Comforting Winter Drinks from Around the World
From Dutch anijsmelk to Middle Eastern sahlab, people around the world have invented endless ways to warm up their winters. As deep cold hits the Northern Hemisphere, check out these comforting winter drinks from around the world, plus a bonus recipe for breakfast wassail!
Holland features some truly scrumptious winter treats, from custards and puddings to donuts and cakes. Anijsmelk, a confection of milk and aniseed sweetened with sugar or honey, fits in right along with them. Soothing and smooth, it’s traditionally drunk at night to help settle the mind and body for sleep.
Sahlab, a warm milk pudding traditionally flavored with powdered orchid tubers, can be found in shops throughout the Middle East. It has many regional flavor variations—cinnamon and cloves, coconut, and others—and is usually drunk in winter, when its filling, starchy texture makes a perfect warming dessert so thick you can garnish the top with nuts.
Atole de Elote
Aficionados of the Central American drink atole de elote enjoy it all year long, but its warm blend of pureed corn, cornstarch, water, and cinnamon makes it a particularly tasty treat in winter. The beverage can be tweaked in a variety of ways, from changing its spices to using more or less cornstarch to control its thickness. Some recipes for atole de elote take a while to make, but reward the patient chef with a hearty delight.
Debbie’s Wassail Recipe
Wassail is an old English drink that blends many fruit flavors together. Traditionally served in huge communal containers, it takes its name from an early toast to someone’s health and is associated with the custom of “wassailing,” an old, more rambunctious precursor to caroling that involved going from house to house singing and dancing. One of our team members swears by her mom’s wassail recipe and was kind enough to let us share it with you to warm up your winters.
64 oz. cranberry juice
32 oz. apple juice
12 oz. frozen pineapple juice concentrate, undiluted
12 oz. frozen lemonade concentrate
4 cinnamon sticks
1 qt. water
Step one: In a large saucepan or Dutch oven combine juices, lemonade, and cinnamon sticks.
Step two: Bring to a boil.
Step three: Reduce heat and simmer for one hour.
Step four: Add water to taste. Serve hot or cold.