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Holiday drinks and appetizers
Ideas that are sure to please friends and family
Most holidays are centered on food and drink, part of what makes them so merry. We’ve found some holiday appetizer and drink classics to try this holiday season

Classic eggnog

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 8 minutes

Ready in: 6 hours 28 minutes


4 cups milk

5 whole cloves

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

12 egg yolks

1 ½ cups sugar

2 ½ cups light rum

4 cups light cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


1. Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and cinnamon in a saucepan. Heat over lowest setting for five minutes. 

Slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.

2. In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for three minutes, or until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about an hour.

3. Stir in rum, cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

Slow-cooker candied nuts

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 2 hours

Ready in: 2 hours 10 minutes



1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 ½ cups pecan halves

1 ½ cups walnut halves

1 cup unbleached almonds


1. In a greased three-quart slow cooker, mix butter, confectioners’ sugar and spices. Add nuts; toss to coat. Cook, covered, on low two to three hours or until nuts are crisp, stirring once.

2. Transfer nuts to waxed paper to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Appetizer wreath

Prep: 20 minutes

Bake: 15 minutes plus cooling

Total time: prep 20 minutes, bake 15 minutes


2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls

Food wreath

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon dill weed

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 ½ cups chopped fresh broccoli florets

1 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper

Celery leaves


1. Remove crescent dough from packaging (do not unroll). 

Cut each tube into eight slices. Arrange in an 11-inch circle on an ungreased 14-inch pizza pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for five minutes before carefully removing to a serving platter; cool completely.

2. In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, dill and garlic powder until smooth. Spread over wreath; top with broccoli, celery and red pepper. Form a bow garnish with celery leaves.

Grandma’s apple pie ‘a la mode’ moonshine

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 25 minutes


1/2 gallon apple cider


1/2 gallon apple juice

4 cinnamon sticks

1 whole clove

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 cups 190 proof grain alcohol 

(such as Everclear®)

2 cups vanilla vodka


1. Bring the apple cider, apple juice, cinnamon sticks, whole clove, white sugar and brown sugar to a boil in a large pot; reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

2. Stir the grain alcohol and vanilla vodka into the cooled mixture. Pour into bottles and refrigerate.