When it’s cold outside, sometimes the only thing to do is cozy up with a mug full of warm bliss. While we love a good upside-down coffee or healthy green tea, we’re all about trying new things. Especially when it comes to drinks.
As it turns out, a good hot drink is pretty much everyone’s favorite, and each corner of the world has its own unique take. So grab your mug and get scrolling through these delicious winter beverages:
Xocolatl, or Aztec chocolate
Dubbed the “original hot chocolate,” this rich drink of the Aztecs continues to thrill palates to this day. Xocolatl literally means “bitter drink” in the ancient language of the Aztecs, Nahautl. It’s a healthy hot chocolate, by no means sugary, spiced with chili peppers for a fascinating flavor.
A simple combination of hot water, citrus juice, cinnamon, sugar and rum leads to a surprisingly satisfying hot alcoholic beverage. It’s been around for hundreds of years, to the point where the word “grog” has come to mean anything alcoholic in Australia, and any mixed drink in Sweden.
Grog is simple to make and takes well to any impromptu modifications – in the Caribbean, adding grapefruit juice, orange juice, pineapple juice and a dash of honey makes for a sweet and healthy dose of vitamin C!
Mulled wine, German style. Red wine is heated with cinnamon, cloves, anise seed, citrus and sweetened with sugar. For the truly celebratory, a shot of rum is added. The word “Glühwein” literally means “glow wine” and it’s easy to see why – sweet, spicy and warming, it’s an easy go-to winter night recipe.
Heating cider and adding spices now seems quintessential to our fall and winter routines, but the drink has an interesting history. In 11th-century southern England, where cider apple orchards reigned, there was a ceremony called Wassailing, where people would gather and drink mulled cider in a ritual to guarantee a successful harvest for the next season. Called wassail, literally “be you healthy,” this early cider featured mead and apples and over time became the mulled cider we love today: one with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. So while the cold wind’s blowing, take comfort knowing you can find happiness in a warm glass.
The pretty little star-shaped spice called anise gets its very own creamy beverage in the form of the Dutch Anijsmelk. Anise is known to calm the stomach and the nerves, so it’s the perfect hot drink to end the night on.
It’s a fairly simple recipe to make from scratch: milk, aniseed and the sweetener of your choice. You can also buy a premixed version to which you only need to add warm milk for an even faster night cap.