Slow cooker hot chocolate – and other cosy beverages for the cooler months 

Slow cooker drinks are the perfect way to enjoy delicious warming beverages without the hassle. All that’s left is to set, forget and sip…

When the colder weather hits, there’s nothing nicer than a comforting stew or warming curry made in the slow cooker. They’re the kitchen appliance made for winter, ensuring you can have healthy, cheap and delicious dishes, perfect for when the mercury drops. 

Slow cookers aren’t just for savoury dishes, though. As well as being perfect for creating desserts, they’re also brilliant for making warming winter beverages. 

What’s more, the size of them means they’re great if you’re having a gathering, creating all the wow factor, with minimal effort.  

Mulled wine made in a slow cookerCredit: Shutterstock/zi3000
Make the most out of your slow cooker by using it to make delicious, warming drinks as well

1. Mulled wine

Spice up the winter months

If you’ve not tried slow cooker mulled wine, where have you been? The low heat means the wine doesn’t boil, so the alcohol stays put, and the spices help intensify the flavours.  

It’s also a great way to make mulled wine if you’re having a party, as you can make big batches then use the ‘keep warm’ or ‘low’ setting on your slow cooker to keep it at the perfect temperature. 

To make slow cooker mulled wine you’ll need the following:

  • 2 x 750ml bottles of red wine
  • 100ml of Cointreau (or the spirit of your choice – Grand Marnier and Ginger wine also work well)
  • 2 large oranges – zest and juice
  • 1 lemon – zest
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 3 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (Alternatively, you can use a mulled wine pre-made spice mixture)
  • orange slices (for decoration)

To make mulled wine in the slow cooker simply put all the ingredients, except for the oranges, into a slow cooker. Set it to low for around two hours. Once it’s ready, use a ladle to pour into heatproof glasses or mugs. Add the orange slices for decoration.

And if you really want to get the party started, add in a slug of Prosecco before serving!

Dont just stick to the traditional red wine, either both rosé wine and white wine make great alternatives. You might just have to switch up the spicesfor example, vanilla, cinnamon and elderflower all work well with mulled white wine, while juniper berries and clementines complement rose wine.

2. Hot chocolate

The ultimate in comfort

A slow cooker is just perfect for making the ultimate winter drink – hot chocolate.  

To make the most decadent one, it’s best to ditch the cocoa powder and go with baking chocolate. Yes, you read that right. We followed this ultimate hot chocolate recipe and we can tell you that it really hits the spot – and was popular with all ages.  

It’s so simple to do as well. You literally bung all the ingredients into the slow cooker for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally. At the end of the cooking time, we threw in a whole feast of marshmallows so everyone would get some in their mug, and then topped with whipped cream. Delicious. 

Fancy pimping up your hot chocolate?

Adding a slug of Baileys or perhaps rum will instantly add grownup appeal to this sweet drink. If you want a more intense alcoholic taste, leave adding in the booze until the last 20 minutes of the cooking time.

Want to make a more luxurious hot chocolate? Swap the milk for either cream or condensed milk for a drink that tips into dessert territory.

For Halloween, why not add some pumpkin pie spice? Or add a dash of peppermint into the mixture and top with a candy cane for a festive flourish.

While whipped cream is obviously a must, other toppings to include are salted caramel sauce, marshmallows, candied ginger pieces, coconut shavings, chocolate chips and even chopped peanuts.

3. Hot apple cider

The perfect autumn drink

If you’re looking to give the booze a miss, a hot apple cider is a lovely warming drink – minus the hangover. Don’t be fooled by the cider in the name – it originates from America, where cider is a name used for a non-alcoholic apple drink, similar to our apple juice. 

The addition of cloves, all spice and oranges make this a lovely alternative festive drink to mulled wine – and one that can be enjoyed by everyone. 

Of course, if you want to make an alcoholic version of hot apple cider, there is a way! Use dry cider, alongside apple juice, as the base and then stir in some calvados, apple or regular brandy just before serving. 

4. Honey and ginger

Soothe your sniffles with this brew

This slow cooker drink is the perfect way to combat a cold.  You will need the following ingredients:

  • 8 lemons halved
  • 1/2 ginger root roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Water

Add everything into the slow cooker, squeezing the lemon juice into the mixture before you add them, and leave on low heat all day.

Basically, its slow cooker Lemsip, made up of lots of natural ingredients that are known to help with the symptoms of colds and flu. 

Honey, for example, has antimicrobial properties that have been shown to improve coughs and soothe sore throats, and some studies, have shown it can also shorten the duration of colds. 

As well as adding a lovely warming flavour to the drink, fresh ginger is also a great natural way to fight respiratory infections. 

And even though most people think of oranges for that injection of vitamin C, lemons contain this immune boosting vitamin, too. There’s also been studies that have shown that sipping a hot lemon drink can help ease nasal congestion and sore throats. 

Jayne Cherrington-Cook

Written by Jayne Cherrington-Cook she/her

Updated:

Jayne is the Senior Editor at Saga Exceptional. She cut her online journalism teeth 24 years ago in an era when a dialling tone and slow page load were standard. During this time, she’s written about a variety of subjects and is just at home road-testing TVs as she is interviewing TV stars. A diverse career has seen Jayne launch websites for popular magazines, collaborate with top brands, write regularly for major publications including Woman&Home, Yahoo! and The Daily Telegraph, create a podcast, and also write a tech column for Women’s Own.

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