With the holiday season quickly approaching and lots of extra time spent in our homes, what better time than now to start making some festive holiday drinks to spice up your life. From recreation of fan favorite Starbucks drinks, to just good ol’ fashioned wholesome winter beverages, I’ve created a run-down of my go-to seasonal drinks to hopefully bring a little cheer to this chaotic time.
Pumpkin cream cold brew
Were you a fan of Starbucks’ pumpkin cream cold brews and are devastated at the thought of not being able to get one year round? Fear not because I’ve found a recipe to recreate the delicious autumnal cold foam, so you can make it whenever you want to be transported back to fall.
Cold brew of your choosing, half-and-half (or a non-dairy substitute), sugar, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract and pumpkin spice. An optional tool you can use if you happen to have it lying around is a milk frother. The quantities of each ingredient will vary based on how large a batch you want to make.
The best rule of thumb when making it is to add half the amount of pumpkin puree to your mix as you do your half-and-half, so as not to have an overpowering pumpkin flavor. The rest of the ingredients can be added to taste.
In a medium saucepan on low to medium heat, combine pumpkin puree, half-and-half, sugar and pumpkin spice. Whisk all the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture starts to boil lightly. Do not bring it to a full boil.
Remove the saucepan from the burner and turn off the flame. Wait a few minutes for the mixture to cool down then whisk in the vanilla extract. By now the mixture should have taken on the consistency of cake batter or deflated whipped cream.
Wait until the mixture is completely cooled down (20 to 30 minutes), then run it through a fine strainer and store in a mason jar in the fridge. You are good to go if you want to use it that day, but in my opinion, it tastes the best when it’s had time to sit in the fridge for a day and absorb all the flavors.
If you take it out the next day and it looks a little flat, run your milk frother or a handheld beater through it to fluff it up.
If you enjoyed the pumpkin spice while it lasted, but are ready to move onto the winter flavors, this next drink is for you. Starbucks’ fan favorite peppermint mochas are many peoples’ go to drink around the holidays, but with COVID-19 cases rising many are opting to stay home rather than get food and drinks to go.
This next recipe comes really close to the beloved flavor of a peppermint mocha, but with the added bonus of being able to customize it to your personal taste.
¾ cups to 1 cup of milk or dairy substitute, 2 tablespoons of sugar or sugar substitute, 1 ½ tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, ¾ cup or 1 cup (amount should be the same as your measurement for dairy) of drip coffee, mint and vanilla extract to taste and whipped cream to top it off.
In a small saucepan on medium to low heat, combine milk, cocoa and sugar. Stir the mixture until it comes to a very light boil, or until the sugar has dissolved. Do not bring it to a complete boil. Then add in the espresso and the mint and vanilla extract.
Wait for the mixture to cool a little (it will solidify in texture as well slightly), then pour it into your favorite mug, top it off with some whipped cream or mini marshmallows and enjoy.
Ryan Meza is a senior studying broadcast and electronic media. He works at Dutch Bros near campus and has the inside scoop on all the best holiday drinks to order if you and your fellow Zags want to mask up and venture off campus.
“A lot of people order the candy cane cold brew. It’s our peppermint flavoring with chocolate milk, along with our cold brew.” You can substitute it with the nitro cold brew as well if you wanted to. We then top it off with ‘soft top’ which is a sweet cream topping, and we finish it off with chocolate drizzle and candy cane sprinkles,” Meza said.
The “snowberry Rebel” is also a popular drink this time of year at Dutch. The drink is made with blackberry Rebel and finished off with the same “soft top” as the candy cane cold brew. It’s finished off with some festive blue sprinkles.
In terms of what Meza’s favorite seasonal drinks to make at work are, he’s a fan of their candy cane mochas and their “peppermint bark” which is a blended coffee drink, made with chocolate, white chocolate and their peppermint flavoring. It’s topped off with some whipped cream, chocolate drizzle and candy cane sprinkles.
“Our eggnog lattes are super fun to make too,” Meza said. “Instead of the regular 2% milk we’ll replace the milk with eggnog and we top it off with “cinnameg” which is cinnamon and nutmeg, and also soft top as well. The sprinkles look really cool on the soft top, and it just looks really pleasing and delicious as well.”
One of the most exciting parts of the limited-edition drink season is all the secret menu items to try out. Meza recommends a graham cracker coffee, which is made with vanilla, white chocolate, caramel and chocolate macadamia nut and it tastes exactly like a graham cracker, and is a fun little secret not many people know about.
In terms of what drinks he likes to make for himself in the winter time, Meza loves making a chai latte and substituting eggnog for regular milk.
“Somebody ordered it and I made a little extra on accident, and I had a sip and it was the best ever,” Meza said. “I highly recommend eggnog chai’s with a little bit of cinnamon sprinkles. It’ll change your life.”
*recipe originally taken from thereciperebel.com and adjusted.
For those Zags who are 21 or older, mulled wine is an easy drink to prepare, and always a crowd pleaser. I took inspiration from a recipe from Delish.com and simplified it down even more, to make a foolproof winter comfort drink.
One bottle of red wine, one and a half oranges, 5 cloves, 3 cinnamon sticks, 3 star anise (optional, because let’s be honest no college student has this), ¼ to 1/3 cups of honey and ½ cup of brandy (apple or grape juice is great and inexpensive substitute).
This part is crazy simple. In a medium to large saucepan or pot over medium heat (low heat is better if you have more time), combine all your ingredients. Cover the saucepan or pot and bring to a simmer, not a boil. The turn the heat down to low (if it was at low already turn it as low as possible without turning it off), then stir for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, wait for the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes, then serve and garnish as you please.
*recipe originally taken from delish.com and adjusted.