The moment the weather turns chilly, it seems the holiday season is fast approaching. 2018 is no different. And what goes great with the holidays? Spiced holiday drinks!
They’re perfect to enjoy while sitting by a fireplace, warming your toes, and toasting your friends and family.
But, the problem with most holiday beverages is that they’re loaded with heavy cream and tablespoons of sugar.
It’s hard to have control over holiday cocktails if you’re out on the town or at someone else’s home. It’s easy to overindulge.
However, you don’t have to give up on festive drinks. It just takes a little planning. If you’re not in control of the 2018 party schedule, make your own holiday cocktails and take them with you. Not only will you be helping out your host, but you’ll also be assured of some healthy choices.
The best holiday drinks are spiced holiday drinks because you get to utilize all of those delicious spices that reign over the festive season. And the spices you use don’t just smell and taste divine – they also have incredible health benefits.
Here are four deliciously spiced holiday drinks to get you started for the 2018 holiday season and a little background on each magnificent spice you’ll be using to make them.
Spiced Holiday Drinks 2018: The Starring Spices
Cinnamon has more antioxidants than the blueberry! These antioxidants can help protect your cells, keeping you feeling young, healthy, and vibrant as the years go by.1
Ginger has shown great potential in helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. In one study, 2 grams of ginger powder per day lowered fasting blood sugar significantly – which can help give you steady energy throughout the day!2
Nutmeg and nutmeg oil has been used in folk medicine for centuries to help relieve both digestive problems and nervous disorders.3
Cloves have shown evidence of a natural analgesic effect (especially on toothache), due to a compound called eugenol.4
Allspice has a long folk history, like nutmeg. For instance, Jamaicans have long used it for upset stomachs; the Guatemalans for sore muscles; and in Indian Ayurvedic medicine it’s used for toothaches. Like cloves, Allspice also contains eugenol.5
Mint isn’t actually a spice, it’s an herb, but it deserves a place on this star list. Now, mint may not actually clear your sinuses, but research suggests that the menthol in mint can stimulate cold receptors – which, in turn, gives the sensation of a clearer nose and wider nasal passages.6
Now that you know what’s on tap, let’s get to mixing!
Festively Hot Drinks
The Best Pumpkin Spice Latte
One of the season’s hippest spiced holiday drinks is, of course, the pumpkin spice latte. But too often, it’s loaded with heavy, fattening whipped cream, and the pumpkin spice flavor isn’t authentic.
As it turns out, true pumpkin spice is a mix of several different aromatic spices – and it’s an easy enough mix that you can make it right at home.
So, skip the store-bought concoctions, and make your own. That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting in your spiced latte!
Pumpkin Spice Ingredients
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground Allspice
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cloves
Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe
- 1 cup of milk (or unsweetened, non-dairy alternative)
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
- ½ teaspoon homemade pumpkin spice, plus more for topping
- ¾ cup hot coffee
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add milk and pumpkin to a saucepan. Heat on medium-low, stirring constantly.
- Once the mixture begins to simmer, add pumpkin spice. Whisk until frothy.
- Pour coffee into your mug, then pour the spiced milk mixture over the top.
- Garnish with a little more pumpkin spice mix.
Note: You can add some Stevia if you feel you need to up the sweetness slightly.
Natural Minty Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate is a wonderful cold weather alternative to coffee. This minty hot chocolate is perfect for the holiday festivities, with its minty taste of candy canes.
Now, hot chocolate is often served up with lashings of whipped cream and sugar. The secret to making it healthier is to get back to basics. And, that means no unnecessary cream and definitely no flavored syrups. The best recipe – this recipe! – uses fresh mint leaves. And the best part? You won’t miss out on any of the flavors!
Minty Hot Chocolate Recipe
- 1 cup milk (or unsweetened, non-dairy milk)
- 5 mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder, unsweetened
- Stevia, or maple syrup to sweeten, if needed
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan on medium-low heat.
- When it almost starts to boil, add cacao powder and mint leaves.
- Stir until combined.
Note: You can strain out the leaves or leave them in for an extra touch of mintiness.
Festively Chill Drinks
Healthy Spiced Eggnog
Eggnog is beloved among spiced holiday cocktails, and rightly so, but it’s traditionally made with refined sugar, alcohol, and loads of heavy cream. The secret to making the best eggnog is to stick to a lower fat milk, switch sugar for honey or agave, go non-alcoholic, and utilize portion control. That means treat yourself to just a single glass of this delicious nog, which utilizes some of the best holiday spices.
Healthy Spiced Eggnog Recipe
- 6 egg yolks
- 4 cups low-fat milk (or unsweetened almond or coconut milk)
- ⅔ cup agave (or honey, or maple syrup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for garnish
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg, plus extra for garnish
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- Blend all ingredients, except vanilla, in a blender. Pour mixture into saucepan and heat. Cook the eggnog on medium heat for around 10-15 minutes. Once it starts to thicken, add vanilla.
- Place the eggnog in the fridge in an airtight container to chill for at least 6-8 hours. Sprinkle extra cinnamon and nutmeg on top before serving.
Note: If you do choose to spike your “nog,” think brown spirits, like bourbon, brandy, or rum. Add a half cup to the mixture prior to blending.
Spiced Apple Cider
A chill take on the ever-popular hot apple cider, this holiday cocktail is often made with spiced rum, but it can also be served as a non-alcoholic treat. The secret lies in the toasted spices, which will provide a festive flavor. It’s among the best spiced holiday drinks, even without the rum.
Spiced Apple Cider Recipe
- 4 cups unsweetened apple cider
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 whole star anise
- Freshly squeezed juice of one orange
- Optional: ½ cup spiced or dark rum
- Lightly toast the cloves, cinnamon sticks, and star anise in a saucepan over medium heat for about 2 minutes. This brings out the flavor and fragrance.
- Pour the orange juice and apple cider into the pan.
- Bring the mixture to a low simmer, then turn off the heat, and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Strain and cool completely. Stir in the rum if using.
Spiced Holiday Drinks: Cheers to You, 2018!
When you look at the incredible health benefits that come with these tasty spices, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been using them in your cooking more often. And, the brilliance of spices is that they’re suited to all kinds of food and drink – from sweet to savory.
So, naturally, the best way to embrace the festive season is with some healthy spiced holiday drinks. Here’s a toast to a year well done!
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