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Warming Beverages for a Crowd

Warming Beverages for a Crowd
What could be a better crowd-pleaser on cold winter days than hot drinks? Here you'll find recipes for every occasion, be it an open house or an impromptu gathering of close friends. These festive beverages are sure to infuse your house with a welcoming aroma.

Mulled cider, fragrant with cinnamon and other sweet spices, is synonymous with the winter season. And who can resist a mug of steaming hot chocolate—especially when it's spiked with one of the season's favorite flavors, peppermint? (This soothing drink will be a hit with the kids.) We've even dressed up a simple cup of coffee by adding a dash of brandy and a dollop of spiced whipped cream. It's just right for ending a winter meal in style.

Serving warm beverages to a crowd can be done in several convenient ways. A pot on the stove with a ladle is the most basic service; the simmering beverage will perfume the whole house and will draw crowds into the kitchen. At large gatherings and buffets, a thermal carafe will keep drinks toasty warm for the entire evening. A bowl full of garnishes, like marshmallows or cinnamon sticks can be left alongside for guests to help themselves. Just remember to label the carafe to identify the contents, especially if you'll also be serving tea and coffee.