When it’s cold and dark outside, one of the best wintertime comforts is to close the curtains, pull on a cosy jumper, settle down on the sofa, and wrap your hands around a piping hot drink. But if you’re tired of tea, then what should you drink? We suggest making yourself a suitably festive winter warmer – a hot drink that won’t only warm you up and taste delicious, but will help you get into the Christmas spirit, too. From boozy evening concoctions to mouthwatering sweet treats, here are 9 winter warmer recipes to try over the coming months.
1. Mulled wine
If you could bottle Christmas, it would probably taste like mulled wine. The great thing about making mulled wine from scratch isn’t only that it tastes better than shop-bought versions – it’s that as it cooks, the scent of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg will release and infuse your home with wonderfully festive fragrances. Mulled wine might smell complex, but it’s incredibly simple to make. Just mix a bottle of red wine with some slices of orange, spices (usually cloves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and cardamom) with brandy and a sweetener like sugar or honey.
Mulled wine is really versatile and you can easily put your own spin on it. While dry red wines like merlot, malbec and cabernet sauvignon are popular, you can use any type of red wine you like. If you don’t like brandy, there’s no need to include it, and if you want to add other flavours like vanilla and star anise, go ahead. We love this quick mulled wine recipe from Gimme Some Oven – though, our very own mulled wine recipe is great too! To read more about how to make the perfect mulled wine, have a read of this article by The Guardian, or watch Gordon Ramsay’s video below.
2. Hot chocolate
Sweet, velvety, rich, and decadent, hot chocolate is one of the most beloved drinks in the world – and for good reason. Aside from how delicious and comforting it is, hot chocolate is also really adaptable. You can make light, milky drinks and dark, rich drinks. You can top with marshmallows, chocolate shavings or whipped cream. You can add flavours like salted caramel, peppermint, hazelnut, or even chilli. You can use dairy milk, or oat, almond or soya. There really is a hot chocolate recipe out there for everyone!
If you’re a fan of the dark, French-style hot chocolate, check out this recipe from Well Plated. For a more ‘classic’ hot chocolate, this recipe from BBC Good Food looks great – and if you drink plant milks, try this super creamy oat milk hot chocolate recipe, also from BBC Good Food. If you fancy a more grown-up hot chocolate, why not add a splash of alcohol? Baileys, whiskey, Amaretto, rum and coffee liqueur all make great additions if you’re looking for a hot chocolate with some extra warmth. Alternatively, you might fancy making Italian-style hot chocolate: if that’s the case, have a watch of the video below.
3. Hot eggnog
Though eggnog is often seen as having American roots, this creamy festive drink actually hails from Britain, where it was popular among the aristocracy. Milk, eggs, spices and brandy were foods of the wealthy, so eggnog was seen as a drink of prosperity. But it was when this drink crossed the Atlantic that it really took off, and these days it’s made from egg yolks, cream or milk, spices, and rum, whisky or brandy. While traditionally eggnog is served chilled, you can also enjoy it warm – plus, this way it’s even closer to the old British version – which was then called ‘posset’, or milk punch.
This eggnog recipe from Wine Enthusiast looks great, as does this one from No Recipes. Alternatively, you might want to try Gordon Ramsay’s recipe for chilled eggnog – you can just heat it up instead of serving it cold. If you like the idea of eggnog but don’t eat eggs – or you’re trying to reduce your calories, or watch cholesterol – why not try this vegan eggnog by Minimalist Baker? It might not be traditional, but it’s just as delicious! Have a watch of the video below to see how to make warm eggnog.
4. Mulled cider
Mulled drinks are wonderfully festive, but sometimes you might not be in the mood for red wine. If you’re craving the comforting warmth and spice of a mulled drink but fancy something lighter, why not try making mulled cider? Just like mulled wine, mulled cider is made by infusing cider with spices like cinnamon, star anise and cloves, and adding a glug of brandy – and there are many ways to put your own spin on this festive drink. We think adding maple syrup instead of honey or sugar tastes great – and including a dash of ginger beer gives it a warming, spicy kick, too.
If you’re not big on brandy, you can easily swap it for rum – or alternatively, you can omit the alcohol altogether. Using a good quality cloudy apple juice instead of cider works really well, and means kids can enjoy this Christmas tipple, too. To mix things up even more, you could even use a flavoured cider like pear or strawberry. For recipes, you might want to try this quick and easy mulled cider by The Londoner. Alternatively, try Nigella Lawson’s fruity and mellow recipe, this rich recipe from Vintage Roots, or Jamie Oliver’s recipe, featured in the video below.
5. Hot buttered rum
Hot buttered rum is a deliciously warming winter drink, and a great way to brighten up a cold grey day. If you have guests coming you can make a big batch in advance, but it’s just as good slowly savoured in front of the fire by yourself. Just like many of the other winter warmers in this article, buttered rum can be adapted to your own preferences. If you have a favourite Christmas flavour, go ahead and add it in – and if you have an old bottle of liqueur that’s just gathering dust, why not add a splash to the mix, too?
Traditionally, hot buttered rum is made with brown sugar, butter, rum, and spices like allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg – though this recipe from The Spruce Eats uses vanilla extract to make it that little bit more flavoursome. Jamie Oliver’s recipe for hot buttered rum is simpler, using Bacardi Carta Negra rum and less spice. Alternatively, for a real treat, this recipe from Delish uses softened vanilla ice cream to make this winter warmer part-drink, part-dessert. For step-by-step instructions on making a classic buttered rum, check out the video below.
6. Gingerbread latte
Ever since Starbucks started making their own version, gingerbread lattes have become an incredibly popular winter warmer – but we think the best versions are homemade. Most gingerbread latte recipes are pretty simple: just heat up some milk (both dairy or non-dairy work well) with ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, brown sugar and treacle. The ginger and treacle are what give gingerbread its signature taste, so these two ingredients are important – although if you have gingerbread syrup, you can always use that. Then, just add some brewed espresso into your mix, stir until combined, and voila – a homemade gingerbread latte.
This recipe from Life Made Sweeter looks really great – and if you don’t want to use treacle, or don’t have it at home, try this recipe from BBC Good Food instead. For more details on how to make the perfect gingerbread latte, have a watch of the video below by coffee connoisseurs Costa Coffee.
7. Hot toddy
If you fancy a winter warmer but are worried you’re coming down with a bit of a cold, why not make yourself a comforting hot toddy? Unlike other alcoholic winter drinks, hot toddies are light and refreshing – and because they contain lemon and honey, they’re good for the throat, too. As this recipe from Epicurious shows, all you need to make this simple yet classic winter warmer is hot water, whisky, honey, and lemon – although to make it that bit more festive, you could add cinnamon and cloves, like this recipe from BBC Good Food. If you want to make your hot toddy even more Christmassy, why not try making this tasty spiced apple hot toddy by The Spruce Eats?
8. Irish coffee
Many of us begin our day with a coffee – but at Christmas, why not make it a bit more festive by making your coffee Irish? Though many people think Irish coffee just means adding a shot of whisky to your coffee, an authentic Irish coffee requires more planning and precision – although it’s still pretty straightforward to make. All you need for this delicious brew is some strong coffee, sugar, Irish whisky and cream. The trick is to heat up your cup, then mix the sugar with the hot coffee until it’s fully dissolved. Then, add the whisky and stir again. Finally, whip up your cream and pour on top – and remember not to stir! The authentic way to drink this winter warmer is through the cream.
Irish coffee is a delicious finale to a dinner party, but it tastes just as good sipped curled up on the sofa during a quiet night in. To make your own Irish coffee, have a look at this recipe from Delish – or to make a more Christmassy concoction, why not make some spiced Irish coffee? This recipe by 10 Best uses orange-zested cream, homemade spiced stout syrup and freshly grated nutmeg. Thick, creamy and spicy, it’s a real treat! Have a watch of the video below to learn more about making the perfect Irish coffee.
9. Spiced chai latte
Because traditionally chai tea is made using cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ginger, it’s already infused with many of the warming flavours we associate with Christmas. You can buy chai tea bags and make delicious chai tea in a matter of seconds, but seeing as it’s Christmas, we think including a little extra indulgence is justified. A chai latte is spicy, sweet and creamy, and a lovely way to perk up your morning when it’s cold and dark outside. To read in detail about how to make the perfect chai latte, check out this in-depth guide by The Kitchn – or if you just want a quick recipe, have a look at this one by BBC Good Food. To make authentic chai tea latte from scratch, have a watch of the video below.
Though the Christmas period is meant to be a holiday, many of us feel rushed off our feet at this time of year. It can be a challenge trying to get work out of the way, buy presents for loved ones, get the house looking festive, and think about what we’re going to cook – and that’s not taking into account the more unusual stresses this year has created.
So it’s really important to find some quiet time to set aside for yourself – even if it’s just 15 minutes. Taking the time to make yourself a special, warming drink, and sitting down on the sofa to savour to savour each sip is one of winter’s small joys, and we hope some of these recipes have inspired you to get creative with your drinks this year.
Do you have a favourite winter warmer – or are you looking forward to creating some of these recipes? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave us a comment below or join the conversation over on the Rest Less community.