Cheers to Winter!
Yes, it’s winter, which is cold and a bit dark. But that also means it’s the perfect time of year to indulge in some of our favourite warming beverages. Whether it’s a morning tea hot chocolate, a fight-the-bugs-off lemon and honey drink or an ease-into-the-evening mulled wine, we’ve pulled together some hot ideas for treating the taste buds and warming the cockles this season.
A bedtime cup of Milo is all well and good, but for a truly indulgent drink, you need to make a proper hot chocolate. Simply heat full-cream milk in a small saucepan until just simmering, then remove from the heat and stir in a few rows of chopped dark chocolate and a little vanilla essence. For an adult version, you can also add a nip of Kahlua or whiskey. Stir until smooth, returning to the heat briefly if need be, then serve in mugs (for extra Scandi style points, go for our Momento Nordic dipped mugs, $8.99), garnished with grated chocolate and mini marshmallows. Alternatively, if you’re just making a solo treat, you can use a milk frother (we like the Bodum latte milk frother, $59.99) to froth up your warmed cup of milk, then just stir in one or two squares of chocolate to melt.
Mull it over
Even if you’ve never been on a mountain in your life, you can expertly conjure up the après-ski vibe by making a pot of mulled wine on a wintry afternoon. Dangerously easy to sip on, it’s a great welcome drink option for a dinner party or casual gathering. Essentially it’s just spiced and warmed red wine - follow our simple guide to success. Combine 1 cup water with 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 strips of orange peel, 1 cinnamon stick, ½ teaspoon cloves and 1 star anise. Bring to the boil then simmer until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has thickened. Add 750ml full-bodied red wine (shiraz works well) then simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the flavours.
After dinner mint
If you prefer a clean-living vibe, making your own fresh peppermint tea in winter will help with digestion after all those casseroles and stews, as well as bringing a burst of fresh flavour to your palate. Use our Bodum Assam tea press, $89.99, to infuse hot water with fresh mint leaves, then simply pour into cups, sweetening with a little honey if you like. Close your eyes and take a sip, visualising a sunny courtyard in a Moroccan riad.
It wouldn’t be winter without sniffles and coughs, and one of the best ways to make yourself feel snuggly and cared for is by brewing up a hot lemon and honey drink. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, a spoonful of honey and a few slices of fresh ginger to a cup of hot water and feel those winter bugs melt away. For an extra kick, or if it’s after dark, you can also add a slug of whiskey or bourbon.
Hot to trot
We tend to think of syrups as being suited to summer drinks with sparkling water, but many of our delicious Soda Press syrups, $16.99 each, also work fantastically well in hot drinks. Soda Press recommends adding a shot of the old-fashioned lemonade syrup to hot water for a fresh-flavoured and warming pick-me-up; or make a hot cocktail with 180ml boiling water, 30ml Soda Press blueberry and lime syrup, 30ml Irish whiskey and a pinch of cinnamon.
Ok, it’s not exactly a drink, but serve up a fondue pot of melted cheese (or chocolate, if you prefer) at your next gathering and we guarantee you’ll win winter’s best host. This Momento fondue set, $99.99, is made from long-lasting cast iron, and includes a pot set atop a burner, plus six forks. Go traditional with a mix of gruyère, cheddar and Emmental cheeses, then serve with vegetable crudités and bread.