Cozy Winter Beverages from Around the World3 min read
Strolling through a Christmas market sipping mulled wine or snuggled up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate, a cozy winter beverage warms the soul. Every culture has a particular version of these comforting, cold-weather drinks. The best part? Many of these winter concoctions are deliciously packed with immune-boosting ingredients to protect against the season’s nasty illnesses.
Here’s a look at some of the most comforting winter drinks from around the world:
Mexico: Hot Chocolate
The classic Mexican hot chocolate has roots in the country’s ancient civilizations. The Aztecs and Mayans saw cacao as a gift from the gods and drank it as a frothy drink to celebrate special occasions. They revered the cacao for its wide range of health benefits, from its ability to cure fevers and fatigue to its role as an aphrodisiac.
When it comes to sipping hot chocolate, little has changed in the reverence of this rich, soul-warming beverage in Mexican culture today.
The cacao beverage can be prepared differently depending on where you are in Mexico. Still, every region will raise its mugs to toast winter’s holiday celebrations like Dia de Guadeloupe, Dia de Reyes, and Christmas.
U.K.: Hot Toddy
While many warm beverages are believed to hold special healing powers, little is held in the same high regard as the hot toddy. With many variations of this popular beverage, it boils down to a warming blend of whiskey, honey, lemon, and spices.
Under-the-weather drinkers and medical professionals highly praise the hot toddy. The lemon, honey, and spices (like ginger and cinnamon) have been well-documented in scientific research as relievers of many cold and flu symptoms.
In addition to the hot toddy’s physical benefits, the immune-boosting powers of this warming winter drink also lie in its snuggly effect on one’s mental health. It’s important to acknowledge that the hot toddy, now most commonly associated with the U.K., may have originated in British-controlled India.
The countries of Scandinavia (namely Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark) are some of the coldest on Earth. It makes sense that they have a wide array of body- and soul-warming drinks for the winter months. And of these yummy specialties, none is more popular than the sweet and spicy gløgg.
Gløgg has been around since at least the 16th century. Similar to mulled wine drunk across Europe in the winter, gløgg is a bit more complex. And while each country has region-specific gløgg recipes, the drink is typically a combination of wine, sugar, spices, fruit, and nuts.
The wine is heated and steeped with spices like cardamom, clove, ginger, and cinnamon with orange or lemon peels, raisins, and almonds. Optionally, you can add brandy, vodka, or other liquors. When serving, scoop some almonds and raisins into each glass.
This ayurvedic herbal beverage from India is primarily consumed during cold and flu season due to its immune-boosting properties. The drink is simple – herbs and spices boiled in water – but it packs a big punch regarding health benefits.
Like many warming winter concoctions, Kadha is made with some of the hardest-hitting ingredients to support one’s health. The drink contains honey to soothe coughs and sore throats, antiviral ginger, antimicrobial black pepper, antiinflammatory cloves, and tulsi (holy basil) leaves to help reduce mucus.
Regular consumption of Kadha was recently found in a study to boost immunity, prevent viral infection and reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.