Thoughts of snowy winter days bring to mind a toasty fire, slippers, sweaters, blankets and warm drinks. It makes sense, because they all equate to the perfect combination of coziness. While traditional tea or coffee is a lovely choice, it’s fun to explore new flavors. For those that are vegan by choice or by circumstance, traditional drinks can be limiting. We’ve conjured up a varied blend of hot drink options to fit your vegan lifestyle. Note that most of these options can also be adapted for the over-21 crowd.
Apple cider quickly comes to mind in any discussion of hot drinks, and it is undisputed as a sweet, delicious option. But cider encompasses a host of other possibilities as well. Because fruits and herbs are naturally vegan, there are endless combinations to suit your preferences. How about some apple-berry cider? Cranberry makes a colorful, flavorful and delightful cider that you can drink as-is or use as a base for any number of warm drinks. Take advantage of mint, basil and lavender for tasty spins on the classic ciders, too.
Another age-old vegan option is coffee. However, contemporary methods have turned this once black-only option into dairy-filled whipped, stirred and frothy concoctions. The advantage of modern inventions is that they’ve also come up with an assortment of creamy options that don’t come from an animal source. Replace the cow’s milk and heavy cream with rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk or the sturdy oat milk. From there, you can embellish with a dash of almond or peppermint extract and top with vegan whipped cream and chocolate shavings. There’s no reason to miss out on the seasonal peppermint mocha or cinnamon-spice latte you see everywhere when you can recreate it at home.
Cocoa is a childhood favorite with its sweet flavor and creamy texture. It became a classic for a reason — it’s delicious! But even the classics are due for an upgrade at some point, so take cues from the coffee suggestions above with the addition of extracts, vegan chocolate, milks and whipped cream. You can even mix it up with white chocolate or dark chocolate, too.
In the family of cocoa is a vegan Mexican favorite called champurrado, made from masa and either water or milk. You can enhance the flavor with anise, cinnamon or nutmeg for a yummy twist.
Gingerbread coconut milk hot cocoa is another delectable option to consider. Simply combine a can of coconut milk with cocoa powder and season with maple syrup, ginger, allspice and vanilla. Top with vegan whipped cream if desired.
Tea might be the oldest hot beverage on the planet. For thousands of years, native communities around the world have infused leaves into water to create a calming brew. While English breakfast and peppermint varieties are divine on their own, jazz them up a bit for an extra special treat.
London Fog tea latte is one such treat. To make it vegan, substitute your favorite milk product. Steep a cup of earl grey tea with some fresh lavender. Meanwhile, steam some alternative milk. Combine the two and use a milk frother if you desire. Top with sweetener and a dash of vanilla.
Chai tea latte is another notable culinary combination. Make the tea and steam the milk separately. Then, froth the milk and combine with the tea. Add honey or another sweetener to taste and top with cinnamon or nutmeg.
Mulled wine is an alcoholic beverage made from wine infused with fruit. Cinnamon, cloves and orange are the typical options, but star anise, clementines and other citrus or sweeteners can be added too. To make mulled wine, simmer a bottle of inexpensive red wine on the stove with the added ingredients. You can alternately let the mulled wine simmer in a slow cooker.
Did you know you can make eggnog from scratch? Yep, you can. The great part of that news is that it means you can make it from your favorite vegan milk, too. Try coconut or cashew milk. The following recipe is from the Tasty Yummies website:
2 cups homemade cashew milk or other non-dairy milk of your choice
½ cup full fat coconut milk
⅓ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or for at least 30 minutes (optional)
4-6 Medjool dates
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of sea salt
Add all of the ingredients to your high-speed blender and process until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately as-is or add spiced rum, bourbon, brandy or whiskey for a spirited version. Add a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg on top.
If you’ve never had wassail, you’re in for a treat. It’s kind of a combination of apple and cranberry cider with an extra kick of spices. It’s fabulous warmed, and you can even throw in a shot of rum or vodka for an extra warming affect.
Winter is the perfect time to cozy up to a warm cup of goodness. Enjoy!
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