Christmas in a Mug: Turn Winter Treats into Warming Drinks

Tea and coffee are often our go-to beverages for warming up during the colder winter months.

But do you sometimes crave something new? With a fancy flavor? And a different consistency?

 Warm up by the fire with three toasty drinks that are perfect for the Christmas season. We share the recipes:

Maybe something homemade that’s free of artificial ingredients, rather than the usual concoctions made with mass-produced instant mixes?

If that’s the case, then these warming blended drinks are for you. With warming wintry spices like cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla, roasted almonds, baked apples, roasted chestnuts and chocolate, these drinks provide the same cozy feeling and feature the same flavors as your favorite holiday treats.

Speaking of all of those flavorful, warming spices – maybe your spice rack could use some sprucing up at this time of year? Check out Foodal’s review of the best models on the market.

Three Drinks to Warm Up in the Wintertime |

These blended beverages are alcohol free, and they can be prepared with non-dairy milk or yogurt, according to your preference.

If you’re looking for a pleasant alternative to coffee or tea on a cold winter’s day, grab your blender or food processor and prepare these delightful new drinks. Just remember – hot drinks splatter easily, so blend with caution!

Each recipe makes two 8-ounce servings, but they can easily be doubled or tripled for a bigger batch.

Roasted Almond Milk

Roasted almonds are a classic treat that you’ll find in Christmas markets here in Germany. But they can be bought in the grocery stores as well, or even made at home.

Roasted and Candied Almond Milk |

Their crackly texture and nutty taste is truly tempting. For this drink, they are blended with milk. Almond milk would make a nice alternative, if you are lactose intolerant.

Finally, a crown of cinnamon cream tops this sweet and rich winter drink. For a dairy-free version, try topping with homemade coconut-based whipped cream instead.

For this recipe, using a food processor works the best but a good quality blender will work in a pinch.

Make Roasted Almond Milk at Home |

Roasted Almond Milk – Get the Recipe Now

Baked Apple Smoothie

Baked apples are a wonderful dish that’s very versatile. They can be filled with so many different ingredients, like raisins, marzipan, almonds, and warming winter spices.

Baked apples aren't just for dessert anymore! Turn this cool-weather classic into a delicious beverage that's perfect for serving first thing in the morning, or after the holiday meal:

Maybe you’ve never thought to turn this wintertime goodie into a drink before. But now’s your chance!

You can choose whatever spices you like. A combination of cinnamon, ginger, and real vanilla is super yummy.

Recipe for Our Favorite Apple Smoothie with Winter Spices |

Baked Apple Smoothie – Get the Recipe Now

Chestnut Hot Chocolate

Roasted chestnuts are a true revelation. Believe it or not, they too can be turned into a delightful drink.

(Editor’s note: if you are having trouble finding fresh chestnuts, try your local Asian supermarket).

Blended with vanilla and cinnamon, this is truly the taste of the holidays.

Homemade Chestnut Hot Chocolate Recipe |

By adding just a little bit of chocolate to the milk, this drink becomes impossible to resist.

And to top it off? A few homemade mini marshmallows make this the perfect cup of hot chocolate. Or you could use peppermint marshmallows flavored with candy canes for the ultimate winter themed treat.

Sometimes I switch out the dark version for hazelnut nougat filled chocolate, which is popular here in Germany. It’s a delicious alternative that’s a little sweeter, with even more nuttiness!

Recipe for the Best Chestnut Hot Chocolate |

Chestnut Hot Chocolate – Get the Recipe Now

Homemade Holiday Sips

We hope you will try something new this holiday season, and make a mug of a new twist on an old favorite this holiday season. Who knows? Maybe one of our selections will become a new Christmastime tradition in your home.

What’s your favorite wintertime drink? Tell us in the comments below!

Chestnut Hot Chocolate photos by Kendall Vanderslice, Roasted Almond Milk and Baked Apple Smoothie photos by Nina-Kristin Isensee, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally posted December 12, 2015. Revised and updated December 24, 2016.

About Nina-Kristin Isensee

Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.

32 thoughts on “Christmas in a Mug: Turn Winter Treats into Warming Drinks”

  1. I had no idea I could make these drinks at home. Not only do I now know new recipe that I can make with my family, but I am also saving cash while feeling good about having a delicious but healthy snack at the same time. They are easy to prepare, and use great but easy to get ingredients that make my whole house smell like Christmas. I especially liked the chestnut hot chocolate, and highly recommend it with a small plate of hot cookies. It makes me feel happy and warm every time.

    • Oh yes, is there anything better than hot chocolate and fresh cookies? 🙂 It is always so relaxing! I hope you have fun trying out the different drinks at home and enjoy them with your friends or family.

  2. I love it! These look so delicious, especially the chestnut chocolate. I would love to try these. I don’t really know where I can find chestnuts but I will look around. I will probably have to look for a specialty store. Thanks.

    • You should be lucky finding them in a specialty store. Make sure they are pre-cooked, otherwise you have to do this on your own before using. It might be a more expensive ingredient than the rest, but they provide a great flavor for the drink.

  3. As someone bored of eggnog and hot chocolate, these drinks seem really great to warm yourself up on a cold winter day. I think all of them could do with a stick of cinnamon for added spice. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I will definitely try a couple of these recipes out this Holiday season. I have become such a eggnog only person. I think this would really be a good change for our party this year. I am wondering how well vodka is going to mix with some of these flavors. I think besides the hot chocolate all will work out fine! Being a health nut also, I love the focus on using pure ingredients. I will let you guys know how it goes. Cheers!!

    • I can imagine vodka could be a nice addition to the first two drinks. I haven’t tried it yet, but why not? One could think of other liqueurs to try, too. So feel free to share your vodka-infused experience, as well. Enjoy!

  5. Thank you so much for the tips, I’ve been looking for worthy alternatives to traditional hot chocolate, and I love warm drinks during the holidays. I will definitely be trying out the apple smoothie with cinnamon!

  6. I know it’s called chestnut hot chocolate, but is there any alternatives to chestnuts? For example almonds or nuts? They are hard to come by and pretty expensive where I live.

    • Well, I haven’t tried almonds or maybe walnuts, but it might be worth a try. After all, they would work great together with the other flavors.
      I’m just not so sure about the consistency, if they will combine to a smooth drink so well, but with some throroughly mixing, it should work.
      But I’m thinking if one may add a banana in the end, or few dried dates. But that is just a thought. You can definitely try it with the almonds, maybe one serving first, and see if it fits your taste. But I think you should be fine.

  7. That baked apple smoothie! It looks so delicious! Looks like a taste of pie in a cup. Trying this one. I can also tell myself that it’s healthy cause it has apples in it 😉 .

  8. All of those look awesome and extremely delicious! My favorite one is the baked apple smoothie.
    I love apple and cinnamon so much – they are a match made in heaven! I never disliked anything that had this taste.
    I’m also curious about chestnut hot chocolate, though this seems a little bit hard to make (at least for me).

    • Thanks, I agree with you that apples and cinnamon are somehow created to be together. Do you think the chocolate is difficult because of the chestnuts? Some comments above, I suggested to tangerinakid some possible alternatives one could try. Or you keep it simple and just make a spiced hot chocolate. It will still have a nice twist of flavors. Either way, enjoy the baked apple smoothie first 🙂

  9. I am so glad I found this article and so excited to try these holiday drinks! These beverages will be great to serve when we have friends and family over during the holiday season. I can’t wait to try the Baked Apple Smoothie. I love baked apple cobbler after being outside on a cold day, so a hot apple smoothie will be even better!

  10. Hey! I’m drooling over here! I’m making these amazing recipes ASAP! I can already imagine myself sitting in front of the fireplace on Christmas morning with a cup of chestnut hot chocolate, a baked apple smoothie for the afternoon, and a cup of roasted almond milk at night. Yumm Yumm! I ‘m already feeling warm inside just by thinking about these tasty looking drinks! Thanks for such great recipes!

    • Well, I call that a perfect menu on a winter’s day! 😀 I hope you have fun preparing them and – of course – enjoy their flavor throughout the whole day.

  11. Roasting chestnuts on the fire is not a Christmas tradition down here in Australia (largely because we wouldn’t want to sit around a fire in the middle of summer!) but that walnut drink sound yummy, especially with some chocolate added. Of course, to me is would be a nice winter drink rather than trying to link it with Christmas so not having it until July is fine!

    • I agree with you that this probably isn’t an Australian thing to do, I spent one Christmas in Down Under several years ago and I wouldn’t want to have such a wintry and hot drink either. (Back at home, I caught up on the hot drink tradition in the cold winter, obviously 😉 ) You could try to have an iced-apple smoothie, this might be worth a try. Or you keep waiting and enjoy them when the time is ready for you, either way, enjoy the holidays!

  12. Wow! Those look so delicious!

    I want to try making one of those for my mom’s birthday tomorrow 🙂 I think she’ll love it!

    Any ideas where I might find cinnamon sticks though? 🙂

    • Thanks, I hope you were able to find some cinnamon sticks anywhere? Right now, here in Germany during Christmas time, I usually get them in bigger grocery stores or delicatessen shops. Or I order online a bunch of sticks and have some in stock whenever I need one.
      But if you can’t find it, don’t worry – just use some cinnamon powder and you’ll be fine, too! 🙂 Depending on your taste, maybe 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of ground spice.

  13. I adore hot chocolate and any varieties of it. It does take time to make a good hot drink, but the best part is that it does last long and if you dunk shortbread or cookies into it that’s when the thicker the drink the better. As someone who is lactose intolerant, almond milk has been a great alternative. I think flavoring it helps, especially with some dark chocolate.

    • I also enjoy almond milk regularly. Although I can tolerate smaller amount of cow’s milk, I like to use this variety quite often. It also provides some nice twist to the drink due to its nutty flavor. Together with some chocolate and other spices, it makes a perfect drink. Enjoy!

  14. I once made something close to the Chesnut hot choclate while trying out some new recipes. I then forgot how i ended up creating a drink that most of my family members liked. Every time they asked me how i did it i always had an excuse. I’m glad i have the recipe now and can boast about it.

    • I’m happy to hear that you found a new recipe for it in this article and I hope you and your family can enjoy it the same way. But I think it will turn out well, too. 🙂 Happy Holidays!

  15. These all sound so good I am lactose intolerant, so I use almond milk and soy milk a lot. The roasted almond and baked apple drinks sound especially yummy! I want to try them all!

  16. I’m really loving that pic with the gingerbread man. He looks so nice and cozy in that drink only to be eaten. I tend to drink almond milk for my cereal. I never thought to use it as a substitute for real milk when making recipes. The apple drink looks like something I can do. I really love apples and anything apple related.

    • I think so, too. He looks quite relaxed without knowing what’s going to happen to him, doesn’t he? 😀
      I also use almond milk regularly, it has become the basis of my daily cereal bowl, too. It has less sugar than regular milk, but it still got a full and nice flavor. I hope you enjoy the drinks and keep warm with them.

  17. Gosh, there’s absolutely no hope of getting through the holidays without increasing ones’ weight significantly if we indulge in these little cups of joy, is there? They all sound, and look, delicious. The little gingerbread man is adorable!

    • I agree with you, I think there’s nothing that can be done about that 😉 I’m glad that you enjoy the recipes – and with adapting some of the spices – they even work wonderful beyond Christmas season too!

  18. One of the main reasons why I love christmas time is that cozy feeling that you get on those days, especially while you’re drinking really hot drinks and spending time with your family… I want christmas now! Have you tried mexican christmas punch? it’s my favorite every year and it’s really easy to make, here’s a link for the recipe if some of you are interested, you’ll not regret this.
    But I guess that is not a bad thing to try and make new traditions, I’ll try the almond milk one of these days.

    • I totally agree with you about that feeling!
      I haven’t had this mexican drink before, but I saved the link – it sounds really delicious and I would love to try it when it gets colder 🙂 I just have to make sure where to find all the ingredients. Some of them are hard to find around here. But I’m sure I’ll find my way through some specialty stores for this!
      Enjoy the almond milk!

  19. These all look really nice! I want to try the baked apple smoothie. I’d never heard of using apples this way, and it’s a nice idea. I also like the chestnut hot chocolate. It sounds like a nice addition. Here in California, we have a version of the almond milk drink. Ours is called horchata. It originated in Mexico, and it’s served cold. I’m sure if I told people that I was making a kind of hot horchata, they’d look at me funny, but it does look really, really good.


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