When I come in from snowshoeing or building a snow fort with my kids, nothing’s better than a big mug of hot chocolate. Top it with some whipped cream and crushed candy cane pieces and my taste buds do their happy dance!
There are many delicious, warm drinks to enjoy, from hot tea to hot chocolate, from hot toddies to mint mochas. Let the chilly weather outside be your excuse for indulging in your favorite warm drink or trying a new one.
Hot chocolate: My husband and I were in Chicago one winter’s day when we wandered into the Ghirardelli ™ Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop off of Madison Avenue. We decided to try their “Drinking Chocolate” and were immediately sold on its creamy texture and sweetness. It’s like drinking your favorite candy bar. I spied a recipe in the Star Tribune for a “Dark Chocolate Drink.” You bring 1 ¾ cup of whole milk to a simmer. Pour it into a deep heatproof bowl, add 2 ounces of finely chopped bittersweet chocolate and ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract. Blend until smooth and pour into two mugs or cappuccino cups. Delicious!
You can always make your favorite hot chocolate or cocoa and add some pizzazz by topping it with marshmallows, whipped topping, crushed peppermints, or pieces of toffee or mint.
Tea or Coffee: For the health conscious, a warm cup of tea has zero calories and a plethora of health benefits. Visit last week’s blog titled “Battle of the Teas” for more information on why tea is a good drink choice. Need I explain the appeal of coffee? Whether you need your morning caffeine kick or are trying out a new flavored creamer, coffee is a popular choice. Just try to avoid caffeine later in the day if it may disrupt your sleep.
Apple Cider: Although I tend to drink more apple cider in the fall, it’s a delicious choice year-round. Add cinnamon if you’re a fan, or just warm it up and enjoy.
Drinks with a Kick: Rough day at work? Sometimes you want to add a little extra kick to your warm drink. Baileys in your coffee, peppermint schnapps in your hot chocolate, a hot toddy, mulled wine, hot buttered rum … you can add a splash of alcohol to your drink or look up a more complicated recipe. If you go to epicurious.com, click on “Recipes and Menus,” select “Drinks,” and then choose “Hot Beverages,” you’ll surely find something that appeals.
Next time the thermometer drops, warm up with a warm drink and let your taste buds do their happy dance.