Whenever I've hosted a holiday gathering, I've found that guests can sometimes have a deer-in-headlights reaction when I greet them with, "What would you like to drink?" This open-ended question can be a hard one for people, because they probably haven't thought about drinks yet, they're trying to figure out what you might have on hand, or they don't want to ask for anything too complicated.
Once I switched to having a big-batch drink ready to go, it became much easier. Turns out that most of my guests are more than happy to start with what I've already made, as it takes the guesswork and awkwardness out of the equation. "Would you like some mulled cider? I've got some rum or bourbon for spiking too!" is also a much, much more fun way to start a party.
Whether you're looking for something warm and fruity, cold and creamy, or boozy and bold, there's a big-batch eggnog, slow cooker drink, punch, or pitcher drink just waiting to be served at your next holiday or New Year's gathering. Cheers!
Keeping It Hot
The slow cooker is one of our favorite winter appliances because it's the perfect vehicle for making and serving hot drinks to keep us cozy all winter long. Use it to make wassail, a hot mulled fruit punch loaded with fresh ginger and spices; Irish coffee for an after-dinner lift; or slow cooker eggnog lattes when everyone's gathered around opening up presents. All you need are some festive mugs and an outlet to plug the slow cooker into.
Keeping It Cool
If you're craving something refreshing or creamy, go with punches or pitcher drinks instead. Dried hibiscus flowers infuse amazing color and flavor into a Jamaican sorrel punch, or break out the blender and buzz up a Puerto Rican coconut rum punch or dairy-free eggnog. All these tasty drinks are a great excuse to pull out (or buy!) a pretty punch bowl or pitcher to show off to your guests as they walk in the door.
Read more: 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Making Punch