Spicing up your winter drinks!
One of the simplest and easiest ways to warm up in winter is with a nice, hot drink. Whether you are at home, under a blanket or in the office a hot drink can take the winter chills away and warm you up from the inside out. The addition of herbs and spices that may already be in your pantry can add a new spin to the hot drinks you are currently consuming. Why not try the following:
Chilli spiced cacao and almond milk
Try this alternate to the standard hot chocolate drink if you are looking to cut down on sugar and dairy consumption, or simply just want to try something a little different. The herbs not only add a different dimension in flavour, but also add to the warming effects.
You will need: 2 cups of almond milk (you may use other milk varieties), 3 – 4 tablespoons of raw cacao powder, 1 long red chilli cut in thirds and 1 cinnamon stick. Place in saucepan over stove and gently simmer on low heat for 15 minutes, or until aromatic. Strain and serve.Ginger and cinnamon tea
Ginger is an excellent herb in teas as it is a circulatory stimulant and boasts warming properties. Ginger is lovely on its own, but the addition of cinnamon adds a slight sweetness to the taste. This tea will not only help you feel warmer in winter, but may assist with soothing the digestive system.
Add 1 inch of grated fresh ginger and 2 cinnamon sticks to 2 cups of boiling water in a teapot and let it steep for 10 minutes.
Rosemary and Lemon tea
You may already use rosemary as an addition to cooking for its beautiful flavour, but have you ever tried it as a drink? Rosemary has a unique, aromatic flavour that is very uplifting and also nice and warming for your body. A few slices of lemon really adds to the flavour and fresh taste of this tea.
Add 1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary and 3 slices of lemon to 2 cups of boiling water in a teapot and let it steep for 10 minutes.
Chai actually means “tea” but a common chai is the masala chai. Making this yourself at home not only tastes amazing but will also fill your home with the beautiful, aromatic scent of the herbs and spices in this tea. You can also control the sweetness as many prepacked “chai” that you can buy have added quite a bit of sugar.
You will need: 4 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 cardamom pods, ¼ teaspoon fresh, ground ginger, 2 tablespoons of black tea (or a teabag), 3 peppercorns, ½ cup of milk and 3 cups of water. In a mortar and pestle gentle crush the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom.
Add these herbs to a small saucepan, add water, pepper and ginger and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and let it steep for 5-10 minutes. Add the milk and bring to the boil, remove from the heat and add the tea. Allow this to steep for 3-5 minutes, strain and serve. You may add honey to sweeten if need be.
Herbs and spices are such a great way to add flavour and help improve the feelings of warmth this winter. Personal taste is key, so go through your herbs and spices and try mixing up your regular drinks to spice things up a little.