This is a drink that my husband's family has long made at this time of year, and it is now a favorite with my family as well. I'm generally a fan of hot mulled beverages, and this makes a tasty alternative to egg nog or hot chocolate. Since it's appropriate for fasting, it's nice to serve for the Feast of St. Nicholas. We like to drink it as we decorate our Christmas tree, and it would be great in a thermos for looking at Christmas lights.
2 cups water
2 cups apple juice
2 cups cranberry juice blend (I prefer 100% juice blends, not cranberry cocktail. Cranberry Pomegranate blends are my favorite.)
2 Tbs. sugar (optional)
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
The juice of one clementine (2 Tbs. orange juice can be substituted, but freshly squeezed is preferred)
Stir together all the ingredients in a pan over medium heat until sugar dissolves (if using) Simmer for 20-30 minutes, and serve when it smells lovely. Note that if you double the recipe there is no need to add more cinnamon sticks.