Extending The Holiday Cheer: Five Winter Drinks I Always Look Forward To

A little while back I looked into some of my favorite homemade drinks. Now it’s time to talk about what gets me giddy when I stop by a cafe in the heart of winter.

It hasn’t been snowing much in Washington (that’s a score for me and a negative digit for global warming). That hasn’t stopped me from supplementing my chilly days with some delicious drinks. I’ve talked in the past about how our favorite type of coffee, tea or cider reflects our character. My sweet tooth and persnickety personality come in full force as I’m musing over what to get at a Starbucks. …Or a locally owned cafe. Or a Thomas Hammer.

Or or or. If they’ve got the good stuff, consider any hardships I’ve been stewing over just dust in the wind.

…and, yes, these are all decaf!

hot chocolate preview

1. White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha: This is about as Christmas as it gets. I’m not too crazy about mint as a flavor — I usually keep it to toothpaste and gum — but a little peppermint with chocolate goes down easy. Top it off with a dollop of fluffy whipped cream and you have one happy customer. I can also see why this is popular on a visual level, too — the smooth cream and beige acts the part of a canvas, making the sprinkled chocolate, peppermint, or cinnamon on top stand out even more.

2. White Hot Chocolate With Hazelnut: We’re not done riding this hot chocolate train yet. I had this all the time back when I worked as a part-time barista at a movie theater. It’s such a delicate and nutty finish on top of an already tasty drink. You can take this airy flavor and texture even further by making a hazelnut white hot chocolate ‘cappuccino’-like creation or just dollop some flavoring into your usual mocha.

3. Sea Salt Caramel Mocha: Want to get on my good side? Give me anything with sea salt caramel. I’d happily be paid in it, that’s how much I can’t get enough of this stuff. Sticking it in a drink is just a natural evolution, particularly when there’s a dusting of salt on the very top. When it comes to sea salt caramel flavored things, though, like tea or cereal…it gets a little more unreliable. I don’t know, it just tends to taste a little weird! Sometimes you just have to go straight for the real deal (a logic that, interestingly enough, doesn’t apply to popcorn flavored jellybeans).

4. Vanilla Bean Frappuccino: While I normally get this in the summer, I have absolutely no willpower when I spot it on the menu. There’s a reason vanilla is one of the most popular flavors of ice cream and coffee creamer in the West! It’s just light enough to keep from being too sugary, with a unique flavor that can’t be topped. This is good with or without whip cream (though if you’re going to pick that post-holiday diet back up again, skip the whip).

5. Pumpkin Spice Latte: Come on, it’s a classic for a reason! The subtle spice mixed with hearty coffee (preferably dark, but beggers can’t be choosers) contrasts just so nicely with the chill in the air. Sprinkle on a little cinnamon or mix in some brown sugar to bring it just that much closer to true perfection. While I’m a fan of eggnog, pumpkin spice beat out the eggnog latte on this list because of the simple fact espresso just doesn’t balance out the flavor for me. Maybe next time, you almost-perfect drink!

vanilla orange

What about you? Do you get coffee daily or save it for a rare treat?

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