Cozy Winter Bevys
As someone who has lived in Texas my whole life, I cherish any cold, winter day that we are graced with. When I think about my ideal winter day, I imagine myself seated in front of a fire, wrapped in a blanket, with a mug of something warm and delicious in my hand. I can feel the weight of the mug, as my hands are wrapped around it and can even see and feel steam escaping from my drink. Sometimes, as I am lost in this image, I am quickly brought back to real life. The hot sun is streaming through the windows and my children are fighting over a toy train. This is parenthood, right? However, even as I parent two young children, I’m determined to lean into the simple moments, and this winter, if I can’t achieve the peace of sitting in front of the fire for longer than a minute, I can at least sip on a delicious hot beverage.
As I carve out a moment to celebrate the holidays, I invite you to join me as we discover some winter beverages for you to savor. From classic hot chocolate, to spicy chai lattes, to drinks that harken back to medieval times, here are some recipes for cozy elixirs that will certainly keep you company on any day this winter.
Not in the mood to craft your own winter drink? Then order hot apple cider at your local coffee shop, add some Bailey’s to your coffee, try a hot brown sugar milk tea with boba (CECPTA member Joylynn Huynh Ngo suggests patronizing Gong Cha or Tiger Sugar in Carrollton), or snag a homemade hot chocolate bomb from CECPTA member Jenn Morales at Jenn’s Sweet Factory.
Winter Beverage Recipes
Classic Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate is a crowd pleaser for all ages! Keep it simple or dress it up with marshmallows, whipped cream, candy cane pieces, and more!
4 cups of milk
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup sugar
½ cup chocolate chips
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions – Pour milk, cocoa powder, and the sugar in a saucepan and heat over medium low-medium heat. Whisk frequently as it warms, avoid letting it get to boiling. Once the liquid is warm, whisk in chocolate chips. Once the chocolate chips are melted, whisk in the vanilla extract. Serve immediately.
As a choir member, I have sung about this Medieval Christmastide English drink every Christmas as it’s included in many holiday carols. In Britain, Wassail was enjoyed every winter to ensure a good cider apple harvest the following year. Nowadays, a simmering pot of Wassail on the stovetop gives my house the perfect apple-cinnamon holiday fragrance.
This recipe comes from a CECPTA member and is a great drink to make in the crockpot. You can throw in the ingredients and let it warm up while you tackle your to-do list, read a book, or put your little one down for a nap.
2 quarts apple cider*
1 pint cranberry juice
¼ to ¾ cup of sugar depending on how sweet you like your drinks
1 tsp bitters
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp whole allspice berries
1 to 1 ½ cups rum (omit rum to make non-alcoholic)
Instructions – Place all ingredients in a crockpot and cook for 1 hour on High or 4-8 hours on low. You can also simmer on the stove in a big pot for an hour. Garnish with orange slices, cranberries, and cinnamon stick for a festive look.
*Apple cider can be found at the grocery store during the holidays however, if you cannot find any, you can make your own apple cider from apple juice. Combine 4 cups of apple juice, 2-4 cinnamon sticks, 8 whole cloves, 8 whole allspice berries, and 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar or maple syrup in a pot on the stove. Heat on medium and stir until the sugar dissolves. Once it begins to softly bubble, turn down the heat to low and let it simmer for at least 30 min.
Mulled wine goes by many names depending on what worldly region you find yourself. Whether it is called grogg, vin chaud, or spiced wine, it is my personal favorite winter beverage. I love the mix of the red wine, citrus notes, and warm holiday spices. It is the perfect accompaniment to a robust winter meal or a late night present wrapping extravaganza.
1 (750-ml) bottle of dry red wine (doesn’t need to be expensive, but a cabernet sauvignon or syrah work well)
2-4 cups of apple cider
¼ cup of honey or maple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
The zest and juice of 1 orange
4 whole cloves
3 star anise (optional)
½ to 1 cup of brandy (If you don’t have brandy, you can substitute bourbon, rum, or vodka)
Place all ingredients in a saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for 10 min. Serve hot with an orange peel or cinnamon stick as a garnish.
You can also place all ingredients in a crockpot on low for 1 hour. After an hour, if your crockpot has a warm setting, you can set it on that.
Sabeen’s Masala Chai
Masala Chai is indigenous to the Subcontinent (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) and in Hindi or Urdu, masala means spices and chai means tea latte. Since each region has its own variation of this spiced milk tea, I am so excited to share the family recipe from CECPTA member, Sabeen Riaz.
5–7 green cardamom pods*
3–4 whole cloves *
1–2 star anise*
5–7 peppercorns *
2–3 slices fresh ginger
½ cinnamon stick– split lengthwise*
1–2 tablespoons loose leaf black tea, (or 2-3 tea bags). Sabeen suggests that a robust black tea such as Darjeeling or Assam is preferred.
1 cup water
1 cup milk of your choice (Whole milk will lend to a more rich tea)
Sweetener to taste. Sugar is traditional but honey or maple syrup could be equally delicious
*Chai is personal, play around with spices, spice amounts, and ratios of milk, tea, and water until you find your perfect cup!
Instructions – Lightly crush the whole spices using a mortar and pestle. Add the spices, tea, and 1 cup of water to a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat as soon as it comes to a boil or the tea will turn too bitter. Cover and let steep for 10 mins. Add milk and once again bring it to boil. (If you don’t want a strong tea flavor skip this step)
Strain out the tea and spices, add your sweetener and enjoy! Pictured is Sabeen’s own cup of her masala chai. How could you not revel in every sip drinking out of a cup this beautiful?!
Now it’s time to wrap yourself in something snuggly, turn on the holiday tunes, and pour yourself a cozy mug. Enjoy!
Check out our Pinterest board for more winter beverage recipes.
MORE DELICIOUS WINTER DRINK RECIPES
About the Author
Jennifer has been a member of CECPTA since 2019. She currently serves as the Purple Playgroup Leader and has two sons, Oliver is in the purple playgroup and Arthur is in the red playgroup. Her background is in choral music education and she has a keen interest in human emotions and psychology. While you’ll usually find Jennifer in the kitchen listening to a podcast as she cooks, she and her husband, Jeff, love taking road trip adventures with their boys and taking in the beautiful sights of nature.