With Christmas just under a week away, there's nothing better with a tempting warm drink to keep your mind off the cold weather. Hot drinks that are full of spices like mint, cinnamon and nutmeg are perfect around this time of year, and will make the long winter nights seem much more pleasant. They are also a lot more interesting than coffee or tea! Be sure to check out our recipes below and you'll be feeling cosy in no time.
Eggnog is a classic festive drink that has been enjoyed at Christmas time for centuries. It's often debated where eggnog originated from, but it's thought that the drink is from Europe. Eggnog is rich and creamy, and involves beating egg yolks (we'd recommend 3 if you want 6 servings) and then mixing with 250ml milk, 200ml heavy cream and a handful of spices (typically vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon) on a low heat. The next step is to beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until they form peaks. Whisk the egg whites into the yolk mixture and stir in around 170ml of bourbon. Serve immediately or wait until it's cool and keep in the fridge to drink later.
2. Mulled wine
Mulled wine is another warm drink that is bound to uplift your spirits and get you in the Christmas mood. For a fuss-free version of this fruity drink, simple simmer wine in a pan with 60g sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, a few slices of orange, and the zest and juice of half a lemon. Wait until the sugar has completely dissolved and be careful not to boil. For a sober alternative, swap the wine for apple juice and add a teaspoon of ground ginger.
3. Mint hot chocolate
Hot chocolate is a favourite seasonal hot drink. Why not add mint to spice things up a bit? All you need to do is heat milk and cream in a pan with some milk chocolate chips, let the chocolate dissolve, and add a hint of peppermint extract. If you like your hot chocolate extra minty, pour some crushed mint leaves into the mixture, but remember to remove before serving the drink! Top with whipped cream and a candy cane. You can also make hot chocolate with other flavours such as toffee, salted caramel, peanut butter, gingerbread and coffee, if you're not keen on mint. The possibilities are endless.
4. Hot vanilla
Hot vanilla, or 'vanilla steamer' as it is otherwise known, is a delicious and healthy alternative to hot chocolate. The combination of flavours make it ideal for drinking before bed. Curl up with a book and a mug of hot vanilla. This drink can be prepared using either regular milk or a vegan substitute, such as soya, hazelnut, almond or coconut milk. Warm a cup of milk in the microwave or on the stove. Stir in a teaspoon of vanilla extract and serve with a dash with sugar and cinnamon.
5. Hot toddy
This drink is very popular in Ireland and Scotland, and was initially drunk cold. Although it does contain alcohol, many people believe that hot toddy can soothe your throat and relieve you of a cold – it's the perfect excuse to not waste that last bit of whisky when you're feeling under the weather. To make hot toddy, combine your favourite spirit (either brandy, whisky or rum) with 3 parts hot water and a teaspoon of honey. Sprinkle cinnamon or add a slice of lemon if you wish.
Anijsmelk is a traditional Dutch drink made from hot milk and aniseed. Like hot vanilla, anijsmelk is best consumed before bed as it can aid digestion and help you sleep better. Aniseed has soothing qualities that will make you drift off in no time. Anijsmelk may not sound appealing to all, so add honey for a sweeter taste. You can buy anijsblokjes (cubes of aniseed that you simply drop into hot milk) online.