Imagine a blanket of snow outside, a crackling log fire, and a cozy blanket to snuggle under. What’s missing from this perfect winter scene? A piping hot winter drink, of course! And whether your tastes run to delicious milky drinks or a nip of the hard stuff, nothing is more comforting on a chilly day than a warming cup. So, here are ten of the best winter drinks to inspire you.
1. Cocoa and hot chocolate
A steaming mug of cocoa is superb on its own, but add swirling cream, marshmallows, chocolate powder and flaked chocolate for real luxury. Flavored chocolate drinks are also sensational—try mint or orange chocolate, or add extra heat with chill hot chocolate with whipped cream for smoothness. Meanwhile, white chocolate aficionados will love white hot chocolate topped with cream and white chocolate stars.
2. Speciality coffee
Generally enjoyed after a gourmet meal, speciality coffees are also great way to keep the heat inside. Rich Arabica beans (freshly ground and newly filtered) make a simple drink, but modern coffee machines can whip up espressos, lattes, cappuccinos and more at just the touch of a button.
3. Ginger tisane
Long renowned for its warming properties, ginger is often the brew of choice when the temperature drops. Choose teabags for simplicity—including those blended with other flavors like lemon or licorice—and nibble on ginger cookies on the side. Alternatively, thinly slice stem ginger and then add it to boiling water along with a generous dollop of syrup for a delightful pick-me-up.
4. Hot milkshakes
The milkshake is not just for summer—made with hot milk, it can transform a dull afternoon. Banana, honey and peanut butter is a comforting favorite, or why not add a drizzle of hot fudge or salted caramel syrup to warm coconut milk? Add roasted nuts if you’d like some extra crunch.
5. Milk and almonds
In India, a drink of milk and almonds is a traditional treatment that is said to prevent colds, but it’s also the ultimate comfort drink for any occasion. Add a couple of heaped teaspoons of ground almonds to a cup of hot milk, together with honey to taste, and it will instantly become a hit with the family. If you’re not keen on the grainy texture, try almond milk as a substitute, and add almond essence for flavor.
6. Mulled wine
A favorite for centuries, mulled one is probably the most popular winter drink. It’s typically made with red wine infused with warming spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Heat a bottle (or more!) of red wine in a pan, then add a splash of orange juice. Next, put whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and half a nutmeg in a little muslin bag, and simmer the mixture for at least an hour. Remove the whole spices and serve the mulled wine in heat-resistant glasses with handles for the traditional touch.
7. Hot toddy
Banish cold and flu miseries with a piping hot toddy to soothe sore throats and unblock sinuses. The original recipe called for a measure of whisky, combined with honey and lemon, but nowadays you can create your own bespoke hot toddy by opting for the spirit of your choice and adding cinnamon, brown sugar or oranges instead.
8. Spiced cider
Like mulled wine, this is simplicity itself to create, and it makes cider a winter drink as well as a summer one. Choose a sweet or dry cider to taste, and add a sweetener such as brown sugar or honey. All the usual suspects work well here, including winter spices like cinnamon, oranges or lemons, or even a slice of apple to complement the tang of the cider.
9. Hot cocktails
Hot cocktails take these popular drinks to new heights. Add a dash of crème de cacao, rum, or Kuhlua to some hot chocolate, or emphasis the mint with some peppermint liqueur or crème de menthe. Cream liqueurs are superb when added to milky drinks, or you can enjoy flavored brandies like Grand Marnier for some added zing. Top with whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder for the finishing touch.
10. Irish coffee
Last of all, rich black coffee infused with Irish whisky is the perfect winter treat, especially if there’s a delicate layer of cream floating on top. Add sugar to the coffee to help the cream to float, and pour the single cream over the back of a teaspoon to create the layered effect. Flavored liqueurs or brandy give this old favorite a new twist.