5 Warm (Non-Alcoholic) Drinks for Your DC Winter

Anyone who has made it through a congressional term in DC knows that the Nation’s Capital doesn’t weather the winter well. Snow means that the narrow roads are even more congested, the metros are running slowly, and pedestrians can’t see through their bundles of ear muffs and scarves to look both ways. The sun setting at 4:30 means that many of us will go an entire work week without seeing daylight. And of course, half of our co-workers are from warmer climates and are complaining about the cold while the other half are from colder climates and are complaining about the complainers.

But there are also plenty of winter experiences that brighten our days. For some, the bevy of back-to-back holiday parties is the highlight of the year. For others, snow means working from home in your favorite fuzzy slippers. Whether it’s the Sunday morning after several seasonal celebrations, or a snowed-in workday siesta, we all enjoy the smell and warmth of winter drinks. Since this list is for those recovering from holiday events or working from home, these tastings are non-alcoholic, but they could easily be spiked with rum or whisky if you want to experiment.

I selected these five drinks from Pinterest, made them, and reviewed them honestly below. Grading was based on their accessibility, prep time, and taste, with each category having five stars possible. “Accessibility” is defined as the likelihood that the average District resident would have the ingredients in their kitchen or could readily purchase them at their closest corner store. “Prep time” is the time and effort involved in making the drink. And taste, is taste. There you have it; let’s get to it!


1) Winter Lemonade

Winter Lemonade

Winter Lemonade Ingredients My Winter Lemonade
From: Season With Spice

Accessibility: best, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow icon
Prep Time: best, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow icon
Taste: best, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow icon

Winter Lemonade was a surprise winner, to be honest, but a definitive victor nonetheless. With only four ingredients (water among them), it scored highly in accessibility and prep time. I actually made it in three minutes flat – three minutes in the microwave to heat the water in which time I had the lemon sliced and skewered onto the cinnamon stick. Stir in the honey, and drop in the cinnamon stick and lemon, and let it steep for a few minutes. Perhaps my favorite thing about this is that the cinnamon and the lemon have so much flavor, that you could keep pouring hot water over it all day and it’ll be just as delicious with no extra work. The herbal quality also makes it ideal for sore throats or congested noses. A surprisingly perfect winter drink.


2) Hot Vanilla Milk

Hot Vanilla Milk

Hot Vanilla Milk Ingredients My Hot Vanilla Milk
From: Butter with a Side of Bread

Accessibility: best, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow icon
Prep Time: best, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow icon
Taste: best, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow icon

Think about your favorite ice cream base, or the start of a good cookie recipe. Milk, vanilla, and sugar are all there. And now they are all here in your mug, wafting delicious smells up to your nose. This is another recipe which scored highly on accessibility and prep time, but also didn’t slouch on taste. Being a foodie, I almost didn’t try this one because it seemed too simple. It proved, however, to be a lesson in the beauty of simplicity. The only deviation which I made from the recipe is that I used brown sugar instead of white. Probably any form of sugar or sugar substitute would work.


3) Mexican Hot Chocolate

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Mexican Hot Chocolate Ingredients My Mexican Hot Chocolate
From: The Suburban Girl Gone Country

Accessibility: best, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow icon
Prep Time: best, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow icon
Taste: best, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow icon

This is my favorite variation on the classic hot chocolate. Chili and cocoa are a fantastic pairing, and the smell of those ingredients together in a warming sauce pan is like Christmas. This particular recipe was fairly mild and would be a great option for a party drink when you don’t know everyone’s heat tolerances. Since it required a few more ingredients, and was made on the stove instead of in the microwave, it lost a few points on accessibility and prep-time, but it was all there in flavor. When I make this again, I would probably kick the heat up a bit with cayenne instead of chili powder.


4) Homemade Chai Latte

Homemade Chai Latte

Homemade Chai Latte Ingredients My Homemade Chai Latte

From: A Splash of Vanilla

Accessibility: best, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow icon
Prep Time: best, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow icon
Taste: best, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow icon

A good chai latte is a great substitute for one of the coffee variety. This recipe was good, however it suffered from its wide array of ingredients and lengthy prep time. Calling for ginger and cardamom and peppercorns and so on, made it difficult to have all of the ingredients on hand (I actually substituted a couple star anise pods for the cardamom!). If you have to run out to get some of the ingredients for the chai, just stop by a coffee shop and order a latte there. If you happen to have all or most of the ingredients, and are interested in learning to make a chai latte, than this is a good starting point.


5) Pear & Cinnamon Spice Almond Milk Recipe

Warm Pear Almond Milk Ingredients My Warm Pear Almond Milk Pear and Cinnamon Spice Almond Milk Recipe

From: Linda Wagner

Accessibility: best, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow icon
Prep Time: best, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow iconbest, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow icon
Taste: best, bookmark, bookmarks, fav, favorite, favorites, favourite, favourites, like, love, rate, rating, star, yellow icon

Blogger Linda Wagner seemed very enthusiastic about this recipe, saying that it was “[p]erfect for sipping while snuggling under blankets, sitting by a fire, or watching football!” I was genuinely intrigued by the prospect of blending a pear into a warm beverage, since pears are usually not used for blended drinks because of their gritty texture. Unfortunately in my case, the grittiness won. I couldn’t finish the drink, hence why there is no picture. To be fair, I wasn’t completely true to the recipe as I substituted the vanilla Stevia for another sugar alternative and actual vanilla. But I don’t believe that made a difference as it was the texture that was impossible for me to get over. The idea still sounds good, which is why I went ahead and included it in this list. I would love to hear if any of you try it and have a different result!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.