In the spirit of the Season, this Fix-it Friday I’d like to share some home “fixes” that I rank on the top of my to-do list, namely, fixing drinks! Indeed, fixing a batch of holiday cocktails may not be the kind of DIY project one would imagine when it comes to home repair, but to this notion I ask that we consider the screwdriver. Is it a tool that fits into the head of a screw, or is it a cocktail made from vodka and orange juice? ‘Tis the season to be jolly, so I say the latter!

A word of CAUTION – I don’t recommend imbibing while undertaking the traditional DIY project. Power-tools and cocktails DON’T MIX, unless of course you’re using a paddle bit to mix up a batch of margaritas.

The following is a list of holiday drink recipes I’ve collected that I whip out of my cocktail toolbelt this time of year. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I have!

Vin Brulè (Mulled or Spiced Wine)

This recipe comes from my friend Riccardo in Florence. Although the name is French and translates to “burnt wine” it’s a favorite holiday drink of Tuscany.

mulled red wine


  • 1 liter red wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 lemon and 1 orange, peeled and quartered.

Heat all of the ingredients in a metal pot, including peels. Simmer, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Filter or strain. Serve warm in a mug with a slice of orange.


Janne, my Norwegian sister-in-law, gave me this recipe. Like she says, “It’s a yummy Christmas drink that makes you warm and happy.”



  • 2 quarts dry red wine (about 2 standard 750 mL bottles)
  • 2 quarts muscatel (or muscato)
  • 1 pint sweet vermouth
  • 2 tablespoons Angostura bitters
  • 2 cups raisins
  • Peelings of 1 orange
  • 12 whole cardamom pods, crushed
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 piece (about 2 inches) of fresh ginger
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups akevitt (a traditional flavored Norwegian spirit)
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 cups whole almonds, blanched and peeled

(This recipe makes a party sized batch!)

In a 6- to 8-quart enameled or stainless steel pot, mix together the wine, muscatel, sweet vermouth, bitters, raisins, orange peel and cardamom pods, cloves, ginger and cinnamon. Cover and let the mixture stand at least 12 hours. Shortly before serving, add the akevitt and the sugar. Stir well and bring it to a full boil over high heat. Remove at once from the heat, stir in the almonds and serve in mugs with small spoons to scoop up the almonds and raisins.


This is a traditional Puerto Rican drink served at Christmas and New Years celebrations – their version of eggnog. My friend Roxanne turned me on to it years ago and assured me although similar in texture and color to eggnog, it blows eggnog away. And if you’re a coconut fan, which I am, you will LOVE it!



  • 1 15-ounce cans cream of coconut
  • 1 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 6 ounces white rum
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon or vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients in a blender. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Serve cold with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Hot Buttered Rum with Cider

This is a recipe I’ve recently added to my cocktail repertoire. My boyfriend surprised me with this mug of love the other night. I never had it before, and I’m eager to soon have it again!



  • 5 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup dark rum

Heat cider, water, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon to boiling in 3-quart saucepan. Simmer uncovered 10 minutes. Strain cider mixture to remove cloves and cinnamon sticks if desired, put it back in the pot. On a low flame, stir in brown sugar, then butter until dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Serve warm in a mug with a cinnamon stick. Feel the love!

Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday Season, a Merry Christmas, and a Joyful 2016! Cheers!

Norma sig

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Fix-It Friday is an exclusive Women You Should Know® editorial series authored by seasoned veteran of home improvement, Norma Vally, the former host of Discovery Home Channel’s series “Toolbelt Diva” and a show on Sirius Satellite Radio by the same name. The weekly column is designed to inspire women – weekend warriors, aspiring handywomen, and even seasoned DIYers – to take on home repairs and maintenance projects with confidence and gusto.