Updated: Nov 9, 2020
As autumn sets in I crave a warm drink in the evenings, yet it's highly likely I've reached my coffee quota already. Herbal tea is great but personally, I can only stomach one per day. Also, I want to give my daughter a warm drink to get her ready for sleep, but hot chocolate isn't appropriate every night. So I've been experimenting with making my own warm drinks and they've made bedtime stories with my daughter and my blanket and film nights, even cosier. What's more, they're all very easy 3-minute makes. Here are my favourites:
1. Warm Apple and Cinnamon Drink
Cloudy apple juice (half a mug’s worth)
1 tsp cinnamon (powder or else 1 stick)
All you need do is to place/pour it all into a saucepan and heat until just before boiling. Since the smell is so irresistible, I add some cold apple juice to my cup so I can start sipping immediately. This feels like Autumn in a cup. Deliciously sweet but with the warmth of the cloves (take these out prior to drinking to avoid accidentally eating). This is my daughter's favourite.
2. Pomegranate and Star Anise
2 x star anise
1 tsp agave
Squeeze of lemon juice
Soothing, sweet and delicate, this warm tea is lovely on wintery afternoons. Plus, it’s a great way to
use up the last half of pomegranate that so often goes to waste. I’m sure this recipe would work with pomegranate juice from the shop, but since that’s not something I generally buy, I’ve used fresh pomegranate. If you’re not someone who usually buys this then I urge you to try it. One whole pomegranate goes so so much further than those very expensive plastic packets of pomegranate seeds. I use them in salads, wraps and couscous. They are packed full of antioxidants and can help to soothe a sore throat. However, each pomegranate contains hundreds of seeds and juice that often goes to waste. So, making tea from the leftovers is a glorious solution. Use roughly a quarter of the pomegranate and tease out the seeds, over a saucepan. Don’t worry about any of the skin getting into the pan and give the fruit a few good squeezes to get all that pink berry juice out too. Add 150ml of water, a squeeze of lemon juice, 2 star anise and the Algarve (or honey if preferred), bring to the boil and then simmer for 3 minutes further to allow the flavours to infuse. Strain before drinking so you don’t get any nasty pomegranate skin in your lovely sweet drink.
3. Homemade Lemon and Ginger Tea
Half a Lemon
150ml of water
Thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
If you feel a cold coming in then this is definitely a tea for you. Lemon and ginger go together like chocolate and wine, but they’re much better for you. To get the best taste and full health benefits, use fresh ginger root. Lemon is rich in vitamin C and ginger is both anti-inflammatory and can aid digestion. If there’s a man in your life it may be worth mentioning that ginger is rumoured to be a natural testosterone booster too. Pour 150ml of water into a saucepan and cut yourself a thumb-sized piece of ginger. Grate this over your saucepan so you don’t waste those juices. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the pan then dump the lemon skin into the water too for extra flavour. Simmer slowly for at least 5 minutes then pour into your favourite mug and enjoy.
4. Warm Cranberry And Orange
Cranberry juice (150ml)
¼ Orange and peel
I’ll be honest, this one isn’t my favourite. It’s a little sharp for my taste but then I’m not a big fruit fan. It’s important to let this one simmer to really allow the cloves to infuse that woody flavour which will help neutralise the sweetness of the fruit. Still, I rate this one because I swear by cranberry juice when it’s my time of the month. Nothing seems to calm my system so naturally and ease those period pains. The science for this is far from concrete so maybe it’s a placebo, but it works in some way for me.
Again, this is an easy one. Simmer the cranberry juice and add a couple of slices of orange - peel and all. Make sure you give the orange section a gentle squeeze over the pan before adding. You want the main taste to be of cranberry with hints of orange, which is why adding slices of the fruit and not orange juice is important. The cloves are also important so add them in straight away and simmer the mixture for up to 6 minutes to allow for infusion. You can strain this or leave the orange peel to fall into your drink. Just watch out for the cloves. They are an unwelcome strong flavour to feel the full power off, so you won’t want the actual cloves in your drink. Remember, with all of these recipes, you won’t necessarily want to consume a big mug of it as you would tea or coffee. The flavours are far more intense and you’ll likely find you just need a half cup to warm you up and feel those lovely fruity benefits.