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Hostess with the mostest – a winter how-to guide

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Some of your favourite humans, cold beers, pizza, and 30 Seconds. Sounds like a great Saturday night, doesn’t it? It is, unless that Saturday is a cold night – then it’s not a good idea at all. In fact, it is a stupid idea; who invented friends anyway? You want your blanket, some television series and hot chocolate. You may not even comb your hair.

What if we told you that, with these easy, yummy winter drinks recipes, you will want to have all the get togethers at your home – even when it’s freezing. Your friends will love the drinks so much they won’t even notice your messy hair so combing it is still optional.

We at HomeTimes would like you to still show off your beautifully decorated home so to help we’ve compiled a list of five really simple, winter-appropriate drinks to serve your guests.

Party starter #1: A delicious, smooth, full-bodied red blend with winey notesRed wine in fron tof fire

At HomeTimes we consider ourselves wine tasting experts. We’ve tasted enough to make the statement! Everyone knows that few things are better than a delicious glass of red on a cold night. Pair it with some venison stew or chocolate and your guests will love you.

We are currently really loving the Black Tie Pinotage which retails for R36 at Tops at Spar. Raka or Kanonkop are wineries with really smooth reds with definite winey notes. Consider their wines for month-end parties, or if flu season shortened your guest list. Really, the only way you could go wrong with a red as the star of your party is if you ran out of wine before your guests got tired of you.

Party starter #2: Wine, but this time you make it hotMulled wine

If you like wine but want to impress your guests even more, you could try make a South African version of the German Glühwein. This recipe from Fairlady back in 2000 should make the prep simple enough.

What you need (to make 12 drinks)

  • 3l dry red wine
  • The juice and thinly cut peel of two fair-sized oranges
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5ml grated nutmeg
  • 180g sugar
  • 125ml brandy
  • 1 orange sliced thinly for topping

What you must do with it

Pour the wine into a large saucepan, add orange juice and peel, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Stir the mixture occasionally to dissolve the sugar while heating gently until it is steaming (it may be more fun if you imagine at this stage that you are a witch brewing a potion in anticipation of your unsuspecting guests). Remove it from the stove before it burns and let it cool of for 10 minutes or risk injuring your guests.

Heat again and then remove from the stove forever. Get rid of the orange peel, cloves and cinnamon. Basically, take out anything you would not like to swallow. Then add in the brandy. Decorate with the thinly sliced orange and serve hot.

Party starter #3: Rooibos (we’re serious)iGoli drink, apple and cinnamon

The foodies over at Food24 in July 2010 suggested this uniquely South African drink for winter entertaining. The good news is that “iGoli” can be served hot or over ice so you can transition your classy rooibos party seamlessly from a sunny winter’s arvie to cold winter’s night.

Here’s what you do with it

Put four rooibos teabags into 1l of boiling water (just like making tea), leave it to brew for a while. Now toss the tea in a pan with two chopped up apples, one stick of cinnamon and two whole cloves. You will end up with enough for four servings. Before giving it to your esteemed visitors add a tot of brandy. As mentioned you can serve this warm or let it cool down and serve with ice.

Party starter #4: Fight the cold with the ultimate summer drink, mojitoMojito ingredients

What better way to give winter the finger than having a quintessential summer drink? In your freezing face, winter! This recipe from yuppiechef.com is for one mojito (yeah right!).

What you need

  • 1 lime
  • 8 to 10 mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon castor sugar
  • Crushed ice
  • 50ml rum
  • Soda water

Here’s what you do with it

  • Squeeze the juice of one lime into your highball glass
  • Add the mint leaves (release the flavour by clapping the mint with cupped hands)
  • Add a heaped teaspoon of castor sugar
  • Fill the glass with crushed ice and add in the 50ml of rum
  • Gently stir the mixture with a spoon to release the flavours
  • Top up your glass with soda water and garnish with a slice of lime

If that seems like a lot of work you could always try the ready-mixed mojito from Bacardi. Add soda water with some mint leaves and lime to look like you care.

Party starter #5: Hot almond milk – for the non-alcoholic party in your tummyAlmond milk, cup

This delicious recipe from Healthy Vegetarian Foods back in October 2012 will get your tummy party started.

What you need for four servings

  • 2l fat-free milk
  • 1 can low fat Ideal milk
  • 125ml powdered almonds
  • 50ml powdered pistachios
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 slightly bruised cardamom pods
  • 5ml ground cinnamon
  • 5ml ground nutmeg
  • 5ml ground cardamom
  • A few strands of saffron
  • Honey to taste
  • Unicorn tail (we’re kidding!)

Here’s what you do with it

Add all of the ingredients to a medium-sized pot and bring to the boil. Once the milk starts to boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for 45 minutes, stirring continuously. Pour the hot mixture into cups, add honey to taste and enjoy hot.

For those who can’t drive home

With all this partying you should probably get your guest room or couch ready for some friends who will need to stay over. The problem is, the next morning they may want to move in and all you want is your home back to yourself. Don’t worry, HomeTimes has your back. You need the perfect cuppa coffee ready before your guests’ eyes are open. Get this into them and they’ll be ready to take on the world (never mind just getting out of your home) before you know it. Here’s how you do it:French press, coffee

  1. Buy a French Press (it’s the real deal and you’ll look cool using it)
  2. You could get a grinder and buy coffee beans but Woolies sells really great ground coffee or they’ll grind it in store for you. Either way, just be sure to use fresh coffee
  3. A good guide for how much coffee to use is about 60g to 70g for 1l of water (four cups of coffee)
  4. For a dark roast it’s best to wait a minute or two after the water has boiled before pouring it in your plunger
  5. Give your mix a good stir so that the coffee is at the bottom of the pot, no longer floating. Now, let it brew for 6 to 8 minutes depending on how coarse your coffee grind is
  6. You are now ready to take the plunge. Go gently! If you feel resistance from your plunger back up a little and proceed again
  7. Fill them mugs! Add milk and sweetener to taste and you can practically wave goodbye to your newly energised guests.

Remember, your guests may be a little peckish after the out-of-this-world party you just threw for them. You don’t need to cook them breakfast but consider adding some biscuits or rusks (HomeTimes likes supporting small business so consider buying these from your local home industry) to that perfect cup we’ve helped you brew and you’re sure to make the good impressions last all winter.


Mariette Steynberg is a qualified economist with a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. She has enjoyed working on holistic financial plans for clients in various stages of life, as well as a development economist assessing the socioeconomic impacts of new developments. When she is not working, Mariette enjoys parenting her quirky, delightful toddler girl. Cloth diapering, Eskimo kisses and the importance of reading to your child are all causes close to her heart. Mariette is passionate about financial education and hopes to use the experience she has gained to share knowledge with HomeTimes’ readership. Her goal is to provide information that is implementable by everyone.

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