Beverages, Entertaining, Holidays, Vegan

Hot Drinks To Keep You Warm This Winter

Looking for some new hot drinks order at your favorite coffee shop to warm you up this winter?  I asked my friend Chris, who is a barista and a very popular local coffee shop, what the best drinks for the season are this year.  He gave me four great suggestions, and one rant to share with all of you.  Each simple recipe includes a vegan option as well, so no one has to miss out on these warm treats.  Give these tasty hot drinks a try this winter to warm your body and tantalize your taste buds.

Hot Toddy

This drink has so many wonderful variations; the possibilities are almost endless.  Combining alcohol, honey or agave, lemon juice and hot water, hot toddy is perfect for relaxing on a cold night or soothing a sore throat.  Try the simple recipe below for the booziest of Chris’ hot drinks.


1 ounce bourbon, brandy or scotch

1 tablespoon honey (agave for vegan option)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 ounces hot water


Combine ingredients in a mug and stir until honey is fully incorporated.  Add a tea bag, cinnamon or crystallized ginger if desired.  Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Tea Latte

A tea latte combines milk (preferably foamed) with a strongly brewed tea (preferably black tea).  This is the perfect winter drink for those of us who love milk in our tea.  This is a great drink to make yourself at home.  Don’t worry if you can’t foam the milk, steam it instead.  A great trick for steaming milk is to wait until the edges of the pot have just come to a boil, then remove it from heat.  Try not to boil the milk, it will affect the flavor.


1/3 cup milk (almond or soy milk for vegan option)

1/3 cup boiling hot water

1-2 tea bags


After boiling the water, heat the milk to steaming, and froth if able.  Steep the tea bags longer than usual to ensure the flavor shines through, and sweeten as desired (use agave for vegan option).


This drink is exactly what it sounds like– a mix of hot cider and chai in equal parts. This refreshing and flavorful beverage is sure to warm you up on a snowy day, is a great option for holiday parties, and is a totally vegan option!  If you don’t have chai handy, mix mulled cider and black tea, or try the recipe below.


3/4 cups water

1/2 cup apple cider

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon crystallized ginger

2 whole black peppercorns

1 green cardamom pod, crushed

1 black tea bag


Combine the water, cider, cinnamon stick, ginger, peppercorns and cardamom in a saucepan. Heat on medium until the mixture is just boiling.  Turn heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove cider mixture from heat. Add tea bags and steep for 3 minutes, then remove. Strain cider mixture and discard spices.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

This is sweetest of Chris’ hot drinks, and has a hint of spice is sure to keep you warm in the months to come.  Try adding a dash of coffee or chocolate liqueur, if you’re in the mood.


3 tbsp hot chocolate mix or cocoa powder (dark chocolate powder for vegan option)

A pinch of cayenne pepper

½ cup water boiling hot

¼ cup milk (almond or soy milk for vegan option)

½ tsp cinnamon


In a large mug, mix the hot chocolate mix, chocolate syrup, cinnamon, and chili powder, then pour in the milk. Add the boiling water and stir.  Garnish with whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder if desired.


Chris asked that I include this drink because there seems to be some confusion about what a macchiato really is.  Chain coffee shops do not make a real macchiato apparently.  A true macchiato is an espresso, unsweetened, with a small amount of foamed milk, and nothing more.  The intent is for the milk to restrain the bold espresso flavor just a tiny bit, not overwhelm it.   Per Chris, what the big chains make is closer to a latte or a cappuccino, but the mix-up is understandable for those of us who aren’t baristas.

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