The arrival of the holidays is often synonymous with cold weather. Though many feel at home in low temperatures, it is a hassle to deal with it after not having to layer like an onion for many months.
All of a sudden, you are scraping ice off of your car, freezing your hands, and with a seemingly perpetual runny nose.
I don’t know about you, but it’s during these times that I’m constantly asking myself how to fight the cold weather. Whether it’s with more layers of clothes or heating pads, I’ll try it all. I’ve even found that there are some Latino drinks that should be a staple in any Latino household (aside from a nice cup of cafecito con leche) to help tolerate the cold. Don’t believe me? Well, try out the following five Latino drinks — these will surely help you feel warm during the coldest months of the year.
At some point, someone in our families has made us this delightful concoction to help cure us of a nasty cold. But its versatility is not lost on us; you can also drink it to warm up. All you have to do is boil some water and fresh ginger root (or ginger tea bags), add the juice of one lemon, and a tablespoon of honey (or as much honey as you want — we won’t judge.) Once you take your first sip, it will transport you to the nearest beach in your mind. Well, maybe not. But at the very least, you’ll be comfortable enough to withstand the cold.
Aguapanela is a beverage that can be consumed either hot or cold. It is made with panela or unrefined whole cane sugar. Some Latin American countries call panela piloncillo, papelón, or chancaca. The simple nature of this beverage is what makes it so appealing, especially during days where you feel like you might freeze. It is a three-step process: boil water with a chunk of panela (or however you call it) in a pot, teapot, or chocolatera and watch the sugar melt as it fills your home with one of the best aromas known to humankind. You may add a cinnamon stick or two for an augmented experience. The finishing touches can include the juice of a lemon and/or warm milk. Doesn’t this sound delicious and comforting all at the same time? Note: aguapanela can be drunk cold with plenty of lemon juice during warmer weather as well.
Dominican Avena Caliente
Latinos have a way of making avena or oatmeal in the most magical ways. From Colombia’s refreshing avena calena to avena caliente from the Dominican Republic, we love it all. For this example, we will use a page from the Dominican Republic’s recipe book to create a hearty oatmeal drink that is drunk hot and usually during the mornings.
The following recipe was translated from Cocina dominicana.
- ½ cup oats
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups whole milk
- ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 sweet cloves
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar (or more, to taste)
- Combine oatmeal, water, milk, and salt (if you prefer). Blend until the oats are almost dissolved.
- In a ¾ gal pot, mix with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and bring to medium heat, stirring all the time.
- When it boils, lower the heat and simmer until the volume is reduced to ¾ of the original. Sweeten to taste, and remove from heat.
- Serve hot
You can strain the oat drink or not. It’s up to you. One thing is for sure: this drink will hug your tummy lovingly.
Nevado (Chilean Mulled Wine)
Since we are in the middle of the holiday season, it makes sense to bring out staple holiday drinks, such as the nevado.
A nevado is Chile’s version of mulled wine, which is served warm or hot. Plenty of places in Latin America and the world have their own version of mulled wine, but Chile’s is unique because they make it a point to use the rich flavors found in Chile’s red wines — their geographic location is optimal for the wine industry.
The following recipe was originally shared in The Kitchn.
- 3 large oranges
- 1 (750-ml) bottle dry red wine, preferably Chilean
- 3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 5 whole star anise
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 (4-inch) cinnamon stick
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Cut 3 large oranges into 1/4-inch thick rounds and remove any seeds. Place in a medium pot or large saucepan.
- Add 1 bottle dry red wine, 3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar, 5 whole star anise, 5 whole cloves, 1 (4-inch) cinnamon stick, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Simmer for 10 minutes, occasionally stirring to ensure sugar is fully dissolved.
- Remove from the heat.
- Cover and let the navegado infuse for 15 to 20 minutes before serving warm.
Navegado can be made up to two days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. Rewarm on the stovetop before serving.
This Latino drink will warm you up en un dos por tres and in all the right places.
Champurrado is a popular Mexican chocolate-based drink with cornflour in it — the cornflour is added to thicken the drink, making it even more mouth-watering. Though this is known to be a warm Mexican beverage, anyone can enjoy it. I know I do, and I’m Colombian — there’s really nothing better than drinking un champurrado on a cold day while dipping bread in it.
This recipe was originally shared on Hispanic Kitchen.
- 3 water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 anise star
- ¼ cup masa harina
- 2 cups milk
- ½ disk Mexican chocolate chopped (Abuelita Or Ibarra Chocolate)
- 3 ounces piloncillo, chopped Or ½ Cup packed brown sugar
- Boil water with the two cinnamon sticks and anise star in a large saucepan.
- Remove from the heat, cover, and let the cinnamon sticks and anise star steep for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks and anise star, return to low heat and slowly add the masa harina to the warm water, whisking until combined.
- Add milk, chocolate, and piloncillo.
- Heat over medium heat just until boiling; reduce heat.
- Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until chocolate is completely melted and sugar is dissolved, whisking occasionally.
- Serve immediately.
As we wait for winter to come in at full force, make sure you stock up on all the ingredients I just mentioned — you’ll see that these beverages are a game-changer!