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Sooth yourself with a non-alcoholic winter drink!

There is nothing more soothing to warm the cockles of your heart after being exposed to the cold, than a deliciously warming drink. Mulled wine and cider are very common during the festive period, but why not try to a twist on the more traditional recipes without having to feel guilty about the alcoholic content. In fact, in some cases the winter warmers may also provide some health benefits too, such as vitamin C.

Cranberry Cider  – Martha Stewart

(Serves 8)
2 oranges
2 litres cranberry juice
4 three-inch cinnamon sticks
2 two-inch pieces fresh ginger, peeled and sliced lengthwise
Sugar, to taste

Simply juice one orange and remove four long strips of orange peel from the orange. Pour in the orange juice, the peel, the cranberry juice, cinnamon sticks and ginger into a pan with a little sugar (if desired). Then simmer over medium heat and reduce to ‘low’ for 20 minutes. Pass ingredients through a sieve and serve hot.

Peppermint hot chocolate (a favourite with the children) – Martha Stewart
(Serves 4)
5 ½ tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
2 pints full fat milk
85g semi-sweet chocolate chips
7 peppermint sticks; 3 crushed, 4 left whole
A pinch of salt
Whipped cream for the topping

Gradually whisk in the milk until cocoa has dissolved. Add the chocolate chips and crushed peppermint and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate and peppermint have melted.

As soon as it comes to the boil, remove from the heat and add the pinch of salt. Pour into large comforting mugs with whipped cream and serve each with a peppermint stick.

Dreamy milk –
(Serves 1)
1 mug of milk
1 teaspoon of honey
2 drops of vanilla extract
1 pinch of ground cinnamon

Pour milk into a microwave safe mug and heat milk on high until it begins to foam. Then stir in the honey and vanilla, then sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.

Warm Buttered Lemonade – Mother Nature Network
(Serves 4)
750ml water
180ml fresh lemon juice
85g sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
4 cinnamon sticks (optional)

Simmer the ingredients in a pan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. The pour into each mug and dot with a butter and add a cinnamon stick for added texture.

Mulled Ginger & Pear – Jamie Oliver
2 litres of cloudy apple juice
2 thumb sized ginger pieces, sliced
2 ripe pears, sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cardamom pods
3 tbsp light brown sugar
4 limes (for juicing)
2 limes (for the zest)

Pour the apple juice into a big pan and all the ingredients and bring everything to the boil and simmer until all of the sugar has dissolved. Serve warm in glasses or mugs.