What’s your favorite cold weather drink or snow ice cream recipe? Here are some suggestions from a Mississippian who has lived in the coldest of cold places.

Published 12:27 am Monday, January 15, 2024

When a sixth generation Mississippian is raised in a family including a Dad and two grandfathers that served in the United States Air Force, I get excited for cold weather and possibilities of snow, especially when thinking back to the drought and heat of last summer.

Although living in Mississippi doesn’t offer these opportunities often, memories back to living at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, with my Mom and Dad or having grandparents stationed at an American radar site in Nova Scotia, Canada, are strong when it comes to cold weather comfort. Add to that plenty of time in Washington (state, not the District) and Vermont, and my family knows how to warm up with single-digit temperatures. Did I mention the high is -4 with a wind chill of -50 in Minot Monday? I miss having a “real” winter, but that’s pretty extreme, even for me!

These recipes can probably be found in an old cookbook somewhere but have been adapted by our family over the decades. We don’t claim the rights to any of these recipes if found somewhere else.

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Family-friendly wassail

  • Fresh fruit: We use a sweet apple (Honey Crisp, etc.), a naval orange, and a lemon. Wash well, but no need to peel. The slices of fruit will float on the top. One can also use sliced grapes, cranberries, fresh pineapple, or pretty much any fruit. Just use large enough pieces to avoid choking hazards while drinking if some of the fruit ends up in a mug.
  • One container of apple juice. Budget-friendly is fine.
  • A cup or so of orange juice.
  • A ¼ cup of lemon juice can be added, but we don’t often do this. The sliced lemon adds enough lemon flavor for our tastes.
  • About a ½ cup of pineapple juice if wanted. Pineapple juice is pricey, so we don’t always add this unless we’re going to use pineapple juice for something else. Same with grape juice. It’s a great addition, but not required.
  • Ground nutmeg to taste. We just give 3 or 4 good shakes from the spice container.
  • A stick or two of cinnamon. This can also be pricey, so ground cinnamon can be used instead. As with the nutmeg, 3 or 4 good shakes.

Just put all ingredients in a large pot and simmer. It smells great and tastes even better! It’s ready to drink as soon as the fruit starts to soften. Of course, if kids aren’t around, a spirit can be added. My Italian grandmother says this drink with a little good quality rum can cure the common cold.

Mom’s apple cider

So, this isn’t truly an apple cider recipe, but just something tasty and hot that Mom learned from a neighbor while we were stationed in North Dakota when we had six feet of snow surrounding our base housing. Again, we don’t claim to own any rights to this, as it’s probably made across the world!

  • One container of apple juice. Again, budget-friendly is fine.
  • One pack of Cinnamon Imperials (what we always called Red Hots candy).

Boil together until candy is melted. That’s it!

Minot AFB Snow Ice Cream

  • A scoop or three of clean snow.
  • A couple healthy spoons of sweetened condensed milk.
  • A little vanilla flavoring. Just a little goes a long way!
  • Can also use chocolate syrup or any flavoring you like!

Just mix it up and enjoy! We were told snow day calories don’t count!

Gan’s hot lemonade

We call our Smith County, Mississippi, grandmother ‘Gan’ because I, as the oldest grandchild, couldn’t say ‘Gran’ or ‘Grandma’ when I was learning to talk, and the name stuck for all the grandkids. At the first sign of a sniffle, or even just a very cold night, she’d make this treat for the children while the adults had coffee. It’s still one of those comforting things for me as an adult. She told me she learned this while she and my grandfather were stationed in Nova Scotia.

  • Fresh-squeezed lemon. The amount depends on how many cups one is making. The juice from one large lemon is usually enough for one mug. Don’t forget to roll the lemon hard on the counter before slicing in half to get as much juice as possible. If the taste isn’t strong enough, just add some more lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice works, too, but we like the pulp.
  • Water to fill the mug.
  • Plenty of honey, to taste.
  • Boil until hot and enjoy!