11 Hot Drinks to Chase Away the Winter Blahs
Whether they’re gray and dreary or bright and chilly, December days feel better with hands wrapped around a hot mug. With these 11 drinks, you have a perfect incentive to brave the weather—and you might discover a new favorite among these creative combinations.
1. Golden Milk at Maypop Coffee & Garden Shop
An unexpected combination of herbs and honey balances out the savory and sweet, making this the equivalent of comfort food in a cup. The herbs—turmeric, ginger, lemongrass and peppercorns—come from Big Heart Tea Co.’s Sunshine Dust tea concentrate. The Webster Groves coffee shop mixes the concentrate with honey, then fills up the cup with warm almond milk.
2. Apple cider at Stone Spiral
This Maplewood café has a few tricks up its sleeve when it comes to creating the perfect apple cider. First is the cider itself. It comes from Rolling Lawns Farms, which sources it at a dairy farm in Illinois. Second is a house-made spice mixture of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Third is the dollop of whipped cream adorning each steaming mug, giving the cider a rich creaminess.
3. Cascara Cortado at Coma Coffee Roasters
A double espresso with steamed milk becomes something exotic when it’s mixed with a simple syrup made from cascara. Sometimes called coffee cherries, cascara are the fruit that contains the coffee beans (actually seeds), and often they’re discarded or used as fertilizer after the beans are processed. But like coffee, the cherries their own distinctive fruity flavors—and they contain caffeine, too. This Brentwood coffeehouse celebrates cascara in all forms, from the simple syrup to the house-made candied cherries that garnish this drink. (And if espresso isn’t your thing, try cascara steeped with apple cider.)
4. Mint-Matcha Elixir at Hello Juice & Smoothie
Everything at this health-focused café just north of The Grove has a nutritional purpose. The elixirs (lattes made with superfoods) are no exception, with choices like pistachio-pine, lemon-ginger, cacao and mint-matcha. That last one is a refreshingly different combination, made using matcha from Firepot Nomadic Teas in a base of whole milk (or coconut milk if you prefer), with peppermint, vanilla, green spirulina, maple and a pinch of sea salt. Matcha’s health benefits include boosting energy, burning calories and providing antioxidants.
Common Days at Yellowbelly and Retreat Gastropub. Image courtesy of On Point Hospitality.
5. Common Days at Retreat Gastropub and Yellowbelly
Transport yourself to a warmer climate via this exotic, tropical hot cocktail. It’s made with aged rums, Averna amaro, banana and Sump coffee, then topped with garam masala cream. For each $10 Common Days you purchase, $2 goes toward “Cocktails for a Cause” throughout the month of December. Funds raised will go toward the St. Louis Family Gift Drive, which purchases gifts (toys, clothing, diapers and more) for low-income St. Louis families whose babies and toddlers have special needs.
6. Mexican Hot Chocolate at Narwhal’s Crafted Urban Ice
You probably know Narwhal’s for its signature frozen drinks, but in the winter, the bar just off the Saint Louis University campus heats up the patio and helps customers escape the cold with hot cocktails. Its version of hot chocolate is made with gold tequila, cocoa, house simple syrup, milk, red chili and cinnamon, topped with vodka-infused whipped cream.
TAAHdy image courtesy of Grand Tavern.
7. TAAHdy at Grand Tavern by David Burke
The new restaurant in the Angad Arts Hotel opened on a snowy November day, and the weather’s been perfect ever since for beverage manager Meredith Barry’s hot cocktails. The TAAHdy combines Laird’s Applejack brandy, pine and thyme liqueurs, vanilla honey and lemon juice. The Hot Tot features Plantation O.F.T.D. Rum with Batavia Arrack and Velvet Falernum, topped with a sweet banana-liqueur whipped cream. And the Grand Cocoa is a savory version of hot chocolate—with whiskey, yellow chartreuse, cinnamon demerara sugar, dark-chocolate syrup and curry bitters, topped with a boozy marshmallow and tomato dust.
8. Ferrel Children at Taste
You’ll have to get details on the name of this winter warmer from Nick Digiovanni, bar manager at this Central West End magnet for cocktail enthusiast. It’s made with Rittenhouse Rye, Old Forester 100 bourbon, ginger liqueur, lemon, chai-infused sorghum, Angostura bitters, Suze aromatic bitters and hot water.
9. Mulled Wine at Pieces Board-Game Bar and Café
Piece’s Theresa Shaeffer has created a traditional European-style spiced hot wine for this Soulard social hangout using Cabernet (not super dry) and pinot noir (light and fruit-forward), with a blend of five spices (star anise, whole cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, whole allspice and whole peppercorns) plus honey and fresh oranges and lemons.
Memphis Hot Toddy at Juniper. Image courtesy of Green Olive Media.
10. Memphis Hot Toddy at Juniper
In keeping with the vibe at this Southern-inspired restaurant in the Central West End, Juniper’s take on the classic cure-all is based on Old Dominick Memphis Toddy—a bourbon whiskey infused with citrusy, botanical natural flavors—plus honey, lemon and hot water.
11. Egg Nog at Sardella
The holiday classic at this Clayton hotspot is a rich combination of PF Cognac, El Dorado 12 YO Rum, Lustau Amontillado sherry, whole milk, heavy cream, eggs, sugar and nutmeg. After a few of these, you might be back the next day for a glass teacup of bar manager Kelly Nyikes’ soothing hot toddy, Calm Your Nerves, with Calm Yo’ Tummy tea from Big Heart Tea Co., lemon juice, Dolin Genepy des Alpes, Letherbee Vernal ’18 gin and a lavender sprig.
Featured image courtesy of Grand Tavern.