Spear three cranberries each onto four bamboo skewers or heatproof swizzle sticks. Pour cranberry juice into a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Lower heat, add creme de cacao and peppermint schnapps and stir to blend and release some of the alcohol. Continue to cook over low heat for exactly 1 minute.
Pour the hot beverage into footed glass mugs and place a small dollop of whipped cream in each. Garnish with cranberry skewers and use a fine-mesh sieve to gently tap a light dusting of matcha over the whipped cream. Serve hot.
"Replace the fresh cranberry garnish with an old- fashioned candy cane if you wish," says Mary Lou Heiss, who also co-owns a gourmet store in Northampton, Mass. with her husband. "Either way, a dusting of matte green matcha adds an elegant finishing touch." It's also important to use 100-proof peppermint schnapps, she says. "The 40-proof version does not provide the desired balance of flavors."
Recipe courtesy of Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss, with permission from Hot Drinks (Ten Speed Press, 2007)