Cozy Drinks from Around the Globe to Keep You Warm this Long Winter

The cold and snowy weather season has officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere! Before you venture out for a little cross country skiing or sledding, peruse our top picks for tasty dessert beverages to warm you up after an icy outdoor adventure. 

We feverishly scoured the internet to find the best simple recipes and historical factoids of our favorite beverages from the farthest reaches of our planet to comfort you throughout the glacial months ahead. 

These delights will not only warm your soul but add supplemental nourishment from vitamin-filled all-natural ingredients. We are excited!

Sahlab-Middle East

Sahlab, a tasty drink prepared from orchid flour, is not only a favored drink throughout the modern-day Middle East, but the Ancient Romans used orchid bulbs in drinks because of their perceived aphrodisiac qualities.   

Throughout the Ottoman Empire's lands, including Greece, Sahlab, or the Turkish pronunciation, Salep was also commonly consumed for breakfast due to its substantial consistency. 

Unfortunately, due to orchids over-harvesting, Sahlab powder is challenging to find, with cornstarch used as a viable replacement. Our recipe contains both options for convenience.  

Makes 4 Cups

Total Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

4 cups of whole milk

3.5 tablespoons cornstarch or sahlab powder if available

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 

Sugar- desired sweetness

2 tablespoons of finely chopped walnuts or pistachios

¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon or nutmeg

Directions:

Put milk, cornstarch, sugar, and vanilla extract and beat with a whisk over medium heat, bring to a boil, let the mixture boil for 2 minutes while stirring or until thick and creamy.

Sprinkle cinnamon or nutmeg or choice of nuts on top and serve with your favorite biscuits.

Champurrado- Mexico

Ancient indigenous cultures did not consume alcohol as they thought it was evil and should only serve a medicinal need. People who suffered snake bites, pain, and other chronic illnesses were given alcohol to drink in low doses. 

Before the Spanish arrival, most drinks of the time were comprised of maize, maguey, cacao, and chia and flavored with fruits, vanilla, limes, and leaves. Nutrition and flavor were important considerations to the ancients Aztecs.

Champurrado has specific roots in Atole, a corn-based drink with lime. Milk and special Mexican chocolate used for baking were added to the Atole to create our modern-day Champurrado. Instead of classic hot chocolate, explore this inviting velvety chocolate delight that dates back to Mesoamerica.

Makes 8 Cups

Total Preparation Time: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients:

8 cups milk or water

5 oz. piloncillo or ½ cup of sugar

1 cinnamon stick

2 Mexican Chocolate 6.5 ounces

¾ cup of masa harina for thicker consistency add 2-4 more tablespoons

Directions:

Add 6 cups of water into a saucepan with piloncillo and cinnamon stick. Heat until it until the mixture starts to boil and then reduce heat. Allow the liquid to simmer for 10 minutes until the piloncillo melts. If you are using regular sugar, reduce that time to 4-5 minutes. 

Then add the Mexican chocolate and allow approximately 5 minutes to dissolve stirring occasionally. Pour the other 2 cups of milk into a bowl and mix in the masa harina. Use a whisk to break down clumps and ensure a creamy texture. 

When the chocolate has dissolved, pour in the masa harina slowly into the saucepan while stirring to make sure there are no clumps. Use a strainer if needed.  

We're almost there! Now, turn the heat to medium-high until Champurrado starts to boil. Then reduce heat and allow to simmer. In 6-8 minutes the Champurrado will begin to thicken. Cook for 5 more mins and then serve with pan or cookies! 

Api Morado-Bolivia

For something not so milk-based, let's visit the Andes mountains in the beautiful South American country of Bolivia for a vibrantly hued drink made from native purple corn. 

Although close to the equator, Bolivia is a primarily mountainous country with average temperatures hovering in the day to 60-80 degrees. Winter does bring snow to higher elevations and colder temperatures.

Api Morado, usually referred to as Api, is a favorite Andean morning breakfast staple for people living in the highlands. This delicious, sweet drink is filled with antioxidants and tastes even better when paired with fried puffed pastries, buñuelos, or empanadas.

Makes 8 Cups

Total Preparation Time: 35-45 minutes

Ingredients: 

2 cups of ground purple corn or purple cornflower

15 cups of water

2 sticks of cinnamon

5 cloves

Finely grated orange rind

Sugar-depends on desired sweetness

Directions:

OK, let's get started! If you decide to buy corn on the cob, the kernels must be removed from the cob and grounded down in a blender. Then soak the purple cornflour in 6 cups of water for about ½ hr.

Boil the remaining 9 cups of water with the cinnamon and cloves. After everything has been soaked and boiled, add the cornflour and orange rind to the 9 cups of cinnamon water.

Stir the blend until thick, and then add the desired amount of sugar. Serve this fantastic drink hot or cold and enjoy!

 Bajigur- West Java, Indonesia

Bajigur- West Java Indonesia 

Despite mostly warm weather, some mornings in Indonesia are cold. Before heading to work in the mornings, the Sundanese farmers of West Java, Indonesia, would drink hot palm sugar for warmth and boost their energy. For extra flavor, over time, people added new ingredients such as coconut milk.

Bajigur has earned more of a presence in the broader Indonesian culture. This former energy drink for farmers has made its way into cafes, restaurants, and vendor carts as a popular dessert drink. 

Makes 4 cups

Total Preparation Time: 30-40 mins

Ingredients:

5 cups coconut milk

6 oz of palm/brown sugar

1 oz roasted ginger peel and roast

3 pieces Pandan leaves

1 cinnamon stick

1 pinch salt

Directions:

Boil all ingredients together in a saucepan until it boils. Lower the heat and continue to cook until ingredients thicken. This yummy drink is best served warm with boiled peanuts, boiled cassava, or corn on the cob. 

Rather than reaching for a plain old coffee when the mercury starts to plummet in your town, keep these recipes handy for an immediate break from the cold.  With so many delicious beverage options from around the world, try something new weekly to find your favorite!

 

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