, coconut, rum and cinnamon blend together into a wonderfully creamy holiday treat that can just as easily (and deliciously) be served without the added alcohol. Recipe Club member Rebecca Figueroa of Union City, NJ rekindled warm memories for me when she recently shared her favorite Coquito recipe with us at Just A Pinch. It was a real reminder that recipes represent so much more than mere ingredients and directions!

Yvonne Corbett of Kalispell, MT has developed her own holiday drink tradition. Her Old Virginia Wassail Cider could charm the buttons right off any snowman.

"This is a good drink anytime, but especially at the holidays," says Yvonne. "Great for cold weather entertaining... and the smell of it simmering on the stove is like a little slice of heaven."

We couldn't agree more. Yvonne's recipe is a kicked-up version of traditional wassail which generally resembles a mulled cider. By adding orange and pineapple juices, her recipe comes alive with the a tangy sweetness unlike any other cider I've tasted. A true cold-weather delight.

And really, folks, if we're talking cold-weather comforters, what is more toe-toastingly soothing than a warm, creamy mug of steaming hot chocolate? We stocked-up on mini marshmallows as soon as we came across Jennifer Smith's recipe for Santa's Special Hot Cocoa. This fast and easy recipe is proof that basic can be best! Calling for only a few, straight-forward ingredients, Jennifer's recipe is a must-do on chilly evenings. Put a pot on, cuddle up and get cozy with this classically fabulous cocoa.

Whatever your mood, whatever your flavor, find time during these busy days to treat yourself to the comforts of the season. Generations before us have lifted a glass and toasted to the promise of tomorrow. That promise for the future remains... as steadfastly as the recipes from our past.

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1 Comment
Jewel Hall - Nov 3, 2010
I love Wassail and other cold weather drinks. It's so nice to serve them and wonderful to be on the receiving end when you've come in out of the cold. I remember 3-4 year ago being in a Christmas Parade and riding in an open convertible with my little Schitzapoo(the kids loved her !!) My friend with her very heavy coat and I got separated. I was warmly dressed but it was COLD !!! When we finally arrived at a warm restaurant, a cup of HOT Spiced Tea was waiting for me !! That was Heavenly....I now have a renewed love and respect for Hot Drinks served to Very COLD people....Thanks for the Post and CHEERS !!!