As the weather changes, maybe it’s time to get out the old cookbooks, talk to friends, or take a look online to find some interesting non-alcoholic warm drinks to brighten spirits and warm the soul.
Why not try a hot Horchata? This Mexican drink is made with rice milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Typically served over ice, it makes a very satisfying warm drink, too. Latin cultures also make a special drink for holidays with milk, fine cornmeal, unrefined sugar and cinnamon.
Try green tea, which has a lighter flavor and less caffeine than black tea, or the even milder white tea with delicate rose hips or lavender. There are also many boxed herbal teas to try, for a small adventure into new tastes this season.
Stretching the tea category are non-tea drinks that still use the name, such as recipes for ‘turmeric tea’ with ginger or coconut, or lemon-cinnamon water that is steeped like tea. These are said to be as light and soothing as a tea drink.
A favorite black tea recipe in India is Masala Chai, with ginger, cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns, that is said not only to warm the body but to clear congestion. Kashmiri Kawa is another favorite, made with green tea, saffron, almonds and cardamom.
Other unique tea recipes online include honey ginger tea, or warm Russian tea with black tea, orange juice, vanilla and almond, cinnamon, sugar and sometimes cloves. Spiced apricot tea adds apricot nectar, sugar, cloves, cinnamon and sugar. London Fog is made of Earl Grey tea with milk and lavender. It looks foggy.
A winter favorite in Middle East countries is Sahlab, made with milk, cornstarch, vanilla and sugar, and topped with crushed almonds, coconut and cinnamon powder. It’s almost a pudding. Or try ginger flavored milk, sweetened with honey.
For kids, try simple warmed apple-carrot juice (some recipes add rosemary), or spice it up with cinnamon, anise, allspice, cardamom and nutmeg. Plain warmed pink lemonade and ginger ale is festive for children. They might also enjoy an old-fashioned malted milk.
But kids, move over. Parents will want to try peanut butter hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and caramel drizzle. Other hot chocolate drinks for all ages include peppermint, caramel or butterscotch mochas, and thick Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
Cafe Lattes are very popular, made with espresso coffee and frothy steamed milk. Get into vibes for the fall with a maple latte made with real maple syrup and pumpkin spices, or a decadent gingerbread latte with all of the above plus ginger, whipped cream and caramel drizzle.
Wilder variations on lattes include orange-spice, winter white (with peppermint), white chocolate, ginger and molasses, pistachio and rosewater, chestnut, coconut-almond, eggnog, and Black Forest latte with chopped Maraschino cherries and dark chocolate syrup.
Less fancy coffee drinks (whipped cream optional) include cinnamon mocha coffee, and toffee coffee made with caramel sauce and the surprising addition of fresh fennel.
This season everyone gets out their cider recipes. Look for slow cooker recipes that will envelope the house with the delightful autumn smells of oranges, allspice, cloves, cinnamon and brown sugar. Add honey and a cup of butter to make it buttered cider. Or include apricot nectar and lemon juice for a light apricot cider.
What new warm drink recipes can you find? Try something new as a treat for you and the family. Perhaps one drink will become a seasonal family favorite.