Favourite fall beverages and some new players
By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor
‘Tis the season: mornings filled with fog, days covered in crunchy, multicoloured leaves, and nights under spooky full moons. Even the dollar store has a Christmas display nestled next to their tacky Halloween decorations. October is officially the start of the holiday season, and with that, I bring you a round-up of autumn’s best hot and spiced beverages. The following five drinks are perfect for sipping with your sweetie after a hockey game, or for enjoying solo over a good book, preferably in some kind of bay window seat.
Mulled cider: Hot apple cider is great for two reasons: one, it tastes amazing, like literally biting into an autumn carnival; and two, simmering the cider with your spices and cinnamon sticks in a pot on the stove will fill your house with the delightful scents of the season. It’s better than any scented candle. To make mulled apple cider, just get the regular, non-alcoholic variety from the store. Also pick up a packet of mulling spices—you could make your own, but it’s so much easier to buy the premixed kind. Simmer the juice with the spices in a big pot on the stove, and enjoy.
Mulled wine: Apple cider’s sassier older cousin, mulled red wine, is always a hit at parties. You can use the same spice mix as above. I also recommend using a cheap, dry wine with this drink, because the mulling process will make anything taste good. Adding some citrus notes to this is a must, which is why I recommend a few ounces of Triple Sec and some sliced oranges. You can also add cranberry juice cocktail with some real cranberries floating on top. Think Christmas sangria. This drink will get everyone feeling festive.
Hot milky chai: Easier to make than you’d think, you can forgo the saccharine store-bought chai mixes this year in favour of this super simple, spiced milk recipe. You’ll need: 2 black tea bags; a cup of milk; a cup of water; 4 cardamom seeds; 4 cloves; 1 cinnamon stick; 1/2 inch of fresh ginger, sliced; sugar to taste. Smash the spices with a mortar and pestle, or just a Ziploc bag and a hammer. Then mix all the ingredients except the tea bags in a sauce pan. Bring it to a boil, add the tea bags, cover, and let steep for ten or so minutes—then enjoy!
Hot toddy: Put simply, a hot toddy is any drink that mixes booze with water and spices. It’s sure to warm you up from head to toe, and then put you to sleep. That’s why it’s fantastic for the season: it’ll get you your sick rest better than NeoCitran; alternatively, if you’re in good health and looking to party, it will get you just as rowdy as a winter ale, and considerably warmer. The Scottish make a traditional hot toddy with whiskey, boiling water, and sugar, sometimes with added lemon, cinnamon, or cloves.
Hot chocolate: Last but not least, the most traditional drink of the fall season. Since we all have a pretty good idea of how to make hot chocolate (mix a Carnation powder packet with water), I’ll offer you some unique twists on this timeless classic. First, the ooey-gooey version: make your hot cocoa however you like it, then add some toasted marshmallows. Toast them at home by placing large marshmallows under your stove’s broiler, or your toaster oven’s broiler setting, for about 30 seconds. Extra sugary yumminess! The second variation involves the always popular combination of heat and sweet. Simply mix your cocoa with a pinch of ground chipotle chilli pepper and a pinch of ground cinnamon. Top with whipped cream and enjoy as the spices bring out the rich chocolate flavour.