Our Top 6 Picks for Latin Inspired Winter Drinks
By Isabel Byfield
It finally feels like winter in Phoenix… at least some days it does – and it reminds me of my childhood and the comfort drinks that my mom would make for me. Latin cuisine is full of steamy beverages that help us keep warm during the winter days, and are the perfect snacks for cold and rainy days. Here are some of our favorites:
This drink is particularly popular in Colombia. Made with cane sugar, this drink is a staple of Colombian cuisine. There are several ways to prepare it: you can just drink it by itself, or with some lime or even milk. It makes the perfect, inexpensive, great tasting and comforting hot drink. One of my favorites ways to drink aguapanela is to add pieces of cheese to the steaming liquid. The cheese then becomes chewy and delicious.
This drink has different versions and is most popular in Mexico. You can make the traditional atole with corn meal, brown sugar and spices. Other versions are made with oatmeal, rice and cornstarch. This comfort drink is perfect to make you feel full and warm, it is definitely a favorite around here.
Yerba mate is very popular in the South American countries, with Argentina being the most recognized for this drink. Mate is a strong aromatic tea, with properties similar to coffee – and it’s the drink of choice in several countries like Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. The flavor is on the bitter side. It’s a drink you sip little by little, and you need to learn how to properly brew it in order to enjoy it.
Coladas are pretty popular all across Latin countries. The simplest version is made with milk and corn starch. It’s usually flavored with spices such as cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract. To pair your colada, there’s nothing better than a piece of pan dulce or some saltine crackers.
We couldn’t skip the winter comfort beverage that happens to be famous world-wide: hot chocolate. Every country has a little variation of twist to this classic comfort drink. In Latin countries, adding spices like cloves and cinnamon is a great way to add more heat and flavor to help keep us warm during the cold winter days. Some Mexican varieties of hot chocolate include some sweet chiles in the recipe – this adds a very nice kick to the drink and amps up the thermogenic effect.
This drink is a ginger lime cider that combines the perfect amount of sweet and spicy. The best part is that you can add a little booze to it and have the perfect warm cocktail for a special occasion. Just pour a little cachaca, the Brazilian national liquor, and you will be ready to celebrate.