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November 2016

Warm Drinks from Around the World to Cure the Winter Blues

Seven international hot drinks you need to try

Winter is coming. And while it may be cold outside, it doesn’t have to be chilly inside your corpus. The cold months of fall and winter are perfectly suited for imbibing hot, soothing drinks with family and friends. Today we’ll take a look at five hot drinks from around the world, perfect alternatives to coffee, hot chocolate, and egg nog to cure the winter blues.

Masala Chai (India)

First of all, chai already means "tea", so saying "chai tea" would be redundant. This popular spiced tea is already popular around the world, available at global cafes such as Starbucks. Masala chai (or "spiced tea") is made with a base of strong, black tea. It's steeped in hot milk and flavored with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and peppercorns. Other notable additions include star anise, vanilla, and nutmeg. The smooth and spicy flavor of masala chai makes it perfect for winter months, particularly during the holidays. In India, the opposite is true: the country's national drink triggers natural cooling mechanisms within the body to fight off the heat.

Anijsmelk (Holland)

The Dutch ought to know a thing or two about staying warm in the cold months. Anijsmelk is made with hot milk, anise, and sugar. This soothing drink can be conveniently made with anijs blokjes, anise sugar cubes that can be dissolved in warm milk. All it takes is a stir to concoct this comforting drink that's known to aid sleep and soothe stomachs.

Dou Jiang (China)

Dou jiang, the Mandarin term for soymilk, has been popular in China since the 1800s, and its use dates back even further. Unlike Western soymilk, dou jiang isn't watered down to resemble milk, thus it retains much of the strong flavor of the soybeans. It's smooth and almost creamy, making it especially soothing served hot. Add some sugar for sweetness and some ginger for spice, and you've got a great winter-weather drink.

Yak Butter Tea (Himalayas)

Those residing in the Himalayan regions of India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet have been drinking yak butter tea for centuries. It's pretty self-explanatory: a black tea base is combined with yak butter, creating a creamy drink. Utilizing butter for hot drinks is becoming popular in other countries as well, as there have a been a number of new cafes serving buttered coffee in Western countries. Butter enthusiasts proclaim that the addition of high-quality butter adds many nutritional benefits to the drinks, great flavor aside.

Agua Dolce (Costa Rica)

Agua Dolce simply means "sweet water". This no-nonsense cold weather tonic is made with pure cane sugar dissolved into hot water. It’s a popular drink for all of the country’s inhabitants, from kids to farmers, and is often served during breakfast. Costa Rica doesn’t really have a winter, so it would only be suitable to call it a “wintery drink” elsewhere.

Salep (Turkey)

When the tubers of the orchid genus Orchis are ground down, it forms a flour known as salep (or sahlap). Popular in Turkey even before the emergence of coffee and tea, the salep powder is mixed with water to form a thick liquid, further flavored with orange or rose water. Today, it's mixed also with milk, sugar, and cinnamon, and the flour itself is often used in Turkish ice cream, dondurma, the stretchy frozen delight served throughout cities like Istanbul.

Hot Toddy (Ireland)

What list of soothing warm drinks is complete without a mention of the hot toddy? This everyperson's winter drink is made with affordable whiskey (the stronger the better), cloves, and brown sugar. The cloves are pressed into the rind of lemon slices to facilitate consumption. The spice and zest of this drink, with the whiskey of course, make the hot toddy a favorite around the world for warming up (preferably not during breakfast).

What are your favorite cold-weather drinks? What does your country drink to warm up? Let us know on Facebook and “like” our page for more articles on culture from around the world!

Picture: (c) Fotolia, karepa