Guest Blog Post: Warming Up For Winter

Contributed by Robin Plotkin, RD, LD

As a native of Peoria, Illinois (home of Bradley University and Caterpillar Tractor Company), I relish in my holiday season memories- yanking plastic bags over my feet in order to get my snow boots on, bundling up head to toe for snowball fights with my siblings and then coming home to a roaring fire and a warm drink to take the chill off.  My Mom often had her smallest saucepan on the stove with a magical concoction with fruit, herbs and spices that made the house smell so….holiday-ish! To me, that smell signified the kickoff of the season.  Since transplanting to Texas 22 years ago, the holiday season often brings balmy temps and – gasp – not a snowflake in sight.  I hate to admit it, but my flip flops are on today. 

I can’t change the weather outside, but I can create my version of the winter holiday season indoors – which is why I like to put a pot of mulled spiced grape juice on the stove. It serves a dual purpose for my family and me-not only does it fill the house with that sweet, spicy aroma that reminds me of my childhood, but it gives us the warm fuzzies on the inside when we enjoy a mug together or with friends.  And that’s not just because it’s a warm drink, but also because 100% grape juice made with Concord grapes helps support a healthy heart. That’s because of certain plant nutrients…like the polyphenols that give the Concord grape that gorgeous deep purple hue. Each 4 oz. glass of Welch’s (that’s 1 serving) is made with more than 20 Concord grapes-skin, seeds-and all, so the fruit’s nutrition benefits make it into the glass without any added color, sugar or flavors.  

I love to share this “tradition” with friends and family throughout the season by creating a mulled spice grape juice to-go packet for hostesses, neighbors and co-workers. Simply place a bottle of Welch’s 100% Grape Juice, 1 whole orange, 1 whole lemon, cloves, a cinnamon stick and the nutmeg in a colorful holiday themed bag. Tie it with a bow and attach the recipe as the tag for festive holiday greeting! 

Sipped, smelled or enjoyed both ways, this recipe will remain deep in your memories for a long time to come! 

Welch’s Warm Spiced Grape Juice

You Will Need

5 cups Welch’s 100% Grape Juice

2–2-inch pieces orange peel ( I like to use Clementine peels) 

1/4 cup lemon juice

6 whole cloves (I’m not the biggest fan of cloves, so I often omit them)

1 large cinnamon stick plus additional for serving

1/4 tsp nutmeg (I love nutmeg, so I bump this up to 1/2 tsp)

1/4 tsp kosher salt


1. Add all ingredients (except the additional cinnamon sticks) to a large saucepan set over medium heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup water and simmer for 5 minutes more.

2. Strain into glasses to serve.

Nutrition per Serving

Serving Size: 8oz. glass

133 calories

0.5g fat

0mg cholesterol

64mg sodium

32g carbohydrates

0.3g fiber

31g sugar

1.2g protein

Serves: 6;  Prep Time: 10;  Cook Time: 20;  Total Time: 30 

Disclaimer: I’m a proud member of the Welch’s Health and Wellness Advisory Committee.