Last year, my cousin and I got together and made Valentine's gifts for friends and family. It was the start of the tradition, so it makes sense that not everything turned out exactly as we'd envisioned.
My idea was a serving or two of homemade hot chocolate mix. The mix itself was just OK. Most people weren't prepared for the chili powder that gave it a more adult kick. The kids especially were less than thrilled. It maybe should have went out with instructions? I don't know. A friend of mine called it "brown drink" which, while more than accurate, still stung. I was determined to find something that wouldn't suck this year.
Enter the homemade instant chai mix. I got the recipe here and there are a few to choose from, all pretty similar. I loaded it up with spices and (this part is key) tried it ahead of time. Also, I let other people try it ahead of time. I find that a lot of the time when I'm excited about a recipe or craft or what-have-you, I am capable of completely blinding myself to any bad points it might have. (And yet, at other times, I totally can't tell how awesome something I make myself is, either.) Anyway, people seemed to find it appealing, even went so far as to compliment it. Nobody called it "brown drink". So it's a go.
Next year, I'm thinking about making a homemade powdered cappuccino mix? Single-serving warm drinks still seems to be a good idea. Mid-winter, who doesn't need a little cup of warmth wrapped up in a heart-spattered package?
Especially when it comes with fudge. Yeah, that's my cousin's contribution.