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You know that autumn will kick into high gear soon when people are ordering pumpkin lattes, apple cider, and cocoa instead of frozen drinks at your favorite cafes. All over the northern hemisphere, folks will wrap chilled fingers around warm mugs and sip at the deliciousness therein. Whether you’re aiming to be more budget-friendly or would just rather make your own drinks at home, you can whip up some fabulous, delicious vegan sip-ables with just a few ingredients, a saucepan, and a stove top.
This is one of the most cherished fall drinks of all: it pairs the sweet earthiness of seasonal apples with warming spices, and warms you from nose to toes.
- 8 cups (2 quarts) apple cider
- 2-4 cinnamon sticks
- 2-4 whole dried cloves
- 2 whole allspice berries (optional)
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 orange or apple, sliced thinly horizontally (optional)
- Brown sugar, agave nectar, or maple syrup to taste (optional)
Mix all ingredients except for the sweetener in a medium-sized saucepan, and bring to a simmer on your stove, grill, wood stove, or campfire coals. Keep at a simmer for 3-5 minutes so the flavors have a chance to develop, then ladle into individual cups and serve hot. If desired, have the aforementioned sweeteners available so each person can adjust the level to their personal taste.
Tip: you can make many of the drinks featured here on a wood stove or open campfire, so if you’re heating your home or you have a campfire going at some event, just use a cast iron (or other fire-safe) vessel to brew them in.
- 2 cups non-dairy milk of choice (almond-hazelnut milk is incredible for this)
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (fair trade + organic is best)
- 2 tablespoons cane sugar (or equivalent sweetener of your choice)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Vegan whipped topping of your choice (optional)
- Vegan marshmallows (optional, but so awesome)
Heat the non-dairy milk in a saucepan on medium-high heat until it starts to simmer. Turn heat down to low, add the cocoa, sugar, and vanilla extract, and use a whisk to combine them all evenly. Ladle into cups, and if desired, top with a pile of vegan marshmallows and whipped topping, and a sprinkle of cocoa powder or cinnamon.
Tip: you can make this more of a Mexican-style hot cocoa by reducing the sweetener and adding a bit of cayenne pepper or chili powder.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan at all, you may have drooled all over yourself when you saw the big tankards of “butter beer” that were served in Hogsmeade. Although this drink can be served both hot and cold, the warm version is a total delight on a chilly autumn day, especially if you grate some cinnamon on it.
- 2 tablespoons Earth Balance (or other favorite vegan butter substitute)
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut cream
- A pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups of your choice: apple cider, ginger ale, ginger beer, almond or soy milk, cream soda, root beer, or dark beer.
Heat the 4 cups of liquid in a saucepan on medium heat until it’s warmed through. In another saucepan, whisk the Earth Balance, sugar, and coconut cream together until it’s all melted, and then add the pinch of salt. Stir thoroughly, and then use a spatula to spoon this syrup into the warmed liquid, stirring gently until it’s all combined. Ladle into large tankards, mugs, or latte bowls, and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg—whipped coconut cream too, if you’re a fan of it.
I recommend experimenting with the base liquids to see which flavor combinations you like best. My personal favorite is warmed almond milk with a shot of hazelnut liqueur, but there are countless options available for both boozy and non-alcoholic versions.
Spicy and sweet, homemade chai is the perfect cold weather warmer. This is also great to sip in the bath after a long day!
- 1 or 2 cardamom pods, cracked
- 4 whole cloves
- 1/2 a cinnamon stick
- 3 black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon loose black tea leaves
- 3 cups non-dairy milk
- 1 or 2 tablespoons brown sugar or agave syrup (adjust to taste)
Place the spices in a small saucepan and warm gently on low heat until they begin to release their scent. Add the non-dairy milk and tea leaves, raise heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat back down to low and simmer for about 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to steep for another 5. Add your sweetener, stir it well, strain it into cups, and serve hot.
Tip: You can also make a quicker version of this by just steeping the tea and spices in hot water inside a French press, and adding a bit of coconut cream or other thick vegan creamer to each cup after serving.
This isn’t so much a “recipe” as a serving suggestion for a lovely cup of tea: add a teaspoon or so of agave or maple syrup to the bottom of your favorite mug. Make a pot of tea, and once it’s steeped to your liking, pour that into the pre-sweetened mug, followed by a squirt or two of lemon juice and a shot of brandy, whiskey, or rum. Drink while hot, repeat as desired.
If you like, you can serve your hot toddy with a slice of lemon and some cinnamon or star anise, as those make for a lovely presentation.