By Paula Felps
Hot drinks on a cool night can take the edge off a chilly day. As the temperature drops, it’s time to trade in flip-flops for flannel. Whether you’re outside enjoying a football game or staying inside with your family, a nice hot drink can warm you from the inside out.
Starbucks has done a magnificent job of resurrecting our interest in hot, unique beverages, and fall and winter mark a time when they roll out some exclusive flavors such as their Pumpkin Spice Latte. (Make your own pumpkin latte with this slow cooker recipe.) But you don’t need to drink coffee — or even leave the house — to explore some great fall flavors in a cup.
Hot chocolate and spiced milk
Hot chocolate is a perennial favorite for both adults and children. Forget the powdered mixes, though; make a rich, creamy concoction by heating 1 cup of milk and 2 tablespoons each of honey and cocoa powder on low to medium heat. Once the honey and cocoa dissolve, add 1 more cup of milk and heat it to your desired temperature. (Be sure not to boil it!)
When you’re ready to serve, just add marshmallows. (For adults, add a shot of peppermint schnapps.)
Warm spiced milk is another great fall drink, and it’s easy to make — all you need are 2 cups of milk and a half-teaspoon each of nutmeg and cinnamon. Warm it up on the stove, and in minutes you’ll have a rich, flavorful drink.
Caramel apples in a cup!
Caramel apples, one of the fabulous treats of fall, can be served up in a cup for a cool evening treat. Here is how to make it:
- Boil 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1/4 cup brown sugar together.
- Add 3 cups of apple cider and 1/2 cup of water.
- When the concoction begins to steam, it’s ready to serve.
- Top it with homemade caramel whipped cream, which you can make by whipping together 1/2 cup of heavy cream with a tablespoon of brown sugar.
(For a recipe to create to a caramel apple or candied apple buffet, click here.)
Savory teas and coffee drinks
Adult palates often crave a treat that is less sweet, so if you’re looking for a more sophisticated approach, consider savory teas and coffee drink recipes.
Acai berries, a natural antioxidant that is a popular addition to smoothies, can also make a tasty (and healthy) tea.
Simply add acai powder to your favorite loose-leaf green or black tea, and brew as you normally would. The result is a delicious fruity concoction!
Coffee lovers can give their after-dinner coffee an extra boost by whipping up some Irish coffee at home. (Although this drink is traditionally served in a warm glass, feel free to improvise and serve it in your favorite coffee mug!)
Start by combining 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and 1.5 ounces of Irish whiskey in each cup, and then top with hot, freshly brewed coffee. Stir together until the brown sugar is completely dissolved, then complete it by adding a dollop of whipped cream on top.
Or, for a richer variation that’s easy to make, find a great drink recipe here or fill a coffee mug about two-thirds full of hot coffee, then add a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream, a shot of Frangelico hazelnut liqueur, a squirt of chocolate syrup, and then top with whipped cream. Delicious!