It may sound odd to have childhood memories of hot cocktails, but the scents of warm spiced rum and wine mingle with those of a freshly cut tree in my mind. My dad in particular is a fan of hot buttered rum, and for years my mom’s homemade mix was a holiday staple. Mulled wine was another family tradition, but I associate it with New Year’s Day, when my sister and I would go with my mom to a puzzle party. Several tables of complicated jigsaw puzzles would fill the living room, but the boxes showing the finished picture were always hidden away. We would spend hours linking together pieces, often the only kids amid a roomful of adults. The scent of warm spices hit you the moment the hostess opened the front door.
Now that I’m old enough to enjoy not just the smell but also the taste of winter warmers, I’ve adapted the family recipes to suit my tastes: less sugar and more spice. Don’t hesitate to adapt these recipes yet again until you decide they’re filled with everything nice. Learn to make Hot Buttered Rum and Gløgg