Autumn is well and truly upon us, and that means super-cosy socks, crackling log fires, and drinks to help warm your cockles after a long day out in the cold. Pumpkin Spiced Latte season is here, but if you are not a fan of the trend, here are a few just-as-delicious ideas for warming Winter drinks:
Hands up who loves chocolate! Well good news, with Autumn and Winter on our doorstep, there is no better reason to go ahead and make yourself a steaming cup of hot cocoa. Not just limited to the original, hot chocolates can come in all sorts of delicious flavours. Here are some of my top hot chocolate ideas.
- Go Back To Basics. Forgo the microwave, and make your hot chocolate by gently simmering some milk in a saucepan. The creamier-tasting the better. Add a few scoops of hot chocolate powder to keep it simple, or, if you're in need of a really big treat, how about melting down some chocolate chips, or chunks of your favourite chocolate bar? Keep some sugar to hand to add to taste - you don't want your hot chocolate to be too bitter!
- Peanut Butter. If you're like me and can't get enough of it, then how about taking a (generous) teaspoon of it and swirling it in to your hot chocolate. Smooth of course, not crunchy - you don't want anything chewy about your hot chocolate!
- Be Festive. Add a pinch of cinnamon. Not only with this add a slight spice, but it will also smell amazing. Again, keep the sugar or sweetener handy, just in case you go a little too overboard.
- Deliciously Decadent. Top with lashing of whipped cream and mini marshmallows to boot. Hot chocolate heaven.
Avid coffee fan? This time of year means that there are multitudes of different options available to make your coffees more Autumnal. Add a kick to your coffee with the following:
- Make it Mocha. If you don't want to let the chocolate go, but still need a coffee boost, add some cocoa or hot chocolate powder. Mix a few teaspoons of both coffee and chocolate powder in to a paste, then add boiling water and milk, and stir until smooth. If needed, add sugar to taste.
- Sugar and Spice. Syrups are a quick and easy way to add a flavour to your favourite coffee. Caramel, vanilla, gingerbread....the options are endless. Add a dash of your favourite to recreate your favourite coffee-shop concoction. Some syrups even come in smaller bottles, so you can take it with you and use wherever you go.
- All The Flavours. If fun coffee flavours is your thing, there aren't just syrups available to add something fun to your coffee - oh no! For the true coffee connoisseurs among us, there are so many different flavours of coffee to choose from. Flavours that you probably never even imagined could be in a coffee. Hunt around for your favourite festive flavour for the ultimate Autumnal beverage.
Just like with coffee, the coming of Autumn and Winter means there's no better reason to curl up with a hot cup of tea. Stick to more traditional options, or branch out into fruity flavours. There are also choices that help battle impending colds too!
- Chai Tea Latte - When I think of this time of year, chai tea lattes are the first tea choice that springs to my mind. With a warming, spicy flavour that's great for making you feel warm and fuzzy on a cold, crisp day, it definitely a drink that sings of all things Autumnal.
- Germ Battlers. Autumn can mean a time where pesky colds are rife. Why not help build your bug-fighting defenses and brew up a cuppa that will help you keep sickness at bay. Top ingredients that are great at fighting off the flu include lemon, ginger and honey. Struck by a bug? Why not whip up a cup and give it a go?
Looking for something a bit different? How about these Winter warmers....
- Mulled Wine/Cider. I love mulled wine at this time of year. Shop-bought or homemade, it's a great drink to bring out at Winter get-togethers. With so many different variations, it's great fun to experiment with fruits and spices. And for those who do not drink alcohol, there are alcohol-free variations out there to try too.
- Hot Orange. Notoriously bad for admitting defeat when struck down by a cold, I quickly made the discovery that a mug of hot orange juice is a great way to ease the pain of a sore throat. Quick to make, simple, and nearly always effective, the taste won't be for everyone, but if it helps make you feel that bit better, it's worth a try, right?
- Feeling Extra Cheeky? Adding a splash of your favourite liquor to hot chocolates and coffees will definitely help keep you warm this Winter.
Now grab yourself a mug of your favourite hot drink, cosy up, and enjoy everything that this Autumn has to offer.