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5 Winter Drinks That Are Better Than Pumpkin Spice

Every fall it feels like pumpkin spice is on everyone’s lips. Literally, they’re chugging lattes by the gallon. It dominates the seasonal landscape, in candles and bath and body products and on every graphic tee. Thank goodness winter is coming and bringing some alternatives that I dare say are even better than pumpkins spice. I don’t know if you’ll be able to bathe in them or scent your home with them anytime soon, but for now, you can drink them. And that’s enough

Winter Rosé Wine

We rosé all day in summer, but did you know you can in winter too? Yes, the summer staple is perfect for those who want to make the darker, shorter days seem lighter and brighter with a wine of the same nature. The biggest difference you’ll see from a summer rosé is that a winter one is expected to be a darker shade of pink. We eat more for comfort in the colder season, reaching for rich, savory foods that are heavier than what we can handle in warmer weather. Fear not, because you can find a rose that pairs well with these seasonal foods. Look for a structured, full-bodied wine, maybe something with cherries or berries. The bottles on the shelves won’t have a high turnover rate as its summer cousin, so the flavors will age a bit to better complement your heartier meals. An added bonus? Rose is already an affordable wine option, but with everyone else reaching for heavy reds, you’ll likely score a good deal.

BENTON LANE PINOT NOIR ROSE(SC)16 - $20.67

Charles Heidsieck
Brut Rosé Reserve - $59.99

Golden Milk Lattes

Golden milk lattes have been trending for a while thanks to the reported health benefits of their superstar ingredient turmeric and its active compound curcumin. It’s said to boost immunity, something all of us want during peak flu season. Another reported benefit is helping improve mood and depression, especially helpful for those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s warm serving temperature and blends of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger makes it comforting and cozy for the season. Even its yellow color says made cool weather. It’s easy to make at home, with many brands offering mixes you add to milk and heat. To make an even healthier version, use plant-based milk. While there are no FDA studies proving the benefits of golden milk lattes, it certainly can’t hurt to imbibe occasionally.

Brandless
Organic Unsweetened Golden Milk Mix - $9.00

Cosmic Gold
Adaptogenic Turmeric Latte by Moon Juice - $40.00

Spiced Craft Brews

Craft brews are all the rage, but try something a little different for the season with a spiced beer. These seem to be the biggest in the stout category. Like many spiced winter foods, they have notes of cinnamon, ginger, and pepper balanced with vanilla for sweetness. Many contain everyone’s favorite duo of chocolate and coffee (or for those with another vice, tobacco). For an extra kick, some add cayenne, habanero, or chiles. Alcohol is a warming drink anyway, but these smooth flavor combos kick the heat up a notch and balance out a sometimes bitter beer taste. Find a bottled beer for home or try draft options when dining out, these brews make grabbing a cold one fun even in the cold. Think of them as the après-ski version of your grilling out Corona. Even the guys will want to grab one.

Jackie O Oro
Negro 12.7oz Sng bt - $19.99

Perennial Artisan Ales
Working Title 750ml - $64.99

Non-Alcoholic Wellness Cocktails

Don’t call them mocktails because there’s nothing to mock. With more people moving to abstinence to support their health goals, virgin cocktails are becoming more inventive in both flavors and health-boosting ingredients. The buzzed-about benefits are anti-inflammation, antioxidants, antivirals, mood improvement, and relaxation without falling over. Ingredients like rosemary, ginger, honey and citrus add flavor while chamomile, herbs, spices, kombucha, nootropics and even CBD (in some areas) increase the health factor. While these are usually fruity, botanical summer drinks they can be seasonally appropriate when they’re more herbaceous. Instead of slowing you down, these sippers will brighten you up. Brands and recipe sites are offering at-home options now, so don’t save these for a special occasion or even Dry January. Focus on the healthy aspect and stay away from mixers loaded with sugar. At the boutique bar and under 21, in recovery or pregnant? No problem! In its fancy glass, no one will question your crafty concoction.

Kin Euphorics
Kin Spritz by - $27.00

Kin Euphorics
High Rhode - $39.00

Drink: Kin Palo

Seedlip
Seedlip Garden - $30.00

Drink: From the Field

Seedlip
Seedlip Grove - $30.00

Drink: Light & Breezy

Chai Eggnog Latte

My personal favorite winter indulgence is another Starbucks creation, but unlike pumpkin spice, this one’s no longer on the menu - the Chai Eggnog Latte. A warm, cozy blend off chai tea spices made into a latte using eggnog instead of milk. Again, it highlights winter favorites ginger and cinnamon. A bit spicy, a little sweet, it's thicker and richer than a normal latte, but still drinkable. It’s not caffeine-free, so if you’re sensitive stick to mornings. It’s definitely not for the calorie or fat conscious. Great for tea lovers or coffee haters who want a warm beverage to sip on. Chai lattes are more of an indulgence or treat yo’ self than an everyday coffee replacement. Thank goodness they’re seasonal! I look forward to the specially designed cups that signal the winter release every year and mark the calendar chai eggnog latte day. Don’t worry, they will make it for you, menu or not, if you ask nicely.

The key to not-so-basic winter beverages seems to be combining traditional seasonal spices like cinnamon and nutmeg or flavors like eggnog, with unexpected ingredients like beer, herbs and peppers. An influence from India is felt with the chai and the turmeric. Health and wellness definitely seem to be a key player with natural forms of nootropics, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and immunity boosters.

The long days and bright sunshine of summer have a definite mood, a tangible quality you can feel. Maybe these drinks will help bring a little of that vibe to what can sometimes be a dull and dreary time of year.

Torani
Chai Eggnog Latte

See Recipe

Starbucks
Eggnog Latte

See Recipe

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