The 15 Best Warming Drinks to Sip and Savor this Winter

Simple teas and drip coffees are the most common go-to beverages for warming up during the colder winter months.

But do you crave something new? With more unique flavors and aromas? And maybe different consistencies?

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

Vertical image of a collage of assorted beverages with a label in the center.

If that’s the case, then these 15 warming drinks are for you!

With warming wintry spices like cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla, as well as robust flavors such as roasted almonds, baked apples, roasted chestnuts, and assorted chocolates – and some with a bit of booze splashed in for the adults! – these drinks offer the comfiest and coziest of experiences.

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.

If you’re looking for a pleasant beverage to sip and savor on a cold winter’s day or night, prepare one of these exciting drink ideas. Many of these recipes can easily be doubled or tripled for a bigger batch for a special holiday gathering.

Bring out your favorite mug – we’re ready to pour something delightful!

1. Affogato

You can give your typical espresso beverage a cool and creamy update with our recipe for an Italian affogato.

Horizontal top-down image of three glasses filled with affogato next to small cookies and coffee beans.
Photo credit: Nikki Cervone

As long as you own an espresso maker, you don’t need to visit your coffee shop to enjoy this sweet treat!

With only two ingredients, hot espresso and vanilla ice cream, this simple Italian beverage/dessert is quick and easy to make.

Just pour freshly pulled espresso on top of a cup filled with a scoop or two of ice cream, and serve as the ice cream melts into the hot beverage.

You can customize the ice cream to suit your current cravings or diet plans, even making your own from scratch! For some inspiration, try our recipes for 3-ingredient vanilla bean ice cream, vegan chocolate ice cream, or pumpkin cinnamon ice cream.

Read more now to learn how to make your own affogato at home.

2. Baked Apple Smoothie

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

Vertical image of part of a white smoothie in a glass with a cinnamon stick and apple slice garnish.
Photo credit: Nina-Kristin Isensee

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

You can choose whatever spices you like. A combination of cinnamon, ginger, and pure vanilla is our typical mix we enjoy.

Cozy up inside and make this recipe soon.

3. Caramel Apple Cider

A tasty choice for both the fall and winter seasons, try our homemade hot apple cider recipe.

Apple cider being poured into a large mason jar that already contains caramel sauce.
Photo credit: Raquel Smith

With this nearly effortless version, we bring out the slow cooker for a little help!

Just combine the ingredients in the appliance, and allow them to simmer slowly for eight hours.

When you’re ready to serve, just strain out the contents and pour into heatproof glasses or jars.

We choose to spiff it up with some homemade caramel sauce and a shot of bourbon for an extra fiery kick. And we also provide optional vegan ingredients.

Read more now.

4. Chestnut Hot Chocolate

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

Horizontal image of two clear glass mugs with handles, filled with homemade hot chocolate, on a gray surface with scattered pieces of a dark chocolate bar, whole roasted chestnuts, and mini marshmallows, with a white kitchen towel with red trim in the background in soft focus.
Photo credit: Meghan Yager

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.

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 a cool and refreshing winter themed treat.

Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy all winter season long.

5. Hot Chocolate

There’s always a time and a place for the classics!

Vertical image of a messy mug with a creamy dark brown beverage topped with marshmallows.
Photo credit: Nikki Cervone

Using a hefty 12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate for four drink servings, this homemade recipe for hot chocolate yields the smoothest and creamiest results.

It’s a thick and rich ode to the winter season!

We suggest using bittersweet bars that are between 60 to 75% cacao for deeper, more pronounced flavors. But if you prefer something sweeter, it’s easy to switch the bars with options that have a smaller percentage of cacao.

The kids will really enjoy milk chocolate!

Get the recipe now.

6. Hot Cocoa

Don’t want to be involved in too much prep work to make a warming beverage? Skip the hot chocolate, and choose to make our hot cocoa instead.

Vertical image of mugs filled with a chocolate-based beverage on plates dusted with powder.
Photo credit: Nikki Cervone

For a quick fix of a warm and sweet drink, you’ll love this easy and unfussy version. There’s no chopping chocolate bars here!

Our cocoa-based recipe is a simple mix of cocoa powder, milk, sugar, and vanilla heated together on the stovetop.

But the texture will still be so creamy and luscious – just you wait and see!

Read more now.

7. Indian Spiced Milk

This healthy and heart-warming concoction is both soothing and stimulating, as well as spicy and sweet.

Horizontal image of two glass mugs with handles filled with a bright orange mixture in front of a bowl with ground cinnamon.
Photo credit: Kelli McGrane

The medley of dried spices come together to make a treat that’s perfect for a bit of heat on a cold winter morning or night, while providing bountiful health benefits.

Infuse turmeric, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon in whole milk, and sweeten it lightly with raw honey to taste.

Learn how to make it now.

8. Irish Coffee

Have lots of fun sipping on a glass of our Irish coffee!

Horizontal image of two glasses filled with a dark brown beverage and whipped topping.
Photo credit: Nikki Cervone

Mix together strongly brewed coffee, even stronger Irish whiskey, and sweet brown sugar for an unforgettably powerful hot beverage.

And have you always wondered how bartenders get that perfectly neat line of cream on top of Irish coffees?

There’s no need to be jealous anymore! We’ll teach you how to expertly finish the mugs with lightly whipped cream. The technique is surprisingly easy.

Read more now to find illustrated step-by-step instructions.

9. Maple Ginger Tea Latte

Not really sure what else to do with a knob of ginger you bought days ago?

Horizontal image of two mugs on a wooden board filled with a foamy beverage next to sliced ginger.
Photo credit: Nikki Cervone

Don’t let your food go to waste – learn how to prepare our wonderfully aromatic maple ginger tea latte!

This easy homemade sipper is warm and foamy, a quick and simple infusion of chopped fresh ginger combined with just a little maple syrup and frothed hot milk.

Frothing the milk is optional – but we love the fun cloudlike garnish on top of each mug!

And for a double dose of gingery flavors, serve with our gluten-free soft ginger cookies on the side.

Here’s how you make it.

10. Mulled Apfelwein Bowle

Warm up with a big mug of Mulled Apfelwein Bowle, the ultimate beverage to have for a large and festive holiday party.

Two glass mugs of mulled apple cider punch, with cinnamon sticks for garnish, on a gathered blue table runner with a pattern of white spots, on a wood table and against a brown wood backdrop, with sliced and whole apples and plastic pumpkin decorations in the background.
Photo credit: Meghan Yager

The drink yields 12 servings, so be sure to invite a crowd of fun folks!

This is a combination of hard cider, spiced apple cider, brandy-soaked fruit, and warming spices – cozy comfort in a glass that is sure to impress all your guests.

Get the recipe now on Foodal.

11. Mulled Wine

There’s something magical that happens when freshly mulled wine fills your home with the most luxurious aromas…

Oblique shot of two glass mugs of mulled wine, on a red fabric surface with pine cones, citrus fruits, and whole cinnamon sticks.
Photo credit: Meghan Yager

You’ll want to cuddle up with a warm mug and a blanket and never leave home!

We use spices like cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, whole cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, and star anise. They all work well together with citrus and red wine – and heating everything on the stovetop brings out their natural flavors and scents even more.

Bring good tidings to friends and family with a gracious holiday gift of homemade mulled wine by assembling the dry mulling mix in jars, decorated with colorful bows and ribbons.

Discover all of our tips and tricks here.

12. Pharisäer Kaffee

Are you in charge of making drinks for a winter brunch gathering?

Vertical close-up image of a swirled foam on top of a glass mug with a little sugar sprinkled on top, on a wooden board.
Photo credit: Nikki Cervone

We have something fun and naughty to serve your friends:

Pharisäer Kaffee is a German-style coffee… mixed with rum!

It’s a North Frisian beverage crafted with strong coffee, turbinado sugar, a splash of dark rum, and freshly whipped cream thickly dolloped on top.

Read more now.

13. Roasted Almond Milk

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

Roasted and Candied Almond Milk | Foodal.com
Photo credit: Nina-Kristin Isensee

Their crackly texture and nutty taste are so tempting!

For this drink, they are blended with milk. Homemade almond milk would make a nice alternative, especially if you don’t consume dairy products.

Finally, a crown of delicate 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.

Learn how to make the recipe here.

14. Rüdesheimer Coffee

A drink with a literally fiery personality, our Rüdesheimer Coffee is a unique way to entertain when you’re hosting!

Vertical top-down image of a white mug filled with a Rudesheimer cocktail.
Photo credit: Nikki Cervone

This beverage has everything you could possibly hope for in a warm and boozy drink: brandy, hot coffee, whipped cream, and shaved chocolate.

But that’s not all…

For a wild and over-the-top presentation, light the liquor on fire to create flames in the mugs!

Learn how to do this safely with our help – get the recipe and detailed instructions now.

15. White Hot Chocolate

If you prefer to sip on something that is extra sweet, extra creamy, and extra special, look no further than our white hot chocolate!

Vertical top-down image of a mug of white hot chocolate beverage topped with whipped cream and candy shavings next to gray and checkerboard towels.
Photo credit: Nikki Cervone

The perfect option for anyone who needs to satisfy an unhinged sweet craving, this recipe will scratch that itch.

And the wintry white color scheme is also on point for the season!

Level up by serving it with freshly whipped cream and a beautiful blizzard of white chocolate shavings using a vegetable peeler.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Homemade Holiday Sips

We hope you will try something new this holiday season, and make a mug that offers a new twist on old favorites.

Who knows? Maybe one of our selections will become a new Christmastime tradition in your home.

What are your own wintertime drink specialties? Share your tried-and-true recipes in the comments below. We can’t wait to make another round of cozy beverages!

Horizontal image of a collage of assorted beverages, with a label in the center.

Let’s spread even more holiday cheer with other Christmas-themed goodies! Keep the season merry and bright by filling your home with food and drink from the following Foodal roundups:

Photos by Nikki Cervone, Kendall Vanderslice, Meghan Yager, Nina-Kristin Isensee, Raquel Smith, and Kelli McGrane, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on December 12, 2015 by Nina-Kristin Isensee. Last updated on December 16, 2023.

About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

32 thoughts on “The 15 Best Warming Drinks to Sip and Savor this Winter”

  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.

    Reply
    • Oh yes, is there anything better than hot chocolate and fresh cookies? ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  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!

    Reply
  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!!

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  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!

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ .

    Reply
  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).

    Reply
    • 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  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!

    Reply
  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!

    Reply
    • Well, I call that a perfect menu on a winter’s day! ๐Ÿ˜€ I hope you have fun preparing them and – of course – enjoy their flavor throughout the whole day.

      Reply
  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!

    Reply
    • 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) 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!

      Reply
  12. Wow! Those look so delicious!

    I want to try making one of those for my mom’s birthday tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚ I think she’ll love it!

    Any ideas where I might find cinnamon sticks though? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • 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! ๐Ÿ™‚ Depending on your taste, maybe 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of ground spice.

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Holidays!

      Reply
  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!

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • I think so, too. He looks quite relaxed without knowing what’s going to happen to him, doesn’t he? ๐Ÿ˜€
      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.

      Reply
  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!

    Reply
    • I agree with you, I think there’s nothing that can be done about that ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m glad that you enjoy the recipes – and with adapting some of the spices – they even work wonderful beyond Christmas season too!

      Reply
  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. http://www.themijachronicles.com/2010/12/how-to-make-ponche-the-traditional-mexican-christmas-punch/
    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.

    Reply
    • 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!

      Reply
  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.

    Reply

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