Hot Mulled Cider

Gluten-Free Cocktails for Cozy Winter Nights

The holidays offer many opportunities for fun and good cheer. Now’s the time to enjoy and serve festive beverages that celebrate the season and bring in the New Year. Impromptu get-togethers can pop up, so be prepared for unexpected guests with special drinks at the ready!

You can create fancy libations in no time flat with Simple Syrup. This liquid sweetener is called simple for a reason—it’s simple! If you can boil water, you can make a simple syrup. Prepare it ahead and keep it in your refrigerator to add a festive splash to holiday cocktail recipes.

Some of these gluten-free cocktail recipes feature surprising ingredients, like vegetable bouillon and Dijon mustard, to offer a savory spin on liquid refreshments. Others call for cherry juice or salted caramel for those who prefer a sweeter sip.

Gather ingredients for mulling spices and mix up a batch of sachets to last the whole season. These aromatic bundles are the basis of two classic beverages—Hot Mulled Cider and Hot Toddies. They also make delightful hostess gifts.

Prepare Winter White Sangria before your next dinner party—it tastes even better the day after it’s made. And homemade Limoncello—assembled in the fall and left to infuse until December—makes an incredibly delicious seasonal libation and an impressive holiday gift.

Remember, distilled alcohols are gluten-free, so enjoy the party!


Cranberry Ginger Fizz

5 from 1 vote
Cranberry Ginger Fizz
The Cranberry Ginger Fizz
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 
Refreshing and tangy, this cocktail is a fun way to toast the holidays.
Course: Drinks
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 130 kcal
Author: Jules Shepard
Ingredients
  • 1 lime , cut into quarters
  • Sugar , for rims
  • 4 ounces Cranberry Ginger Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 4 ounces club soda , more to taste
Instructions
  1. Wet the rims of 4 glasses by running a cut lime wedge around the rims. Pour sugar into a flat-bottomed bowl and dip the rims into the sugar.
  2. Prepare cocktail by mixing Cranberry Ginger Simple Syrup, vodka and club soda. Pour into sugared glasses and serve.
Recipe Notes

TIP: For a festive touch, shake the sugar in a plastic bag with a few drops of red food coloring.

Nutrition Facts
The Cranberry Ginger Fizz
Amount Per Serving
Calories 130
% Daily Value*
Sodium 22mg 1%
Potassium 34mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 22g 7%
Sugars 21g
Vitamin C 5.9%
Calcium 0.9%
Iron 6.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

5 from 1 vote
simple syrup
Simple Syrup
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Course: Condiment/Sauce, Drinks
Servings: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups granulated cane sugar
  • 3 cups water
Instructions
  1. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Once mixture boils, reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Once syrup is completely cooled, pour it into a sealable glass jar or bottle and refrigerate until used.

5 from 1 vote
Cranberry Ginger Fizz
Cranberry Ginger Simple Syrup
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 
Course: Condiment/Sauce, Drinks
Servings: 1 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup prepared Simple Syrup (recipe above)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ½ tablespoon diced fresh ginger root or candied ginger
Instructions
  1. Pour prepared Simple Syrup into a small saucepan. Add cranberries and ginger and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Pour mixture through a sieve into a bowl to separate out cooked berries and ginger. Once cooled, pour strained syrup into a sealable glass jar or bottle and refrigerate until serving.

Winter White Sangria

5 from 1 vote
Winter White Sangria
Winter White Sangria
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 
This beautiful, light drink takes only 15 minutes to prepare. It tastes even better the next day, so assemble it in advance to enjoy later with friends and family.
Course: Drinks
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 387 kcal
Author: Jules Shepard
Ingredients
  • 2 green apples , diced (such as Granny Smith)
  • 1 cup frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • ½ cup white grape juice
  • 1 (750ml) bottle white wine (such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Gruner)
  • 1 (16-ounce) bottle sparkling water
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary , for garnish
  • Granulated sugar , for garnish
Instructions
  1. Toss apples and cranberries into a large pitcher. Add sugar, grape juice and wine, stirring to combine. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. Dip rosemary sprigs in water and roll wet sprigs in granulated sugar.
  3. Add sparkling water to the wine mixture just before serving, stirring to combine ingredients. Garnish each glass with a sprig of sugar-covered rosemary.
Nutrition Facts
Winter White Sangria
Amount Per Serving
Calories 387
% Daily Value*
Sodium 38mg 2%
Potassium 292mg 8%
Total Carbohydrates 64g 21%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 53g
Vitamin A 1.4%
Vitamin C 37.8%
Calcium 3.8%
Iron 4.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

New Year's Resolution Cocktail

5 from 1 vote
New Year's Resolution Cocktail
The New Year’s Resolution
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 
Serve this savory gluten-free beverage with or without Old Bay Seasoning on the rim.
Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 80 kcal
Author: Jules Shepard
Ingredients
  • 1 gluten-free vegetable bouillon cube or broth concentrate
  • ¼-½ cup hot water
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Old Bay Seasoning , optional
  • Lemon wedge
Instructions
  1. Use bouillon cube to make broth according to package instructions, adjusting water to desired strength. (Generally, add 1 bouillon cube to ¼ to ½ cup hot water and stir until dissolved.) Place prepared broth in a shaker of ice.
  2. Add vodka and lemon juice and shake to combine ingredients and chill mixture. Taste and add more water if broth tastes too strong.
  3. Place Old Bay Seasoning in a shallow flat bowl. Moisten the rim of a 2-ounce shot glass with the lemon wedge and dip the glass rim into the seasoning.
  4. Strain mixture into rimmed shot glass and serve.
Nutrition Facts
The New Year’s Resolution
Amount Per Serving
Calories 80 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Sodium 683mg 28%
Total Carbohydrates 1g 0%
Vitamin C 2.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Hot Mulled Cider

5 from 1 vote
Hot Mulled Cider
Hot Mulled Cider
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 
This soothing, fragrant beverage is a holiday classic. The longer the spices stew in the cider, the stronger the flavor, so taste periodically to check strength. Sachets of mulling spices are easy to create, impressive to give and fun to receive. Multiply this recipe to make a big batch. Then set out your ingredients into individual bowls, assembly-line-style, and cut the cheesecloth in advance so it’s easy to make many sachets at once.
Course: Drinks
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 120 kcal
Author: Jules Shepard
Ingredients
For the Mulling Spice Satchet:
  • 1 dried orange slice
  • 1 dried lemon slice
  • 8 dried whole star anise
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons dried pomegranate seeds
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
For the Apple Cider:
  • 1/2 gallon apple cider
Instructions
  1. Cut cheesecloth (Grade 60/very fine mesh works best) into 10×10-inch single-thickness squares and set aside. Lay 1 cheesecloth square flat on a table. Place all ingredients on the square. Then gather up the edges of the cloth and tie with a 10-inch piece of twine.
  2. Pour apple cider into a large pot over medium heat.
  3. Add sachet of Mulling Spices (do not open sachet), stirring to wet sachet.
  4. Cook cider with sachet submerged 10 to 20 minutes without boiling, to taste.
Nutrition Facts
Hot Mulled Cider
Amount Per Serving
Calories 120
% Daily Value*
Sodium 11mg 0%
Potassium 269mg 8%
Total Carbohydrates 29g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 23g
Vitamin C 5.8%
Calcium 3.2%
Iron 4.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

5 from 1 vote
Hot Mulled Cider
Tuaca Hot Toddy
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 
If there’s any way to make hot mulled cider more enjoyable on a chilly winter night, it’s by adding Tuaca. This Italian liqueur and its cinnamon-infused cousin, Cinnaster Tuaca, are delicious mixes of brandy, vanilla and citrus.
Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 159 kcal
Author: Jules Shepard
Ingredients
  • 1.5 ounces Tuaca or Cinnaster Tuaca liqueur
  • 4 ounces Hot Mulled Cider
  • 1 cinnamon stick , for garnish
Instructions
  1. Pour Tuaca into a serving glass or mug.
  2. Add Hot Mulled Cider, stirring to combine.
  3. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and serve.
Nutrition Facts
Tuaca Hot Toddy
Amount Per Serving
Calories 159
% Daily Value*
Sodium 5mg 0%
Potassium 114mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 10g
Vitamin C 1.2%
Calcium 3.5%
Iron 1.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

5 from 1 vote
Limoncello
This wonderful lemon liqueur is native to Southern Italy. Imported limoncello is available in U.S. stores but it’s fun to create this intense tart-sweet liqueur for yourself and it makes an impressive gift. The process isn’t difficult but there are several steps and the alcohol should infuse for at least 8 weeks—so budget your time accordingly. You’ll need several large, lidded glass jars, a metal mesh sieve, cheesecloth and a funnel, as well as glass bottles to give as gifts or keep for personal enjoyment. Store Limoncello in the freezer and drink it from there, very thoroughly chilled. Add it to champagne, sip it as a digestif after supper or use it in baking. For the holidays, add cranberries or pomegranates for two delicious, red-hued twists on the classic bright-yellow Limoncello.
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 351 kcal
Author: Jules Shepard
Ingredients
  • 10 organic lemons
  • 1/2 liter distilled grain alcohol or vodka
  • Simple Syrup (recipe above)
Instructions
  1. Wash lemons thoroughly and dry them. Using a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife, peel the rind off the lemons, carefully avoiding the pith. (The pith is bitter. The peel contains intense lemon flavor and essential oils that make limoncello piquant.)
  2. Place peels into clean, large, lidded glass jars. (Use a separate jar for each flavor of Limoncello. See variations below.)
  3. Pour alcohol and vodka over peels in the jars, making sure peels are completely submerged. Cover the jars and let rest 8 to 10 weeks in a cool, dark location.
  4. To strain the liquid, arrange a single layer of wet, unbleached cheesecloth (very fine mesh) over a large bowl. Slowly pour the liquid through the cheesecloth. Before any peels from the bottom of the containers are poured out, wring the cheesecloth into the bowl to reserve all the precious liquid. Discard all peels once liquid is strained.
  5. Add Simple Syrup in a 1:1 ratio (syrup to alcohol). Add more syrup, to taste.
  6. Use a funnel to transfer Limoncello to smaller bottles to give as gifts or to freeze for your own use.
Recipe Notes

Cranberry Limoncello: Add 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries to jars with lemon peel in step 2. Follow recipe as instructed. After alcohol has infused 8 to 10 weeks, add Cranberry Ginger Simple Syrup in a 1:1 ratio (syrup to alcohol). Add more syrup, to taste.


Pomegranate Limoncello: Fill a large bowl with water. Cut 6 pomegranates in half vertically. Put the cut side of the fruit into the water, pushing onto the centers with your thumbs to force the seeds out of the fruit and into the water. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl, while the fruit debris will float to the top. Skim off debris and rinse the seeds. Using a fine metal sieve over a bowl, press the seeds with the back of a spoon into the mesh to crush them. Pour the broken seeds and the juice into the jars with the lemon peel in step 2. Add a cinnamon stick to each jar. Follow recipe as instructed but strain the liquid 2 or 3 additional times until it’s somewhat opaque but not cloudy. There should be no gray membrane or pith in the final product. Add Simple Syrup in a 2/3:1 ratio (syrup to alcohol). Add more syrup, to taste.

Nutrition Facts
Limoncello
Amount Per Serving
Calories 351
% Daily Value*
Sodium 39mg 2%
Potassium 225mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 58g 19%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 49g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 0.6%
Vitamin C 86.7%
Calcium 4.3%
Iron 17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cherrycello Cocktail

5 from 1 vote
Cherrycello Cocktail
The Cherrycello
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 
The combination of cherry juice, limoncello and vodka make this drink a crowd favorite. Sweet and light, it’s an easy-sipping beverage that can be made stronger or weaker, depending on how much club soda you add. Maraschino cherries made without corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors are available from Tillen Farms and Trader Joe’s.
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 303 kcal
Author: Jules Shepard
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce limoncello
  • 1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
  • Club soda or sparkling water
  • 3 maraschino cherries with stems , for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a glass filled with ice, combine vodka, limoncello and 1 tablespoon juice from a jar of maraschino cherries.
  2. Add club soda or sparkling water, to your taste. Garnish with maraschino cherries.
Nutrition Facts
The Cherrycello
Amount Per Serving
Calories 303
% Daily Value*
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 28g 9%
Sugars 28g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Java Caramel Cocktail

5 from 1 vote
Java Caramel Cocktail
The JavaCaramel
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

You can serve this brew warm or cold (shake it with ice and strain). It’s hard to stop at just one. Prepare Salted Caramel Sauce and have it at the ready before making this recipe.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 122 kcal
Author: Jules Shepard
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce strong dark coffee
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 2 ounces unsweetened cashew milk (or 1 ounce unsweetened soy milk or coconut creamer)
  • 1 tablespoon Salted Caramel Sauce (recipe below)
  • Whipped topping , optional
  • Shaved chocolate , optional
Instructions
  1. For a warm drink, mix hot coffee, vodka, cashew milk and Salted Caramel Sauce together until combined. Top with a dollop of whipped topping and sprinkle with shaved chocolate, if desired.
  2. For a cold drink, place ice in a shaker. Add cold coffee, vodka, cashew milk and Salted Caramel Sauce and shake to combine. Strain mixture into a glass. Serve over ice, if desired.
Nutrition Facts
The JavaCaramel
Amount Per Serving
Calories 122
% Daily Value*
Sodium 109mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 13g 4%
Calcium 1.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

5 from 1 vote
Gluten-Free-Salted-Caramel-Sauce-Recipe
Salted Caramel Sauce
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
8 mins
Total Time
18 mins
 
Course: Condiment/Sauce
Servings: 8 servings (total of 1 cup)
Calories: 180 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup gluten-free beer or ginger ale
  • ¼ cup dairy-free buttery sticks or butter , softened
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (14g fat or more) or heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Combine sugar and gluten-free beer in a tall pot over high heat. Mixture will double in volume as it cooks and bubbles up, so the pot needs to be large. Using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, stir until sugar melts (sugar won’t sound crunchy as you stir), about 1 minute. 

  2. Once sugar melts, let mixture boil without stirring until caramel reaches a deep amber color, about 5 minutes. If using a candy thermometer, cook only until mixture reaches 180°F. (If it turns brown or smells burned, it is overcooked.)

  3. Remove from heat and whisk in dairy-free buttery sticks until completely melted and combined. If using coconut milk, shake the can of coconut milk and measure out ½ cup. Whisk coconut milk or heavy cream into mixture. When smooth, stir in salt. 

  4. Transfer sauce to a glass container and refrigerate until cooled. If refrigerated overnight, cover when cooled. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Nutrition Facts
Salted Caramel Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 180 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 12%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 199mg 8%
Potassium 31mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 26g 9%
Sugars 26g
Vitamin A 3.5%
Vitamin C 0.2%
Calcium 0.4%
Iron 2.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Originally published by Gluten Free & More. Recipes by Jules Shepard, author of Free For All Cooking (Da Capo Perseus); The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten-Free (Da Capo Perseus); and Nearly Normal Cooking for Gluten-Free Eating (CreateSpace).

Disclaimer: All nutrition facts on Simply Gluten Free are meant only as a guide and may differ depending on product brands used or ingredient substitutions. Some errors may occur, so you are encouraged to confirm the recipe’s ingredient and nutrition suitability for your own diet.
Have you tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and let us know your thoughts in the Ratings & Reviews section below.
Tags: Cider Limoncello Sangria Winter
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