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Hot Drinks
Posted by Lori Ross - Viewed 68453 times

By Lori Ross

I have a special place in my heart for warm drinks because my existence is a result of hot drinks on a cold winter night!  According to my mother, my Dad came in from work later than usual on a snowy February night.  He was chilly, so she made mulled wine for them both to drink.  As Mom puts it, “one thing led to another and nine months later, to our delight, you were born!”   Of course, my 11 and 13 year old sisters were not quite as excited about the surprise of a new baby in the house – now that they were old enough to babysit! 

Surprises aside, warming drinks are a special treat on a damp, chilly day aboard the boat or on a cool, romantic evening under the stars, but they are an absolute necessity when on a night watch or bad weather hits and you need warming from the inside out.

In addition to thermal benefits, many of these warm drinks are a significant source of healthy anti-oxidants. New research shows that some of these popular hot drinks not only warm the body but could heat up the immune system and possibly prevent certain ailments. Researchers at the University of Scranton found that one to two cups of coffee per day provides the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet.   Research led by Cornell University's Chang Yong Lee found that hot chocolate, on a per-serving basis, has four to five times more antioxidants than black tea, two to three times more than green tea, and almost two times more than red wine. The cocoa research was published recently in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Coffee, tea and packaged hot chocolate are standby hot drinks on our boat. However, there are a few variations we like for those times when we just can’t seem to get warm enough or we want a different flavor. While some of the recipes below contain alcohol, I don’t recommend them for consumption while under way.  My mother and father can attest to the dangers of drinking warmed alcohol…and we have all heard the boating and drinking statistics, so wait until you are at the dock or on the hook to consume them.  All recipes serve 4 unless otherwise indicated.


Cafe Brulot:
This hot French drink is delicious on a cold night. Ignite it if you dare!
4 cups of strong black coffee already poured into 4 mugs or glasses
1 tbsp of brown sugar
5 whole cloves
One long zest each of lemon and orange peel
1 cinnamon stick
¼ tsp of vanilla
1 cup brandy
Heat sugar, spices, citrus and brandy in a saucepan. When steaming, ignite with a long match and allow to burn for 30 seconds (this will start out as a large flame and get smaller).  Pour flaming liquid into 4 cups that are three-quarters full of hot, strong coffee.  If you don’t want to ignite it, simply add a little brandy to your coffee.
Irish Coffee
For each serving:
Hot black coffee
2 tspn sugar
½ pint heavy cream or whipped cream
Irish Whiskey (to taste)
Place ¼ cup hot coffee in the bottom of a glass and add some whiskey. Add sugar and stir still melted. Fill the rest of the glass up with coffee, slowly pour cream over it, or add whipped cream and serve.

Replace whiskey with coffee, fruit or nut liqueurs, or scotch, brandy, bourbon or rum.
Replace cream and whiskey with creamy after-dinner liqueurs such as Bailey’s Irish Cream, Carolans or other brands.

Hot Ginger Coffee
6 tbsp ground coffee
1 tbsp grated orange peel
1 tbsp chopped crystallized or candied ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 cups cold water
Whipped cream, cinnamon sticks and/or additional orange peel, optional
Combine the coffee, orange peel, ginger and cinnamon; pour into a coffee filter. Brew according to manufacturer's directions. Pour into mugs; garnish with whipped cream, cinnamon sticks and orange peel if desired.


Rose Petal Tea
4 cups boiling water
2 tbsp Darjeeling or Ceylon tea leaves
1/2 tsp rose water (available in gourmet or Middle Eastern markets)
Organic rose petals, for garnish (optional)
Sugar, for serving
In a teapot, pour the boiling water over the tea leaves and let steep for 3 minutes. Add the rose water. Strain the tea into cups, garnish with rose petals and serve with sugar.

Mint Tea
Hot mint tea is a favorite in Morocco.  It's very sweet and packed with mint flavor.
1 quart boiling water,
3 teabags (English breakfast, Earl Gray or green tea)
3/4 cup sugar (or less to taste)
3 cups firmly packed fresh mint leaves crushed or 4 mint tea bags
Add mint leaves, sugar, tea bags and boiling water to a teapot; cover and let stand for 2-3 minutes. Strain tea into cups and enjoy.

Mojito Tea:  Add 1/2 cup rum and 2 tablespoon lime juice to tea pot and heat for 1-2 minutes until warmed.

Cardamom Tea
Try this flavorful and refreshing cardamom tea, which is usually served after dinner since it aids digestion.
12 crushed whole cardamom pods
6 cups boiling water
Strip of orange zest
2 bags black tea
Place 12 whole crushed cardamom pods into 6 cups boiling water. Add orange peel and steep for about 10 minutes. Add 2 bags of black tea, steep for 5 minutes more, and strain. Serve immediately with hot milk and honey


Originating in India and made popular by Starbucks and other coffee-bars, chai is a tea drink that combines black tea, spices, and milk. 
2-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tsp peppercorns
10 whole cloves
6 cardamom pods
6 cups cold water
6 bags of black tea (like Darjeeling)
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
Combine first 5 ingredients in medium saucepan. Using mallet or back of large spoon, lightly crush spices. Add 6 cups water; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover pan, and simmer gently 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and steep 5 minutes. Discard tea bags. Add milk and sugar. Bring tea just to simmer over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Strain chai into teapot and serve hot.

Chile Chai: Substitute small amount chipotle pepper instead of black peppercorns

Citrus Chai: Add zests of orange, lemon or lime peel to recipe above
Chinese Chai: Add 4 whole star anise and substitute green tea for black.

Gin Chai
1 1/2 tbp shelled pistachios, chopped or group
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
Large pinch of saffron threads (15 to 20)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups whole milk
3 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups water
5 teabags of black tea
½ cup gin such as Tanqueray or Plymouth

Add nuts to spices and milk in a saucepan. Bring milk just to a simmer, and then stir in brown sugar and salt. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes to infuse flavors. Add water and tea bags and cook for 2 more minutes. Strain chai and serve by placing 1 oz. gin in each of 4 mugs and topping with the hot chai.

Mexican Hot Chocolate
 Serves 6 to 8
This is my favorite winter drink.  Mexican chocolate is thick, rich and often flavored with cinnamon, almonds, and vanilla.
1/2 cup cocoa (unsweetened like Droste, Hershey’s)
1 cup sugar
7 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 quart milk (1% milk or richer not skim)
Mix cocoa and sugar together into a medium-sized saucepan. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water, and stir into the cocoa mixture until it is a smooth paste.  Begin heating the mixture, stirring it continually and gradually pour in the milk.  Continue stirring with the whisk as you bring the liquid to a simmer.  Allow the chocolate to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until it is thick, glossy and completely smooth (like a hot pudding).  Serve steaming hot with a spoon Orange-Scented Hot Chocolate: add a twist of orange peel (2x1” long) and a dash of nutmeg

Mexican Atole

Atole is a warm almost porridge-like drink made thick with masa harina (cornmeal flour) flavored with chocolate, fruits or nuts.
1/2 cup masa flour (masa harina) mixed with a 1/4 cup hot water
5 cups water
1/4 cup brown sugar plus 2 tsp molasses (makes a richer brown sugar)
1 stick cinnamon
¼ tsp vanilla or vanilla bean (split lengthwise)
Blend water and the masa until smooth. Transfer to a medium sized saucepan and add vanilla and cinnamon stick.  Stir the mixture until it begins to thicken.  Add sugar with molasses and continue to stir vigorously until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove the mixture from the heat and discard cinnamon stick and vanilla bean (if using) and serve hot.

Fruit Atole:  Puree 1 cup of strawberries or pineapple chunks. Stir the fruit into the mixture and return it to the stove and heat over medium heat until the mixture is warmed
Podzol or Chile Atole: add salt and chili pepper (chopped) to taste
Horchata: add one ½ cup finely ground almonds
Pinole: add sprinkling of anise seeds.

Hot Fruit and Vegetable Drinks

Hot Apple Cider (Serves 8)
4 cups apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
4 thick orange slices
4 cloves
Brandy, calvados or rum (optional)
Insert cloves into center of orange slices. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.  When heated, serve in mugs with cinnamon stick stirrers and add brandy, calvados or rum to taste if desired.

Hot Cranberry Punch (Serves 15-20)

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 cinnamon sticks, plus additional to use as stirrers
1 tbsp whole cloves
6 cups cranberry juice
8 cups apple juice or cider
Put the sugar, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a saucepan with juices.  When thoroughly heated, serve in mugs with cinnamon stick stirrers and add rum, bourbon or brandy to taste.

Hot Fruit Punch (serves 8)
1 cup water,
1/3 cup sugar
8 whole allspice
8 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
1 cup each of grapefruit juice
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 ounces gin or vodka (optional)
Simmer mixture of ingredients (except gin or vodka) in a saucepan for 10 minutes.  Add gin or vodka and heat the mixture but do not let it boil. Strain the punch into warmed mugs and garnish each drink with an orange slice.

Mulled Hot Drinks

The word "mulled" simply means heated and spiced. Mulled wines have a long history. In medieval times these wines were called Ypocras or Hipocris, named after the physician Hippocrates. They were thought to be very healthy, and indeed, with wine at the time being far more sanitary than water, these heated drinks probably did keep people healthy through the cold winters. Simmer, do not boil mulled drinks!

Mulled Red Wine
Serves 8
2 bottles dry red wine (750 ml each)
4 ounces port or brandy
12 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks

Zest from one large orange
Combine ingredients in a large pot and simmer for 20 minutes and serve with cinnamon sticks and a pinch of nutmeg

Mulled Cider
Serves 8
1 quart apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
Zest of one lemon 
Dash of ground cloves
¼ tsp nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Bring to simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and serve.

Mulled White Wine
Serves 12
A dry white wine like Pinot Grigio, Soave or Sauvignon Blanc is best for this drink.
1/2 lemon    
1/2 orange
4 kumquats (optional) 
2 tbsp honey
1/3 cup sugar
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice or ¼ teaspoon of allspice
2 cinnamon sticks
2 cups water
2 bottles (750 ml. each) dry white wine 
Thinly slice lemon, orange and kumquats, discarding seeds. Place fruit, honey, sugar cloves, cinnamon, allspice and water in a saucepan; simmer for 5 minutes, then add wine and heat for 10 minutes. Serve in mugs with additional cinnamon sticks for stirring.

Serves 24
In Germany, I tasted Gluhwein (or Glow Wine) at an outdoor Christmas market.  It’s the perfect drink for a cold day!
3 cups water
1 lemon, sliced 20 whole cloves
6 to 8 cinnamon sticks
2 bottles red wine
1 cup sugar
1 orange, sliced for garnish
Mix water, lemon and spices and simmer for an hour. Strain. Heat but do not boil the red wine. Add hot wine to hot water mixture. Ladle into cups and serve with half a slice of orange.

Gløgg is the Scandinavian version of mulled wine, served steaming hot and heavily flavored with aquavit, schnapps or vodka in which spices (and sometimes nuts and raisins) are soaked overnight.
1 bottle (750 ml) red table wine
1/2 cup vodka, aquavit or schnapps (optional)
15-20 whole cloves
1 tsp cardamom seeds
4 cinnamon sticks
 2 pieces of ginger
Zest of half a lemon
½ to 1 cup sugar 
1 tsp vanilla
Crush the cinnamon and cardamom. Peel the lemon. Put all the spices and peel into a glass jar with the vodka. Cover. Leave overnight. Strain the vodka, discard the spices.
Mix the spiced vodka with the wine and sugar and heat all the ingredients in a large saucepan until steaming hot. Do not boil. Stir and pour into mugs with a cinnamon stick.

Pomegranate Cider

4 cups pomegranate juice
3 cups apple cider
12 slices dried pears or apples
2 to 3 strips orange zest
5 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
5 allspice berries
1 star anise
Brandy, rum, vodka or port





Place pomegranate juice and cider in a saucepan along with the dried fruits, orange zest, and spices. Warm gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 30 minutes (do not boil). Serve in mugs or glasses with spices and dried fruit, and add liquor, if desired








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