Hot chocolate with marshmallows in the red cup and Christmas cookies on the wooden cutting board

“In the bleak mid-winter … “ there’s one favorite way to warm up, body and soul. A piping hot mug of rich hot chocolate, herbal tea or cider is a delicious way to beat the freezing temperatures. Just because the holidays are officially behind us doesn’t mean we can’t continue to enjoy those favorite flavors of the holiday season like gingerbread, peppermint and even pumpkin.

A snowy weekend is a perfect time to whip up a batch, or even just a single-serving mug, of decadent hot drink laced with your favorite flavorings. Whether it’s hot cocoa, cider or even tea and coffee, a steaming cup of your favorite drink is a great way to stay cozy during the frosty winter months. Here are a few of my favorite recipe ideas. For more ideas, visit our Drink Up board on Pinterest.

Hot cocoa

There is no better sweet treat during the winter months than a cup of luxuriously rich hot cocoa. And sure, you can enjoy a cup of instant cocoa with those dehydrated marshmallows, or you can make a batch of hot chocolate from scratch, adding in your favorite flavorings. Liquid dark chocolate, milk chocolate or even white chocolate served piping hot with flavorings like hazelnut, cardamom, peppermint or even pumpkin spice is so much better homemade.

Try this Almond Orange Cocoa. In a small saucepan whisk 4 tablespoons cocoa powder with 1 teaspoon gelatin. Turn heat on low and stir in 1 tablespoon coconut oil and 1/2 cup honey until melted. Slowly whisk 2 cups unsweetened almond milk. Heat thoroughly. Turn off heat and stir in 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract and 3-4 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice. Makes 2 mugfuls.


The smell of a pot of spiced apple cider or wassail is one of the best scents and makes your kitchen instantly more inviting and homey. The smells of warm apple or pear, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, orange and more all combine to create a completely drinkable potpourri. When simmered in a crockpot for several hours, the spice-filled warmth perfectly envelopes your entire home.

Try this Cranberry Pear Cider. Add 16 cloves to the rind of 1 orange, quartered. Add 10 pears, an orange, 2 cups cranberries, 4 cinnamon sticks and 1 whole nutmeg to a crockpot. Top with 8 cups of water. Cover and set to low for 4-5 hours. An hour before done, mash all ingredients with a whisk or potato masher. Continue to cook for 1 more hour. Strain all solids and return to the rinsed-out slow cooker. Add 1/3 cup pure maple syrup and stir to combine. Garnish and serve.

Tea and coffee

While you may have packed up all the Christmas decor, there’s no saying you can’t enjoy making your own Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte, create a creamy peppermint tea, or enhance your favorite pot of hot coffee with seasonal flavors like mocha, peppermint, salted caramel or even eggnog. While I’m not a coffee drinker, I do know that many of these flavors are also amazing when combined with a steamed milk!

Try this Gingerbread Latte. Pour 4 cups milk into a slow cooker and add in 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 2 teaspoons ginger, 1/2 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Stir, cover and cook on low for 3 hours, making sure it doesn’t boil. After 3 hours turn off the slow cooker. Pour into mugs about half way and then add in hot coffee, tea or steamed milk to fill the mugs. Stir to mix and garnish with whipped cream.

— Jennifer Durrant