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Instead of alcohol or caffeine, these drinks seduce with aromatic spices, splashes of orange water, or creamy almond milk.
SELECTED BY THE MAGAZINE OF YOGA STAFF
We’ve got nothing against winter drink classics like hot chocolate, spiced apple cider or chai tea, but there’s a whole wonderful world of additional drink choices just perfect for curling up under grandma’s quilt on a cold snowy winter’s eve!
Sharon Tyler Herbst’s The Ultimate Liquor-Free Drink Guide includes some irresistible options for when you want to branch out from your tried-and-true favorites. These warming drinks seduce with aromatic spices, splashes of orange water, or creamy almond milk — no alcohol or caffeine needed.
Instead of the usual hot cocoa, try Mexican chocolate Champurrado, thickened with masa harina and sweetened with dark brown sugar. Honey-sweetened Russian Sbityen spiced with ginger, cloves and peppercorns makes a splendid toddy alternative, and the almond-based and orange water kissed Moroccan Sharbat Bil Looz gives chai tea some serious competition!
Note: Vegans, rejoice! Almond or soy milk can be substituted for dairy milk with delicious consequences in any of the following recipes.
Excerpted from The Ultimate Liquor-Free Drink Guide by Sharon Tyler Herbst. Copyright © 2002 by Sharon Tyler Herbst.
Every country has its traditional libations, those time-honored drinks that are not only local favorites, but whose popularity has spread far and wide. Countries with hot climates tend toward cool, light drinks, such as Mexico’s aguas frescas. And India beats the heat with its refreshing lassis, which can range from savory renditions flavored with spices like cumin and pepper to sweeter, fruit-flavored versions.
On the flip side of the coin, cold-climate residents need chill-chasers, such as Holland’s hot, anise-flavored anus melk, and Russia’s spicy, honey-based sbityen. Then there are holiday favorites, like Puerto Rico’s coquito, a coconut eggnog. This chapter contains a small sampling of myriad drinks from around the world, some of which may just become favorites in your household.
Atole de Chocolate (also called Champurrado) (Mexico)
Popular in Mexico and parts of the American Southwest, this beverage is said to date back to pre-Columbian times. It’s thickened with masa harina (lime-treated, dried corn kernels ground into flour). Masa harina and Mexican chocolate can be found in Latin markets and many supermarkets. Latin markets sell instant atole, which can be mixed with milk or water. Atole can be served hot or at room temperature.
2 cups (16 oz.) chilled water
rounded 1/3 cup masa harina
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 cups (16 oz.) whole milk
3 oz. Mexican chocolate or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, gradually stir 1 cup of the water into masa harina. Let stand 15 minutes. In a medium, heavy saucepan, bring remaining 1 cup water and cinnamon stick to a boil. Pour masa harina mixture through a fine sieve into boiling water, stirring constantly. Add milk, chocolate, and sugar; stir over medium-low heat until chocolate melts and mixture is creamy and smooth. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Whisk lightly until atole is frothy. Serve immediately in warm mugs, or cool to room temperature, refrigerate, and serve cold in medium glasses. Use a whisk to froth the mixture before serving.
Anus Melk (Holland)
This warmer is known as “anise milk” in the Netherlands. Toasting the anise seed will intensify the flavor.
1 rounded Tbsp. anise seed, crushed
4 cups (32 oz.) milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. (1 oz.) cornstarch
2 Tbsp. (1 oz.) water
Combine anise seed, milk, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to simmer. Reduce heat to low; cook 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place cornstarch in a small bowl. Gradually add water, stirring until smooth. Stirring constantly, slowly add cornstarch mixture to milk. Simmer, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer into warmed mugs. May be served immediately, or cooled to room temperature, refrigerated, and reheated over medium-low heat (don’t let it boil) just before serving.
Sbityen [ZBEET-yen] (Russia)
Although this honey-based warmer usually contains a jolt of vodka or brandy, it’s equally wonderful without it.
6 cups (48 oz.) water
2/3 cup (scant 6 oz.) honey
2-inch piece (1/2 inch in diameter) peeled ginger, thinly sliced
grated zest of 1 small lemon
1 stick cinnamon, broken in half
10 whole cloves
1/2 bay leaf
ground cinnamon for garnish (optional)
Combine all ingredients except garnish in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve honey. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes. Strain into mugs; sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. May be refrigerated and reheated.
Sharbat Bil Looz (Morocco)
This almond-milk drink is mildly sweet and exceedingly satisfying. Although classically served chilled, it’s immensely soothing when warm. Although not traditional, toasting the almonds adds a rich flavor. For even more almond flavor, add a drop of pure almond extract.
1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) water
8 oz. slivered almonds, toasted, if desired
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) milk
1 to 2 dashes (1/16 to 1/8 tsp.) orange-flower water or rose water
1 drop pure almond extract (optional)
Combine 1 cup of the water, almonds, and sugar in a blender. Cover and process at medium speed until smooth. Add remaining 1/2 cup water, milk, and orange-flower water; process until combined. Pour through a fine strainer into a pitcher. Taste and add almond extract, if desired. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Pour into small glasses.
Yansoon (Arab countries)
This spicy, warming drink is extremely popular throughout Arab countries. Although it is not traditional to do so, yansoon is also wonderful made with milk.
4 cups (32 oz.) water
1-inch piece (1/2 inch in diameter) peeled ginger, thinly sliced
6 whole star anise
5 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
sugar (to taste)
2 Tbsp. toasted sliced almonds for garnish
4 cinnamon sticks for garnish (optional)
Combine water, ginger, anise, cloves, and cinnamon stick in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes. Sweeten to taste with sugar. Strain yansoon into warm mugs. Sprinkle each serving with almonds; garnish with cinnamon stick, if desired.
Excerpted from The Ultimate Liquor-Free Drink Guide by Sharon Tyler Herbst. Copyright © 2002 by Sharon Tyler Herbst. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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