How to Make a Shrub Drink

A shrub drink is a simple, refreshing beverage made with vinegar and fruit! Drink it as a cocktail or mocktail. …

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

A shrub drink is a simple, refreshing beverage made with vinegar and fruit! Drink it as a cocktail or mocktail. 

Shrub drink

Here’s a fruity, refreshing drink everyone should try at least once: the Shrub! This sweet and sour drink works as a cocktail or a mocktail, pairing a fruity vinegar syrup with soda. This historical drink has become popular at bars, restaurants and with home cooks in the past years, because it’s so refreshing and ripe for unlimited fruity variations. It’s very simple to make a shrub drink at home: all you need are 2 days and a bit of fruit. It makes a killer cocktail and just as killer mocktail!

What is a shrub?

The shrub is a drink made with a fruit-infused vinegar syrup and sparkling water, either as a soft drink or with alcohol to make it a cocktail. The drink stems back to 17th century England, where vinegar was used to preserve berries and other fruits. Shrubs became popular in America in the 19th century. The typical method was to pour vinegar over berries and allow the mixture to ferment for a few days, then add sugar or honey and reduce the mixture into a syrup.

Shrubs went out of fashion after the invention of refrigeration, but they have surged in popularity today. They’re featured on American bar and restaurant menus, where bartenders often have their own signature flavors and blends.

Shrub drink

Making the shrub syrup

After we enjoyed a basil shrub on a recent night out, we were inspired to try a hand at shrub making ourselves. Turns out, it’s incredibly simple and easily customizable to the ingredients you have on hand. Here’s the basic process:

  • Combine equal parts sugar and vinegar. We like the flavor of red wine vinegar here, but you can also use apple cider vinegar, Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar. Stay away from white vinegar (it’s much too strong) or balsamic vinegar (also too strong). You can add a drizzle of balsamic to a wine or cider vinegar if you like the flavor.
  • Chop and muddle fruit, then add to the vinegar. Use the same quantity of sugar and vinegar. This is where you can get creative! We used blueberries here and gently mashed them before adding to the vinegar mixture. Other ideas? Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, peaches, pears or plums would work well here.
  • Add herbs or spices if desired. If you’d like, add any herbs you have on hand or whole spices. Some ideas include rosemary, thyme, mint, sage, cardamom pods, peppercorns, star anise, or cinnamon sticks.
  • Refrigerate for 2 days, then strain. This allows the flavors to fully permeate into the syrup. After 2 days, strain through a fine mesh strainer.
What is a shrub

How to make a shrub drink (mocktail)

Got your shrub syrup? Now you can make a shrub drink! One nice thing about a shrub is that it’s equally as good as a cocktail and a mocktail (we think). Mixing the syrup with bubbles makes a tangy, sweet tart drink that’s incredibly refreshing. Here’s what to do:

  • Add 1 ounce shrub syrup and 3 ounces sparkling water to a glass. You can mix it right in the glass! 1 ounce equals 2 tablespoons, if you’re measuring with tablespoons.
  • Stir well! If you don’t stir well and you drink with a straw, you can get a surprisingly vinegary first sip (it happened to us). Make sure it’s full integrated as a drink.
  • Garnish. Add ice and garnish with fresh berries and herbs.
Shrub drink

How to make a shrub cocktail

A shrub cocktail is a fun and refreshing way to make a summer drink. It’s great for parties or vacations because you can mix up a big jar of the syrup in advance. The recipe below makes 1 ½ cups shrub syrup, enough for 12 drinks. Here’s how to make a shrub cocktail:

  • Add 1 ounce shrub syrup, 1 ½ ounces gin or aquavit, 1 teaspoon simple syrup and 2 ounces sparkling water to a glass. The flavors are great with gin, though you could use vodka as well. We also like it with aquavit, a Scandinavian distilled spirit. We also found the flavors could use a little extra sweetness for the cocktail version: you can use simple syrup or maple syrup.
  • Stir well! Stir well to make sure the syrup becomes fully incorporated in the drink.
  • Garnish. Add ice and garnish with fresh berries and herbs.
Shrub cocktail

More fruity drinks

Love to mix up special drinks? Here are a few more fun cocktails and mocktails that are great for summer:

This shrub drink recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Shrub drink

How to Make a Shrub (Cocktail or Non-Alcoholic)


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 days
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 48 hours
  • Yield: 1 ½ cups syrup

Description

The shrub drink is a simple, refreshing beverage made with vinegar and fruit! Drink it as a cocktail or mocktail.


Ingredients

For the syrup (makes 1 ½ cups, enough for 12 drinks)

  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup fruit, chopped or muddled* (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, plums, apples, pears, etc)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Optional: add whole herbs or spices like rosemary, mint, thyme, cardamom pods, peppercorns, star anise, etc

For the cocktail

  • 1 ounce** shrub syrup
  • 1 ½ ounce gin or aquavit
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup or maple syrup
  • 2 ounces sparkling water

For the mocktail

  • 1 ounce shrub syrup
  • 6 to 8 ounces sparkling water (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Make the syrup (2 days): In a covered container, stir together the vinegar and sugar. Chop and/or muddle (lightly mash) the fruit and add it to the mixture, along with any whole herbs. Refrigerate for 2 days.
  2. Strain: Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a jar.
  3. Make the drinks: When ready to drink, place the shrub syrup, optional gin or aquavit and simple syrup, and sparkling water in a glass and stir well. If desired, garnish with more fruit and herbs.

Notes

*Shown in the photograph is a blueberry mint shrub.

**1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Cocktail
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Shrub drink, shrub cocktail, what is a shrub

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Mint Lemonade

This mint lemonade recipe is easy and refreshing! The cooling, herbaceous notes of mint pair perfectly with the zing of…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This mint lemonade recipe is easy and refreshing! The cooling, herbaceous notes of mint pair perfectly with the zing of lemon.

Mint Lemonade

Here’s a beverage that’s ideal for summer sipping: Mint Lemonade! This recipe is ideal for when you have loads of this fresh herb on hand. The cooling, herbaceous notes of the mint are a perfect pair with the acidic pop of the lemon. What could be more refreshing? It’s simple to whip up and perfect for parties and entertaining. Or, make a big pitcher to drink off of all week! Here’s our master method.

Ingredients for mint lemonade

This mint lemonade recipe skips making a simple syrup on the stovetop, and goes right to the blender. In fact, all you need to do is blend mint and sugar, then mix it with lemon juice to form lemonade. As a note, this recipe is best in summer you’ve got fresh mint to spare. It calls for 1 cup mint leaves, which can get expensive if you’re buying store-bought out of season. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Fresh mint
  • Lemons
  • Sugar
Mint Lemonade recipe

How to make mint lemonade (basic steps)

It’s very easy to make your own homemade lemonade! The most time consuming part? Juicing the lemons! Here are the basic steps for how to make this mint lemonade (or jump to the recipe below for quantities):

  • Juice the lemons. Using a press juicer is the quickest way to juice lemons: it gets out the most juice and saves your fingers from tiring out from squeezing. The next best choice? A handheld citrus juicer.
  • Blend the mint, sugar and water. Give it a whiz in the blender.
  • Double strain it with a fine mesh strainer! This is the important part. You’ll want to strain the liquid twice to avoid floating sediment that forms from the blended mint.
  • Mix the pitcher. Then mix it in a pitcher with the lemon juice and more cold water.
  • Garnish with fresh mint! This is also important. Garnishing with another sprig of mint is important for getting the right mint aroma to each sip.
Mint lemonade

Variations on this recipe

There are other fun ways to mix up this mint lemonade recipe: like making it sparkling or spiked! Here are a few fun variations:

More lemonade recipes

Want more homemade lemonade flavors? Once you’ve whipped up mint lemonade, try these variations:

This mint lemonade recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Mint Lemonade

Mint Lemonade


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 drinks

Description

This mint lemonade recipe is easy and refreshing! The cooling, herbaceous notes of mint pair perfectly with the zing of lemon.


Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (7 to 8 large lemons)*
  • 7 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed
  • Ice, for serving

Instructions

  1. Juice the lemons. Add the lemon juice to a pitcher with 6 cups cold water.
  2. In a blender, combine the sugar, mint leaves and 1 cup warm water. Blend until fully combined.
  3. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Then strain it back through the strainer into the pitcher with the lemon juice. (Double straining helps to remove sediment that would otherwise form at the top of the liquid.)
  4. Add ice to the pitcher. Garnish each glass with a sprig of fresh mint, to get the most of the mint flavor.  Serve immediately or store refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Lemonade
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Mint lemonade, mint lemonade recipe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Raspberry Iced Tea

This fresh raspberry iced tea is bursting with tangy flavor! It’s easy to make with real berries, ideal for casual…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This fresh raspberry iced tea is bursting with tangy flavor! It’s easy to make with real berries, ideal for casual sipping or entertaining.

Raspberry Iced Tea

Here’s a bright beverage that’s perfect for warm weather: Raspberry Iced Tea! This recipe uses real berries to infuse a tangy pop into this summertime drink. It’s balanced with just the right sweetness to make the berries sing. What’s more fun than adding fresh fruit to tea? This one is great for outdoor entertaining and festive occasions, or for casual sipping on your patio (we like both). The flavor is beyond refreshing, and making it homemade is loads tastier than store-bought. Here’s how it’s done!

Ingredients for raspberry iced tea

Making raspberry iced tea is simple: no need to simmer a raspberry syrup on the stovetop! You’ll simply blend the berries with water and sugar, then add them to tea and chill. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Frozen raspberries: Frozen berries are much more economical than fresh, and the flavor is great. Feel free to use fresh if you have them!
  • Lemon: fresh citrus accentuates the sweet tart berries
  • Sugar: sugar is necessary to balance the flavor here, otherwise it’s overly tart
  • Black tea bags: Black tea has the best flavor here. Keep in mind it has caffeine, but only about half the caffeine level that’s in a cup of coffee.
Raspberry Iced Tea

Tips for straining the raspberries

The main part of this raspberry iced tea that requires effort is straining the raspberries. Because raspberry seeds make unpleasant floaties in a drink, you’ll want to remove them as part of the process. Throw the berries in a blender with water, lemon juice and sugar, then blend until a puree forms. Here’s what to expect when you’re straining:

  • Use a fine mesh strainer. You want to remove all the seeds here, so a fine mesh strainer is key for getting a smooth syrup-like texture.
  • Use a spatula to gradually force the syrup through. It will take longer than you think! But keep forcing it through with a spatula until all the seeds are removed.
Raspberry Iced Tea

Garnishing the drink

If you’re using this raspberry iced tea for entertaining or parties, the garnish is where it’s at! Add some additional raspberries or lemon slices to the pitcher or each glass. Colorful straws also add a fun element: we like these striped paper straws.

Tip: If you don’t want to buy more raspberries, save out a handful for the garnish from the 2 cups you’re using for the pitcher. (Saving out a few doesn’t hurt!)

More types of iced tea

Iced tea is ideal for entertaining: we love it in the summer for cookouts and barbecues! Here are a few other iced tea ideas in addition to this raspberry iced tea:

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Raspberry Iced Tea

Raspberry Iced Tea


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 to 9 cups

Description

This fresh raspberry iced tea is bursting with tangy flavor! It’s easy to make with real berries, ideal for casual sipping or entertaining.


Ingredients

  • 8 cups water, divided
  • 6 black tea bags
  • 2 cups frozen* or fresh raspberries (8 ounces), plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • ¾ cup sugar

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, heat 4 cups water to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add the tea bags. Allow to steep for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place the raspberries*, lemon juice, sugar and 4 cups water in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, using a spatula to push the liquid through (discard the seeds; this takes a few minutes to complete). 
  3. When the tea is steeped, remove the bags and pour it into the bowl with the raspberry water. Allow to cool until room temperature, about 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a pitcher and refrigerate at least 2 hours before drinking. Stores for up to 4 days.

Notes

*We prefer frozen berries because it’s much more economical and the flavor is great. Feel free to use fresh if you have them! If you’d like, save out a handful of the berries for garnishing the pitcher before blending.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Tea
  • Cuisine: Tea
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Raspberry iced tea

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Cucumber Lemonade

This cucumber lemonade is zingy and refreshing: perfect for summer! This green veggie adds the cooling vibe of spa water.…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This cucumber lemonade is zingy and refreshing: perfect for summer! This green veggie adds the cooling vibe of spa water.

Cucumber Lemonade

Cucumber is great in salads and sauces…but an even better use for this green veggie, in our opinion? In drinks! Here’s one that’s absolutely perfect for summer: Cucumber Lemonade! The vegetable adds a cooling, vegetal finish to any drink that’s reminiscent of spa water. Combine that with the zing of the lemon, and it’s the ideal drink for sipping on the patio for a summer barbecue. It’s easy to make: here’s how it’s done!

Ingredients for cucumber lemonade

Cucumber lemonade is simple to whip up using a blender for bringing out the flavor of this green vegetable. Blend the cucumber with sugar, then mix it with lemon juice to form lemonade. You can use any type of cucumber you have: a standard cucumber or English cucumber. English cucumber is typically our preference for salads because of its thin skin and lack of seeds. But you can use a standard cucumber here if you peel and remove the seeds: so either works! You’ll need:

  • Cucumber
  • Lemons
  • Sugar
Cucumber Lemonade

How to make cucumber lemonade (basic steps)

Making homemade lemonade is easier than you think! the only time consuming part is juicing the lemons. Here are a few notes on the process, or jump to the recipe below for quantities:

  • Juice the lemons. Using a press juicer is the quickest way to juice lemons: it gets out the most juice and saves your fingers from tiring out from squeezing. The next best choice? A handheld citrus juicer.
  • Blend the cucumber, sugar and water. Give it a whiz in the blender.
  • Strain it with a fine mesh strainer! This removes any sediment that might float on the top of the surface of the lemonade.
  • Mix the pitcher. Mix the cucumber syrup with lemon juice and water in a pitcher. That’s it!

For the garnish

Serving this cucumber lemonade for a party or entertaining guests? It’s nice to add a few garnishes to the glass to make it look festive. Here’s what we like to do:

  • Cucumber slices: Add a few cucumber slices to the glass or pitcher; you’ll need to buy an extra cucumber for this.
  • Lemon wedges: Lemon wedges or wheels also look lovely in a glass or pitcher!
  • Colored straws: It’s all about the presentation! We like adding these striped paper straws to glasses.
Cucumber Lemonade

Variations on cucumber lemonade

Want to add a spin on this cucumber lemonade? Here are a few ways to step it up:

More lemonade flavors? Try Ginger Lemonade, Mint Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade or Watermelon Lemonade.

More cucumber drinks

There are many of ways to add this green vegetable to drinks, from cocktails to water! Here are a few ideas you’ll love:

This cucumber lemonade recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Cucumber Lemonade

Cucumber Lemonade


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings

Description

This cucumber lemonade is zingy and refreshing: perfect for summer! This green veggie adds the cooling vibe of spa water.


Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (7 to 8 large lemons, plus more for garnish)*
  • 1 cup peeled and seeded cucumber (1 large cucumber, plus more for garnish)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 6 cups water, divided
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Juice the lemons. Peel the cucumber and remove the seeds with a spoon (if using an English cucumber, you can skip this step).
  2. Add the cucumber, sugar and 2 cups warm water to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the liquid through fine mesh sieve into a pitcher, using a spatula to push the liquid through (discard the pulp; this takes a few minutes to complete).
  3. To the pitcher with the cucumber mixture, add 4 cups cold water and the fresh squeezed lemon juice. Add a few handfuls ice and serve. If desired, garnish with extra cucumber slices and lemon wedges. 
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Lemonade
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Cucumber lemonade

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Mocha Frappe

The Mocha Frappe is a frozen coffee drink that’s so easy to whip up at home! All you need are…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

The Mocha Frappe is a frozen coffee drink that’s so easy to whip up at home! All you need are 4 ingredients, plus ice.

Mocha Frappe

You don’t need to venture out of the house when you’re craving a frappe: try this sweet and frosty homemade Mocha Frappe! It’s as easy as 4 ingredients, ice, and a blender. This one comes out fluffy and chocolaty, with a subtle bitter coffee finish. It’s irresistibly sippable and takes just 2 minutes to blend up. Usually we tend toward more classic coffee drinks…but this one is just too good!

Ingredients in a mocha frappe

A frappé is a frozen coffee drink of blended instant coffee, sugar and water or milk. It was invented in Greece in the 1950’s by Dimitris Vakondios, who worked for coffee company Nescafe. So it’s no surprise the classic frappé was made with Nescafe instant coffee! A similar drink at Starbucks is the Frappuccino: it’s sweeter and creamier and made with espresso.

This mocha frappe recipe takes inspiration from the classic, and adds a twist of chocolate similar to the drink you can find at McDonalds. This one tastes better, in our opinion! It’s sweetened just enough, and it’s chocolaty and frothy. Here’s what you’ll need (or head to the recipe below):

  • Instant espresso powder
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Cocoa powder
  • Ice
Mocha frappe

The magic ingredient: instant espresso powder

The important ingredient in a frappe? This mocha frappe uses instant espresso powder. It’s ideal for a frappe because it adds coffee flavor without watering down the drink. We tried a few variations with coffee, but instant espresso powder brought just the right bitter flavor. Espresso powder is key to get that mocha flavor (since a Mocha is made with espresso, not coffee.)

The instant espresso powder we used was Delallo brand, but there are lots of other great brands out there. Side bonus: you can also use it for desserts, like tiramisu! Often chocolate cake recipes call for espresso powder because it brings out the chocolate flavor (like this chocolate zucchini cake).

Mocha frappe

Toppings for a mocha frappe

It’s not necessary to top a mocha frappe with whipped cream: and we’re not huge sweet coffee drink people, so we typically don’t. But it does make it look so much more festive! Here are a few options for toppings:

  • Whipped cream: Homemade whipped cream is infinitely better than the store-bought stuff; and easy to make, too
  • Chocolate sauce: It’s fun and festive with a little drizzle
  • Chopped or shaved chocolate: Chocolate shavings also look great
  • Sprinkles: Why not?
  • Festive straws: It’s all about the presentation! We like these striped paper straws.
Frappe

Variation: vegan and dairy free

Want to make a vegan or dairy free mocha frappe? It’s easy: just use oat milk instead of dairy milk! Oat milk is our ideal for coffee drinks because of its creamy texture and neutral flavor. We much prefer it to something like almond milk or soy milk. But feel free to use whatever non-dairy milk you prefer.

What to do for the topping? Make Vegan Whipped Cream! It’s easy and comes out perfectly fluffy (you just have to think ahead a few hours).

More coffee drinks

Love making coffee drinks at home? Here are some of our top coffee drinks and espresso drinks to make:

This mocha frappe recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Mocha frappe

Mocha Frappe


Description

The Mocha Frappe is a frozen coffee drink that’s so easy to whip up at home! All you need are 4 ingredients, plus ice.


Ingredients

  • ¾ cup milk (or oat milk for dairy free)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar*
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 cup ice
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Chocolate sauce, to drizzle (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the milk, sugar, espresso powder and cocoa powder in a blender and blend a few seconds until combined.
  2. Add the ice and blend until creamy. Top with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce, if desired.

Notes

*The flavor comes out pleasantly sweet. If you prefer very sweet coffee drinks, feel free to adjust the sugar to your taste.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: Coffee

Keywords: Frappe, Mocha Frappe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Christmas Punch

This delicious Christmas Punch recipe is fruity and delicious! Make it with rum for a punch with alcohol, or omit…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This delicious Christmas Punch recipe is fruity and delicious! Make it with rum for a punch with alcohol, or omit for non alcoholic.

Christmas Punch

Need a great punch recipe for the holidays? Try this Christmas Punch! The flavor is fruity and delicious, with a little sparkle from ginger ale. You can make it with rum for a punch with alcohol, or omit it for non alcoholic. Either way, it tastes incredible! The best part? Garnish it up with sliced citrus, rosemary branches and cranberries. It couldn’t be more festive or beautiful.

Ingredients in this Christmas Punch recipe

This Christmas Punch recipe is incredibly easy with minimal ingredients. It’s perfect for no-fuss holiday entertaining! When it comes to punch, we’ve found that not anything goes. After some tweaking, we found the perfect combination of juices, carbonated bubbles, and optional alcohol. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cranberry 100% juice blend: This blend of juices is available at most grocery stores, and typically blends grape, apple, and pear juice with cranberry juice. Make sure to look for “100% juice” or “no sugar added” on the label.
  • Pineapple juice: Adds just the right tropical flair! Pineapple is great for punch recipes.
  • Ginger ale: Ginger ale adds just the right carbonation! It’s sweeter than ginger beer, which would also work but results in a spicier ginger flavor.
  • Rum: This makes it into a Christmas punch with alcohol! But it’s just as good without as a non alcoholic punch. Speaking of…
Christmas Punch recipe

Make it with alcohol or non alcoholic

You can add the alcohol right to the Christmas punch, of course! But if you’re entertaining with kids, it’s nice to allow drinkers to spike the drink afterwards. This offers most flexibility: you can essentially serve both an alcoholic and non alcoholic punch at the same time!

  • Add the rum to the punch bowl. If you’re serving all adults, throw the rum right in.
  • Or, spike the drink afterwards! The better way to make an alcoholic Christmas punch is to spike the drink after you ladle it out of the punch bowl. This makes it work for both kids and adults! The best ratio is 2 ounces rum to 8 ounces (1 cup) punch.
  • Other alcohol that works? Bourbon also works well in this Christmas punch recipe.
  • Or, make it as a non alcoholic punch! It’s just as good (really).
Christmas punch alcoholic

Ways to garnish the bowl

The best part about a good Christmas punch recipe? All the garnishes! A good punch has some lovely garnishes floating on top. Here are some of our favorite ideas:

  • Sliced citrus: orange, lemon or lime
  • Pineapple rings
  • Whole spices: star anise, cinnamon sticks, or cloves
  • Rosemary sprigs
  • Fresh or frozen berries: cranberries, raspberries, or blackberries

Notes on serving Christmas punch: preserve the bubbles!

This Christmas punch takes just a few minutes to throw together. But if you want to prep some items in advance, here’s what to do!

  • Chill the liquids in advance. Adding ice waters it down too much, so chill everything prior to serving.
  • Slice the citrus and assemble the garnishes. Make sure you’ve got everything on hand. Refrigerate the citrus until serving.
  • Add the ginger ale right before serving. You can pour everything in the bowl, but try to add the ginger ale right before serving. This way you get the best bubbles!
Non alcoholic Christmas punch

More punch recipes

Love entertaining? Here are a few more punch recipes to add to your repertoire that work in various seasons!

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Christmas Punch

Christmas Punch


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 12 to 16
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This delicious Christmas Punch recipe is fruity and delicious! Make it with rum for a punch with alcohol, or omit for non alcoholic.


Ingredients

  • 64 ounces cranberry 100% juice blend, chilled
  • 32 ounces pineapple juice, chilled
  • 32 ounces ginger ale, chilled
  • 1 750 ml bottle aged rum (optional)*
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • For the garnish: 5 star anise, fresh or frozen cranberries, rosemary sprigs

Instructions

  1. Add the cranberry juice blend, pineapple juice, and ginger ale to a punch bowl. Add the rum, if using. Garnish with orange and lemon slices, and if desired, cranberries, star anise and rosemary sprigs.

Notes

*Or, make it both alcoholic and non alcoholic! Spike the drink after you ladle it out of the punch bowl: add 2 ounces rum to 8 ounces (1 cup) punch.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Punch
  • Cuisine: Drink

Keywords: Christmas punch

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Christmas Coffee

Enjoy cozy Christmas coffee in the morning, or spiked with Baileys on Christmas Eve! Add gingerbread syrup and top with…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Enjoy cozy Christmas coffee in the morning, or spiked with Baileys on Christmas Eve! Add gingerbread syrup and top with whipped cream.

Christmas Coffee

Looking for a cozy drink for the holidays? This cozy-spiced Christmas coffee is where it’s at! Mix up a homemade gingerbread syrup with brown sugar and whole spices: it infuses the best hints of cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Top with whipped cream and festive sprinkles, if you like! You can serve it at Christmas breakfast or brunch, or even spike it with Baileys for a treat on Christmas Eve. Here’s how it’s done!

What’s in Christmas Coffee?

This Christmas coffee recipe features hot drip coffee and gingerbread syrup. It’s similar to a Gingerbread Latte but it uses coffee instead of espresso. Top it with whipped cream and douse with red and green sprinkles for a festive holiday vibe. If you’d like you can add Baileys to spike it, and it comes like a spin on a classic Irish coffee. We like it both ways: it can work for mornings or evenings. Here’s what you’ll need for Christmas coffee:

  • Drip coffee
  • Gingerbread syrup: homemade or purchased (see below)
  • Whipped cream, for garnish
  • Baileys Irish Cream or milk, if desired
Gingerbread Syrup

Coffee brewing methods

Like with any coffee drink, the higher quality the coffee, the better the flavor! Make this with a standard coffee maker and it tastes okay. But make it using one of these coffee methods, and the flavor is incredible. Here are our top coffee brewing methods:

  • Chemex (pour over): This is our top choice for the best cup of coffee. There’s a bit of technique and equipment involved, but we’ve been making every morning for years. With a large pot you can make 4 cups at once. Go to Pour Over Coffee.
  • French press: Another great method is French Press Coffee! It has a great flavor and is a cheaper and easier method.
  • Moka Pot / Bialetti: For very strong coffee that’s almost like espresso, you can use a Moka Pot! It’s a combination between drip and espresso and has a robust flavor.
Gingerbread Syrup

Make or purchase gingerbread syrup

Now, let’s tackle the syrup! For the best flavor in Christmas coffee, use this homemade gingerbread syrup. It’s a brown sugar syrup that’s infused with fresh ginger, allspice berries, and cinnamon sticks. Simmer it for 20 minutes and give it a taste: the flavor pops with an intensely spiced kick!

  • Homemade gingerbread syrup has the best flavor here! It takes just 20 minutes and we highly recommend it. Go to Gingerbread Syrup.
  • Purchased gingerbread syrup also works, though every brand has a different flavor and sweetness. Here’s a link to buy gingerbread syrup online.
Christmas Coffee

Spike it for boozy Christmas coffee

If you’d like, add a little hint of booze for an adult Christmas coffee! It similar to an Irish coffee, but dressed up for Christmas! It’s great with Baileys Irish Cream, but there are lots of other options. Here are some ideas for spiked Christmas coffee:

  • Bourbon
  • Irish whiskey
  • Peppermint schnapps
  • Creme de menthe
  • Brandy
  • Baileys Irish Cream
  • Kahlua

More Christmas drinks

There are so many tasty drinks to bring cheer at the holidays! Here are some of our favorite holiday drinks and Christmas cocktails:

This Christmas coffee recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, use vegan whipped cream (or omit).

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Christmas Coffee

Christmas Coffee


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Enjoy cozy Christmas coffee in the morning, or spiked with Baileys on Christmas Eve! Add gingerbread syrup and top with whipped cream.


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (1 cup) hot coffee
  • 2 teaspoons Gingerbread Syrup (homemade or purchased)
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Baileys or a splash of milk of choice, optional
  • Homemade whipped cream, for topping (optional; or vegan whipped cream for vegan)
  • Sprinkles, for topping (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the Homemade Gingerbread Syrup in advance (or use purchased syrup).
  2. Make the coffee, using your favorite method (we like Chemex pour over or French press).
  3. Make the homemade whipped cream, making sure to whip to soft peaks.
  4. Add the coffee to a glass or mug, leaving about an inch at the top for the whipped cream if using. Stir in the gingerbread syrup.
  5. Gently float the whipped cream on top using the back of a spoon.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Coffee
  • Cuisine: Coffee

Keywords: Christmas coffee

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

Here’s the very best homemade hot chocolate recipe: full of rich chocolaty flavor and easy to whip up in 5…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Here’s the very best homemade hot chocolate recipe: full of rich chocolaty flavor and easy to whip up in 5 minutes. Never buy the mix again!

Hot chocolate

Sure, you can buy the premade packets with pictures of snow covered ski chalets. But did you know the absolute best hot chocolate is homemade in just 5 minutes? After years of tinkering, we’ve got a master recipe for you. Here’s our very best homemade hot chocolate recipe: it’s creamy, rich, chocolaty, and tastes like a dream. All you need are a few ingredients, and you might already have them on hand. And if you’ve got chocolate chips…well, they make all the difference.

Hot cocoa vs hot chocolate

First though: what’s the difference between these two similar terms? Is there even a difference?

  • Hot cocoa and hot chocolate are commonly used as synonyms, especially in the US. So you’ll find people using them interchangeably.
  • The technical definitions are hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder, milk and sugar: it has a thinner consistency and is very sweet. Hot chocolate is made with real chocolate, and may be thicker and less sweet.

Either way, you can generally use these two as synonyms. So this recipe is both a homemade hot chocolate recipe and a hot cocoa recipe! Score.

Hot chocolate recipe

Ingredients for the best hot chocolate recipe

There’s a bit of a debate in the culinary community about what makes the best homemade hot chocolate recipe. Some claim it’s chopped melted chocolate. Others claim cocoa powder is the way to go. After numerous tests, we found cocoa powder plus real chocolate is the real winner. But you can omit the chocolate if you don’t have it on hand! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cocoa powder
  • 2% milk (or oat milk)
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon
  • Semi sweet or dark chocolate chips (optional but recommended)

How to make homemade hot chocolate: a few tips

There’s not much to a homemade recipe: it’s pretty much dump and whisk! But we’ve got a couple tips before you scroll down to the recipe:

  • First, whisk a little milk with the cocoa powder. This helps to make a paste and dissolve most of the powder, which can get lumpy.
  • A pinch of cinnamon adds complexity. You can add even more if you’d like a stronger flavor.
  • Real chocolate adds richness, body, and depth in flavor. You can make it with just cocoa powder, but the real chocolate takes it to a whole new level.
Homemade hot chocolate

Add toppings to serve

This homemade hot chocolate recipe tastes absolutely amazing as is. Honestly, we rarely add anything else. But if you’d like, add toppings to make it next level cozy! You can use it as part of a hot chocolate bar and let guests top their drinks as desired. Try these toppings:

  • Homemade whipped cream
  • Shaved chocolate
  • Cocoa powder
  • Marshmallows (homemade or purchased)
  • Peppermint candies, crushed
  • Chocolate sauce

Variations on hot chocolate

There are so many ways to vary this hot chocolate recipe! Add flavors or mix it up by spiking it with booze. Or, go for a healthier spin with less sugar and richness. Here are the best variations on this cozy drink (add the quantities to the 2 serving recipe below):

Hot cocoa

More hot drinks

Once the weather gets a chill, it’s time to cup your hands around a cozy mug. Outside of this homemade hot cocoa, here are some other hot beverages to take off the chill:

This hot cocoa recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten free. For dairy free and vegan, use oat milk and dairy-free chocolate (or omit).

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Hot chocolate

Homemade Hot Chocolate


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 drinks
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s the very best homemade hot chocolate recipe: full of rich chocolaty flavor and easy to whip up in 5 minutes. Never buy the mix again!


Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 cups 2% milk (or oat milk)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • ¼ cup (1 ½ ounces) semisweet or dark chocolate chips*

Instructions

  1. Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and ¼ cup of the milk and whisk until the cocoa powder is mostly integrated. Whisk in the remaining milk until smooth.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and heat over medium heat until the chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Do not boil. Serve immediately, garnished with whipped cream or marshmallows.

Notes

*You can omit for a great cup of hot cocoa with a lighter flavor (and less calories). But the chocolate really adds richness in flavor. We highly recommend it!

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Hot chocolate, Hot chocolate recipe, Homemade hot chocolate, Hot cocoa

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Thanksgiving Pomegranate Punch

This pomegranate Thanksgiving punch is vibrant and tastes irresistibly light and fruity! Pomegranate juice and citrus make magic. This post…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This pomegranate Thanksgiving punch is vibrant and tastes irresistibly light and fruity! Pomegranate juice and citrus make magic.

Thanksgiving Punch

This post was created in partnership with POM Wonderful. All opinions are our own.

Here’s a punch recipe that caught us by surprise…because it’s even more delicious than it looks. Try this Thanksgiving Pomegranate Punch! This ruby red punch stars POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and fresh citrus with a hint of maple syrup. It’s our favorite pomegranate juice to use in drinks and cocktails. Take one sip and it’s light, fruity, bubbly, and sweet tart: a true burst of refreshing flavors! Spike it or drink it non-alcoholic: either way, you won’t be able to stop sipping it (we couldn’t!).

Thanksgiving Punch

Ingredients for Thanksgiving punch

This Thanksgiving pomegranate punch is all about flavor and color! For entertaining recipes, you’ll want a stunning look and flavor: and this recipe delivers both. That eye-popping color of the POM Juice is beautiful and adds a big burst of sweet tart flavor. Even better, this recipe has no refined sugar. It’s a great alternative to punch recipes that call for sodas or added sweeteners! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
  • Lemons
  • Oranges
  • Soda water or club soda
  • Maple syrup
  • Bourbon, brandy or white rum (optional; see more below!)

Using pomegranate juice in cocktails

Pomegranate juice is ideal for cocktails because of its sweet tart flavor and antioxidant goodness. The best on the market, in our opinion, is POM Wonderful! Here’s why we love it:

  • It’s 100% juice. Each 16-ounce bottle of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice contains the juice of four whole-pressed pomegranates and nothing else – no added sugar, fillers or preservatives.
  • The flavor is ideal for elevating cocktails. A little sweet and a little tart, it adds a unique burst of flavor to any drink recipe.
  • It adds antioxidants. Cocktails with POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice harness the antioxidant power of pomegranates.
Thanksgiving punch

Pick bourbon, brandy, or rum

Another great thing about this Thanksgiving pomegranate punch? You can make it with various types of liquor, and it tastes different with each. Here are our favorites, in order of preference:

  • Brandy: The fruity flavor of brandy is true perfection with the sweet tart pomegranate juice! This was Alex’s idea and while I doubted it at first, it was the clear winner. It complements the lightness of the fruit flavors perfectly!
  • Bourbon: Bourbon adds a cozier, warmer vibe and it’s more alcohol-forward. This one is ideal for bourbon lovers.
  • Rum: We can’t resist a good rum punch! White rum melds into the flavors and highlights the lighter characteristics of the pomegranate punch.

Make it spiked or non alcoholic!

This Thanksgiving pomegranate punch works spiked or non-alcoholic. It’s also customizable for both if you have people spike the drink after they ladle it out of the bowl. This offers the most flexibility, especially when serving kids and adults avoiding alcohol. You can essentially serve both an alcoholic and non-alcoholic punch at the same time!

  • Add the liquor right to the punch bowl. If everyone’s drinking, this is the way to go.
  • Or, spike the drink after ladling it out! The most versatile way to make Thanksgiving punch is to spike the drink after you ladle it out of the punch bowl. The best ratio is 1 ounces liquor to 6 ounces (¾ cup) punch.
  • Or, make it as a non-alcoholic punch! It’s just as good (really). In fact, we almost prefer it non-alcoholic: it’s so fruity and light.
Thanksgiving Punch

More pomegranate cocktails

There are so many ways to use POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice in cocktails! Here are a few more pomegranate drinks we love:

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Thanksgiving Punch

Thanksgiving Pomegranate Punch


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 16 servings
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This pomegranate Thanksgiving punch is vibrant and tastes irresistibly light and fruity! Pomegranate juice and citrus make magic.


Ingredients

  • 48 ounces POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice (6 cups)
  • 2 large lemons, squeezed into juice (½ cup)
  • 4 to 5 large navel oranges, squeezed into juice (2 cups)
  • 24 ounces soda water (3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 16 ounces bourbon, brandy or white rum, optional (2 cups)*
  • For the garnish: POM Wonderful Pomegranate Arils (seeds), mint, star anise, orange and lemon slices

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients together in a serving bowl, adding the soda water last.
  2. Top with garnishes and serve. (As a note, pomegranate arils sink to the bottom of a punch bowl. To keep them on top before serving, gently balance them on top of citrus wedges. They’ll settle to the bottom during serving.)

Notes

*You can also add the alcohol by the glass, so it works as non-alcoholic and alcoholic. Measure out 6 ounces (¾ cup) punch, then add 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) liquor of choice. Brandy was our favorite here: it makes the ideal light and fruity flavor. Bourbon is darker and cozier, and rum is on the lighter end.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Punch

Keywords: Thanksgiving punch, Pomegranate punch

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte

Step into the season with an Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte! It’s easy to make at home and has a refreshingly…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Step into the season with an Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte! It’s easy to make at home and has a refreshingly cozy flavor.

Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte

If there’s one drink that’s perfect for ushering in the cool weather, it’s the Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte! This Starbucks special might be a little basic, but honestly: we’re here for it. Make it at home and it’s even better than at a coffeeshop: creamy and cozy-spiced, with a hint of vanilla and real pumpkin puree. It’s easy to whip up this pumpkin drink and when you take the first sip: you’ll want to make it on repeat.

What’s in an iced pumpkin spice latte?

The iced pumpkin spice latte is a chilled spin on the hot latte of the same name, first launched by Starbucks in 2003. An iced latte is made with espresso, milk, and ice. The pumpkin spin on it uses real pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices and maple syrup to make a cozy, autumnal spin on the classic. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this iced latte at home:

  • Espresso (or strong coffee)
  • Pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • Maple syrup
  • Milk of any type
  • Pumpkin pie spice blend
  • Ice
Iced pumpkin spice lattee

How to make an iced pumpkin spice latte: basic steps

Here’s the outline of how to make an iced pumpkin spice latte at home:

  • Step 1: Make a double shot of espresso.
  • Step 2: Froth ¼ cup whole milk with ¼ teaspoon pumpkin spices by shaking it in a covered jar or whisking until frothy.
  • Step 3: Stir the espresso with 1 tablespoon each pumpkin puree and maple syrup.
  • Step 4: Add the milk and serve with ice.
Pumpkin pie spice

Use purchased or homemade pumpkin pie spices

Many pumpkin recipes use pumpkin pie spice blend, a mix of warming spices that are typically used in pumpkin pie. You can use a purchased blend, or if you can’t find it make it homemade. To make it homemade, mix together the following:

  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Espresso making methods (or use strong coffee

The hardest part of an iced pumpkin spice latte? Making the espresso! There are several methods for homemade espresso. You can also substitute very strong coffee. Make sure to use espresso roast coffee: it’s important to get the right dark, bitter flavor. Some brands we recommend: IllyStarbucks or Intelligentsia. Then, use one of the following espresso methods:

Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte

Use any type of milk

This iced pumpkin spice latte works with any type of milk you like! The best dairy milks are whole milk and 2%. For a non-dairy option, we like oat milk: it has just the right creamy texture and lightly sweet flavor. Almond milk also works, but it has a sharper, nutty flavor.

Step it up: add whipped cream!

If you like, you can top this iced pumpkin spice latte with whipped cream or dairy free whipped cream! But honestly: it doesn’t need it (especially if you’d like to keep the calories down). We usually drink it without, but of course we had to do it for the photo!

More iced lattes and coffee drinks

Love a good iced latte? There are so many tasty lattes and iced lattes to try: and we’ve got homemade versions of all your Starbucks favorites! Try these lattes:

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Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte

Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Step into the season with an Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte! It’s easy to make at home and has a refreshingly cozy flavor.


Ingredients

  • 2 shots espresso (2 ounces or ¼ cup strong coffee)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup whole milk, 2% milk or oat milk
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spices (purchased or homemade)
  • Ice
  • Whipped cream or dairy-free whipped cream, to serve (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the espresso: Make the espresso using an espresso machine, manual espresso maker, French press, or Moka Pot. (Or, substitute strong coffee.)
  2. Froth the milk: Place the milk and pumpkin spice blend in a covered jar and shake until foamy.
  3. Serve: Add the espresso, pumpkin puree and maple syrup to a glass and stir until combined. Top with the frothed milk. If desired, top with whipped cream. Sprinkle with additional pumpkin spice.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Espresso
  • Cuisine: Coffee

Keywords: Iced pumpkin spice latte

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.