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4 Warm Drinks for Cold Nights

4 warm drinks for cold nights

Sipping a warm drink on a cool Fall evening or cold Winter night is nostalgic and cozy.

Many times these drinks are packed with extra calories. That’s not a bad thing if it’s a rare treat or a special occasion. But it can become an obstacle for your goals if you want to enjoy one regularly, especially if your goal is to lose weight.

So I’ve come up with 4 recipes that have simple swaps to lower the calories (and sugar!). They’re still more of a treat than not, but if it’s a choice between this and a run to Starbucks, you’re gonna come out ahead with these recipes.

If you try one, I’d love to hear about it! (You can email me, Megan, here:

1. Pumpkin Pie Hot Chocolate

I love that this recipe has a veggie in it. Eat more veggies y’all!


6 Tbsp. pureed pumpkin (fresh or from a can)

1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice, plus more for sprinkling

3 cups milk (regular or non-dairy alternative)

⅓ cup cocoa powder

½ cup sugar (or your favorite sweetener)

½ tsp vanilla extract


Mix pumpkin and Pumpkin Pie Spice in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 min. until fragrant. Add 1/4 cup of the milk and stir until smooth. Add cocoa powder, sugar and another 1/2 cup of the milk and stir into a smooth paste. Stir in remaining milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until hot and just starting to bubble around the sides. Pour into mugs and enjoy :)

2. Orange Turmeric Toddy

Fun Fact: Turmeric contains curcumin which is shown to reliably reduce inflammation and increase antioxidants in the body. (Source:

Does that mean you should start downing the turmeric? No. But if you enjoy it, it’s a great thing to incorporate into your diet on occasion.


2 teaspoons turmeric powder

1- inch piece ginger peeled and minced

3 cloves

2 cardamom pods

2 anise stars

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

4 cups water

Juice from 1 lemon

1 tablespoon honey


Add the ginger, turmeric, spices and water to a medium soup pot and bring to boil over low heat.

Simmer for 5 minutes over low heat, then strain and let cool until comfortable to drink.

Add the lemon juice, honey and bourbon (if using) and mix well before serving.

Divide into serving glasses, garnish with anise stars, if desired, and serve.

3. Horchata

We love horchata in our house, but Seth can only have so much dairy before it starts to ruin his day (and sometimes ours if I’m being honest). Fortunately this particular recipe is dairy free!


1 c. long-grain white rice, rinsed and thoroughly drained

1 cinnamon stick

6 c. water, divided

1 c. almond milk

1/3 c. Medjool dates, pitted *

2-3 T. honey *

1 t. vanilla extract

½ c. raw almonds

*Swap the dates and honey with ½ cup to 1 cup of sugar, if you prefer.


1. Add rice, cinnamon stick, and 4 cups of very warm water to a medium-sized bowl. Let soak overnight at room temperature, or until the rice softens and the cinnamon stick is soft enough to break into several smaller pieces.

2. Transfer the rice mixture to a high-powered blender and blend to combine. Add 2 cups cold water, almond milk, dates, 2 tablespoons honey, vanilla extract, and almonds. Blend until thoroughly combined and no large solids remain. Taste and add additional honey, if desired.

3. Strain the contents of the blender with a fine-weave mesh strainer and 1-2 layers of cheesecloth. When finished, discard remaining solids in the strainer and transfer the reserved liquid to a pitcher or other container.

4. To serve warm: Heat the horchata gently over medium-low heat. Serve with whole cinnamon sticks or a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, for garnish. Enjoy!

4. Mulled Apple Cider

This recipe doubles as an aromatic for your house!


5-6 medium apples (assorted types), quartered

1 orange, peeled & quartered

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 tablespoon whole cloves

8 cups water, more or less

1/4 cup sweetener (Anything you’d like!)

Optional extra seasonings:

  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice,

  • 1/2 whole nutmeg

  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger

  • 2 Chai tea bags

  • ½ teaspoon cardamom seeds

Slow Cooker Instructions:

Combine your ingredients in a slow cooker. Add the apples, oranges, and spices of choice to the bowl of a slow cooker. Then cover with water, leaving about an inch or two of space at the top of the slow cooker.

Simmer. Cover and cook the apple cider on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours, until the apples are completely soft.

Mash the apples and oranges. Using a potato masher or a wooden spoon, take a minute to mash all of the apples and oranges against the side of the slow cooker bowl to release more of their flavors. Then cover and let the cider simmer a bit longer.

Strain. Then, using a fine-mesh strainer or a cheesecloth, strain out all of the solids (apples, oranges, spices), pressing them against the strainer to release all of their juices. Then discard the solids.

Sweeten. Stir in your desired amount of sweetener, to taste.

Serve warm. (Freezes great but keeps in the fridge for 5 days.)


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