- Why buy overpriced beverages at cafes when you can make them yourself?
- Traditional Mexican horchata and mulled “wine” will make you feel festive
When we think of Christmas, we usually think of wrapping our hands around a warm cup and sipping a spiced or sweet beverage. Lots of cafes will have their own versions of Christmas drinks, but instead of leaving your house during this fourth wave of Covid-19 to pay for an overpriced beverage, why not save some money and satisfy your sweet tooth my making these drinks at home?
Peppermint hot chocolate
Hot chocolate is a staple winter warmer. It feels like a hug from the inside and it’s super customisable. Chocolate and mint is a delicious combo, so elevate your drink by adding a few drops of peppermint extract. Note that you can adjust these amounts depending on your preferences!
Extra rich peppermint hot chocolate (makes 1 mug)
50g dark chocolate (70%-100% depending on your tastes)
2 teaspoons sugar
250ml milk (whole or alternative)
1-3 drops peppermint extract
Pour the heavy cream into a pan, and add the sugar. Chop the dark chocolate into small shards, and place in the cream and sugar. Put the pan over the low heat on the stove and stir until everything melts. Pour into a mug, add 1-3 drops of peppermint extract, stir well and enjoy.
Mint and chocolate make the perfect pair!
If you love a cup of tea, you’ll love this perfectly sweet and spiced chai. It’s a nice alternative to a gingerbread latte, and you can drink multiple cups of this without getting too much of a caffeine rush. This recipe comes from Dishoom, an Indian restaurant based in the UK known for its delicious chai.
Be warned – you might find this a bit strong (“dishoom” translates to “pow!”), so feel free to cut the amount of ginger, cardamom, peppercorns and cloves in half, if you need to.
Dishoom chai (makes 4 cups)
2 bags of darjeeling or assam tea (use black tea if you don’t have either)
12 slices fresh ginger
12 cardamom pods
1 ½ teaspoons black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
500ml milk (whole or alternative)
1 litre water
Add the tea bags, ginger, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks and cloves to a pan, and pour over 1 litre of boiling water. Heat on the stove on low heat for 10 minutes. Add the sugar and milk and heat for another 10 minutes, stirring and tasting for your preferences. Strain the chai into a heat safe jug, discard the spices and tea, and serve in mugs.
If you still want something creamy but more refreshing, definitely try horchata. It’s a spiced rice beverage from Mexico, and it’s usually served cold, so this is for all of you that still order iced coffee in winter. Note that you’ll need a fine mesh strainer and a good blender to make this.
Simple horchata (makes 6 cups)
1 cup white rice
5 cups water
½ cup milk (whole or alternative milks)
2/3 cup sugar
½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
Soak the rice in water overnight, so it softens. Strain and dispose of the water, then add the rice and 5 cups of water to a blender and blend till smooth. Strain using the fine mesh strainer into a jug, and add the sugar, ground cinnamon,vanilla extract and milk. Stir until combined. Serve in glasses over ice, and enjoy.
This traditional Mexican beverage is super refreshing.
For a non-alcoholic version of a Christmas classic, swap out the wine for cranberry juice. It’s just as yummy and has all the elements to make you feel cosy inside.
Mulled cranberry (makes 4 cups)
500ml cranberry juice
1 orange, quartered
1 cinnamon stick
4 star anise
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Add the cranberry juice, orange, cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise and nutmeg to pot, and warm over low heat for 20 minutes. Don’t let it boil, but make sure its warmed through so the spices can flavour the cranberry juice. Ladle into mugs and enjoy.
If you prefer apple to cranberry, wassail is the Welsh drink for you. A hot apple cider usually served during Christmas, this has sharp lemon and ginger for an added health boost.
Welsh Wassail (makes 4 cups)
500ml cloudy apple juice
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
2 lemons, sliced
4 star anise
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
Add the apple juice, ginger, lemons, cloves, star anise and vanilla extract to a pot, and warm over low heat for 20 minutes. Don’t let it boil, but make sure its warmed through so the spices can flavour the apple juice. Ladle into mugs and enjoy.