I couldn’t imagine motherhood without coffee—nor do I want to!
But I’ll grudgingly admit that there are times in one’s life when it’s worth exploring alternatives to the usual cup of joe. Take last month for example: I had a bad cold, and suddenly my usual morning coffee was strangely unappealing. Plain herbal tea wasn’t cutting it, but I still craved something warm and comforting. Luckily, I found plenty of options that can serve as respectable stand-ins for coffee, while offering their own delightful flavor.
Whether you’re looking to curb caffeine intake or you just want to savor a drink that’s not coffee but still warms your winter-weary heart, here are just a few cool-weather drinks that even the most committed coffee lovers—myself included—can smile about:
Warm Spiced Apple Juice
If you always liked hot apple cider growing up, give this one a try. Heat apple juice in the microwave or on the stove. Toss in an orange peel, a couple of whole cloves and cinnamon sticks, and steep for 5-10 minutes or longer, depending on how intense you prefer the spices to be. Enjoy!
Chicory Root Coffee
I only recently learned about chicory root coffee, a caffeine-free drink that has a similar taste and aroma to real coffee. However, mixing chicory with coffee is a tradition dating back to 19th century France. Today, the famous Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand in New Orleans serves its popular version of this drink mixed with hot milk. It’s easiest to purchase ground chicory online; retailers including Amazon offer a variety of brands. You can brew chicory just as you would your coffee and enjoy as is, or experiment with different amounts of chicory and coffee to find your perfect cup.
Fancy Hot Chocolate
Dress up your usual cocoa with a sprinkle of cinnamon, or, if you like more heat, a dusting of chili powder. For an extra kick, I like to throw a piece of dark chocolate in the mug and savor that melty goodness. This drink is best enjoyed while gazing out your window to see gently falling snow.
Steep thinly sliced, peeled ginger in a mug of heated lemonade. Garnish with a slice of fresh lemon or lime. Nursing a cold? A teaspoon of honey in this drink may help soothe a cough. I often make this concoction for my kids as well.
While not a warm drink, this smoothie is a welcome and nourishing option in the middle of winter. Combine coconut milk, a banana, ice, and your choice of the following: scoop of peanut or almond butter; chocolate syrup; or honey. Sprinkle with flaxseed granola for a crunchy topping. For a slightly thicker smoothie, use kefir in place of the milk. Kefir is a tummy-friendly, drinkable yogurt that offers a potent source of beneficial probiotics.