Hot drinks for cold nights

Try a new festive drink to keep you warm at the holidays.


As the temperatures drop and autumn takes hold of us, we start craving warmer drinks that soothe, comfort, and wrap us in their warmth. Winter in New England will soon arrive, so I’m making a list and checking it twice, with the ingredients I need to have on hand to always be at the ready to whip up a warm beverage to take the chill off.

Superfood Hot Cocoa with Coconut Fluff
A creamy, dairy-free potion that will fortify your immune system, all while warming you up from head to toes! 

Starting with a non-dairy cashew beverage, this is a simple vegan hot cocoa that will be loved by the masses. Cashews are packed with selenium and magnesium, two nutrients I try to get daily since they are great for relaxing and stress relief. Organic cocoa powder is also packed with magnesium, continuing on that stress-free life goal, but fabulous for lifting your mood, and some say it works as an antidepressant, even! Spices, starting with turmeric and its anti-inflammatory properties (the black pepper is used to activate the turmeric, so don’t skip it!); cardamom, which is in the ginger family and also helps with settling your stomach after a big meal; nutmeg, an all-star spice that for generations has been used to treat insomnia; and ginger, another anti-inflammatory and tummy-friendly spice.

1 can full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
1 quart nondairy milk, like coconut, cashew, or oat
2 Tbsp. organic cocoa powder
1 tsp. each: ground ginger and ground turmeric
¼ tsp. each: black pepper, nutmeg, cardamom
2 Tbsp. honey, maple syrup, or cane sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch

Chill the can of coconut milk overnight.

In a saucepan, simmer the nondairy milk until warm, and add cocoa powder, spices, and sugar. Whisk and bring to a slow simmer.

Remove ¼ cup of the liquid, and in a small cup, dissolve the cornstarch in this. Pour it back in and whisk vigorously until creamy.

Serve hot in mugs — to make coconut whipped cream, remove the top, solidified coconut milk and whisk with a blender, food processor, or immersion blender until fluffy.

Top hot cocoa with coconut whipped cream and enjoy!

Brown Sugar Sage Latte
Inspired by my mother, who uses sage like it’s going out of style. She brews it for tea, drops in fresh sage leaves when she cooks rice, and even makes a face toner infusing sage and lavender leaves in water. Sage is an outstanding memory enhancer, as well as a great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, so as you sip on your Sage Latte, not only will you be enjoying the great flavor, but also tons of health benefits.

¾ cup milk
1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 fresh sage leaves, plus one for garnish
⅛ tsp. cardamom
½ cup strong coffee, or 1 shot espresso
whipped cream, to top
In a small pot, steep milk, sugar, two sage leaves, and cardamom for 10 minutes over medium heat.
Brew a strong coffee or espresso.
To serve, pour coffee in a cup, top with strained milk and whipped cream.
Sprinkle brown sugar and decorate with remaining sage leaf on top.

Ponche Navideño (Dominican Eggnog) 
A recipe that’s been a decade in the making, tried and tested by my own mother, this Dominican eggnog will become your go-to eggnog recipe during the holiday season! This eggnog was made only during the holiday season when I was growing up, so it was always a special treat. It’s not too boozy — just boozy enough — but you can definitely make it without the booze for a nonalcoholic version. It only gets better with age.

1 cup granulated sugar
1½ cups water
1 cinnamon stick
4 large egg yolks
½ cup spiced rum
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
¼ cup brandy

Place the sugar, water, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan, and cook until sugar is completely dissolved and a syrup forms.

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, place egg yolks in a bowl with spiced rum and vanilla extract. Whisk for 5 minutes until frothy.

Drizzle in quickly the hot sugar syrup (remove the cinnamon stick before adding), and whisk on medium-high for another 5 minutes.

Add the condensed and evaporated milk, as well as the brandy. Whisk until incorporated.

Strain into a bowl and refrigerate until chilled. Transfer to an airtight glass bottle and serve. Keeps for up to a month in the refrigerator.

Turmeric White Hot Chocolate
Make a different type of hot chocolate this season by using white chocolate and vibrant turmeric to amp up the flavor. A hint of cardamom and a natural sweetener like honey or agave make this a unique hot chocolate recipe you’ll keep coming back to. 

8 ounces milk of choice
1 tsp. ground turmeric
4 pods green cardamom, crushed
2 Tbsp. agave, honey, or maple syrup
2 Tbsp. white chocolate chips
To serve: whipped cream

Bring the milk to a simmer, and whisk in the turmeric, cardamom, agave, and chocolate chips. Whisk until everything is melted, and strain. Top with whipped cream, extra chocolate chips, and a drizzle of agave, and serve.