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Travel-inspired Hot Drinks

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Feeling the cold? Warm the winter  chills with these delicious hot drinks, inspired by my favourite beverages from Asia, Middle East and Europe.  They will keep you warm and cosy in the cold winter months and are easy to make at home, so let’s get started!

Cioccolata Calda

If you grew up outside of Italy, the Italian-style hot chocolate is most likely different from what you’re used to. The best way to describe it is that it’s more…chocolatey! Cioccolata calda has a custard-like consistency and it’s thick enough to be eaten with a spoon.

To make two servings, you’ll need:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 120g dark chocolate with 60-70% cacao
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 20g cornstarch (adjust the amount depending on how thick you want your chocolate)
  • Sugar to taste

Preparation:

First, break the chocolate into small pieces. Microwave it or heat it up in a small pan until melted. Pour milk into a separate pan, add corn starch and cocoa powder while stirring continuously. Once the milk is about to boil, mix in sugar and chocolate. Continue stirring for another minute or two. Enjoy!

Masala Chai

I fell in love with masala chai during my travels in India. Now one of my old time autumn and winter favourites, this milk tea with hints of cinnamon, cardamon and cloves is guaranteed to keep you warm on the cold  winter days.

You’ll need:

  • 1-2 teaspoon of loose black tea, like Assam or Darjeeling
  • 3/4 cup of whole milk or to taste, depending on the method
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • A bit of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • Half a teaspoon of ground cardamon
  • 2-3 cloves
  • Sugar or honey to taste
  • 1 bay leaf

Preparation:

Place water and spices in a pot and bring to boil. Add tea and continue to boil for another 2-3 minutes. The longer you boil the tea, the stronger the flavour. You can either add milk while the tea is boiling, or once served. Strain the mixture into a mug and voila – your masala chai is ready!

Caffee Lao

A steamy cup of coffee is a great pick me up on a dark winter morning, but have you ever heard about caffee Lao? Popular in Laos, this deliciously sweet and creamy coffee is served  with condensed milk instead of regular milk and sugar. It will taste best when made with grounded coffee – add a bit of condensed milk before serving and enjoy!

Sahlab 

travel inspired hot drinks, sahlab

Photo credit: http://taghzya.com

Ditch your pumpkin spiced latte for this yummy milk drink topped with cinnamon and coconut flakes.  Sahleb is a popular winter drink in the Middle East, Egypt and Turkey, and its main ingredient is salep (dried and powdered orchid root).  Salep powder isn’t easy to find if you live outside of these areas, so you can replace it with corn starch.

You will need:

  • 1.5 tablespoons of salep powder or 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 4 cups of milk
  • Sugar to taste
  • Finely chopped pistachios, ground cinnamon and/or coconut flakes for garnish.

Preparation:

Mix the salep powder/ cornstarch with a bit of milk.  Bring  the rest of the milk to boil, then reduce the heat and pour in the salep/cornstarch mixture while stirring continuously. Continue to stir while cooking on a low heat for about 10min until it thickens, then add sugar. Serve hot and garnish with chopped pistachios, cinnamon or coconut flakes. Enjoy!

Mulled Beer

Yup, it’s not just mulled wine that makes a perfect Christmas drink! Mulled beer is popular in Eastern and certain parts of Western Europe. Traditionally made with cloves and raspberry syrup, mulled beer is perfect for warming up those frosty winter evenings. It’s usually drank at pubs or Christmas markets, but it’s also extremely easy to make at home so let’s get cooking!

All you’ll need is:

  • 1 can or bottle of beer
  • 1-2 spoons of raspberry syrup
  • 2-3 cloves

Optional:

  • a pinch of ground cinnamon
  • orange skin

Preparation:

Mix the ingredients together and cook on a medium heat without bringing the mixture to boil. If you mixed in the orange skin, put the beer through a straighter before serving.  And that’s it, time to enjoy your mulled beer! Mmm…

What’s your favourite winter drink? Let me know in the comments below!

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2 Comments

  1. Luco says

    Got 2 out of 5 from the list (does Masala Chai at an Indian restaurant in Italy still count? :P)

    I’d like to try the mulled beer even though I’m not a huge fan of mulled wine.

    • A Girl Who Travels says

      Haha, sure it counts! Mulled beer is delicious, you should definitely give it a try it a try.

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