Hot Drinks for the Holidays

Hot Drinks for the Holidays


by Cathe Olson

Nothing’s better after an afternoon of sledding or a cold winter hike than a nice hot drink. Specialty coffee drinks, hot chocolate, and chai teas from your local coffee shop are usually high in sugar, not to mention expensive—and you can’t always get them without dairy. Store-bought hot chocolate mixes usually contain milk and other additives. But don’t despair. It’s easy to make your own hot drinks—and much healthier for you and your family. 

Herbal teas are good for your mind and body. There are so many varieties and many have healing qualities as well. For an upset stomach, sip a cup of peppermint tea. When you need something calming, chamomile tea will do the trick. Ginger tea is warming and aids circulation. My children love the natural sweetness of fruity teas like Berry Zinger made by Celestial Seasonings.

Green tea is another healthy choice because it supplies high levels of antioxidants. Although green tea contains less caffeine than coffee or black tea, it does have some. So if you’re sensitive to caffeine, you may want to try a decaffeinated version. 

For those times when you want more of treat, try the recipes below. Some make one or two servings—perfect for you and a friend, though all the recipes are easily doubled or tripled. The Wassail recipe makes enough for 12 people—perfect for your holiday gathering. Enjoy! 

Rose Hip Tea
Rose hips are a good source of vitamin C so this is a great drink during cold and flu season. We like this plain but you can add a little stevia or agave nectar if you want it sweeter. 

1 tablespoon dried rose hips
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup boiling water

Place rose hips and cinnamon stick in cup. Add boiling water. Cover and steep 5 minutes. 

Makes 1 cup 
Reprinted with permission from The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook copyright 2005 by Cathe Olson. 

Carob Cocoa
Carob and molasses are good sources of calcium and iron. This is an excellent drink before bed or any time you need a soothing treat. 

2 cups milk (dairy or nondairy)
1/4 cup carob powder
1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Pour into pan and heat to desired temperature. 

Makes 2 servings 
Reprinted with permission from The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook copyright 2005 by Cathe Olson. 

Spiced Warm Milk 

1 cup nondairy milk 
Pinch ground cardamom, nutmeg, and/or cinnamon
Liquid stevia extract, blackstrap molasses, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or agave nectar to taste (optional) 

Heat milk in small pan over low heat. Pour into cup and stir in spices and sweetener to taste. 
Makes 1 serving 

Note: If you’re using stevia, remember that less is more. A couple of drops are all you need. Reprinted with permission fromThe Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook copyright 2005 by Cathe Olson. 

Mexican Hot Chocolate
This is one of the two delicious versions of Mexican Hot Chocolate from The Joy of Vegan Baking

2 cups nondairy milk
6 ounces nondairy dark or semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate bar, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of chile powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Granulated sugar to taste (opt.)

Place the milk, chocolate, cinnamon, chile powder, cayenne peper, and sugar to taste in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk periodically until the mixture comes to a boil and is foamy. Remove from heat. If more foam is desired, use a wire whisk or hand-held blender to whisk the chocolate. 
Makes 4 servings 

Reprinted with permission from The Joy of Vegan Bakingcopyright 2007 by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. 

Chai Tea 

2 1/2 cups water
1 teasoon cardamom
4 whole black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or 2 slices fresh ginger, peeled
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or 1 large cinammon stick
2 whole cloves
2/3 cup nondairy milk
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
3 teaspoons loose black tea or 3 tea bags
1/4 teasoon vanilla extract

Add the water, cardamom, peppercorns, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves to a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a low boil. Turn down the heat and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the milk and sugar and bring to a heavy simmer. Add the tea, turn off the heat and let seep for at least 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, and stir to combine. Strain using a sieve or fine strainer, and serve hot 
Makes 2 servings 

Reprinted with permission from The Joy of Vegan Baking copyright 2007 by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. 


1 quart cranberry juice cocktail
1 quart apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks, plus 8 for garnish
10 dried whole allspice berries
8 whole cloves
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Granny Smith apple, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup rum or apple liqueur (opt.)

Combine the cranberry juice, apple cider, 2 cinnamon sticks, allspice, and cloves in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the sugar, apples slices, and rum (if using) and simmer a few more minutes. You want the apples to stay crisp. Serve hot and garnish with remaining cinnamon sticks. 
Makes 12 servings 

Reprinted with permission from The Joy of Vegan Baking copyright 2007 by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. 

Cathe Olson

Author: Cathe Olson

Cathe Olson is the author of the new nondairy ice cream cookbook: Lick It! Cream Dreamy Vegan Ice Cream Your Mouth Will Love, as well as Simply Natural Baby Food and The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook. Visit Cathe’s blog at

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