The winter is out and it’s time to try other than the usual warm drinks coffee and tea to keep yourself warm in the nights. Though the study says that most of us consume coffee than other hot beverage, here are some interesting hot beverages advised by the chefs, food bloggers, and cookbook authors.


Sahlep: Turkey, Greece, Middle East


Salep is made from the tubers of several types of orchid that grow in the Middle East, Turkey, Greece, and India. It’s used more for its starchy, thickening qualities than it is for its mild taste.


According to the Oxford Companion to Food, salep is often used to make a hot or cold drink that can be flavored with sugar and orange water, rosewater or cinnamon; it also gives an elastic quality to certain ice creams. In the book, author Alan Davidson writes, “Salep itself is almost tasteless and its thickening qualities are not readily distinguishable from those of arrowroot, potato starch, and cornflour.”


To make salep, the orchid tubers are blanched, dried and then ground. It’s said to be nutritious and is fed to children and invalids.


Atole: Mexico

Atole is a traditional Mexican warm beverage made from masa harina, the type of corn flour that is traditionally used to make corn tortillas. It is a popular breakfast dish that dates back to the time of the Aztecs and Mayans. It is traditionally drunk at celebrations of Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, a celebration that happens on November 1 and 2 to celebrate and remember those who have passed away.


Caffe d’Orzo: Italy


This drink is not espresso or coffee at all, but caffè d’orzo, an Italian coffee substitute made from “orzo” — barley. Barley coffee is made from roasted ground barley grains, which can be put through a regular coffee maker or espresso maker. It doesn’t have caffeine, obviously, so children or caffeine-avoiders can enjoy it.


How did it taste? Not like espresso, that’s for certain! It had an earthy, slightly bitter taste, with less body and richness than real espresso. I can’t imagine substituting this for my own daily cup of coffee, but I do think that the taste was interesting and refreshing so it could stand on its own merits. It reminded me naturally of the cold barley tea I like to drink in the summertime.


Warm Soy Milk: Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan

If you’re allergic to dairy, lactose intolerant or you just aren’t crazy about the taste of dairy milk, reach for soy milk as a comparable alternative. It generally has a longer shelf life than dairy milk, and some types of packaged soy milk can be stored at room temperature for months, which helps eliminate waste caused by food spoilage. Soy milk also has a number of nutritional advantages, although some varieties of soy milk come loaded with sugar, which can pose a health risk.


Malted Milk: Britain, India, and Southeast Asia

Malted milk was first invented, so it is usually claimed, by William Horlick of Racine, Wisconsin, perhaps as early as 1870.


A patent was filed in 1883, and it was introduced to the market in 1887. It was a mixture of powdered whole milk, malted barley, and wheat.


Curiously, this was probably the first whole milk powder that didn’t go rancid very quickly, owing to being thoroughly mixed with the dry ingredients, which may have coated the fat globules and so protected them somewhat from oxidation. You will have noticed that powdered milk sold today is usually nonfat.


As we shall see, it is not at all clear that Horlick was the true and first inventor.


Sbiten: Russia


Sbiten is a traditional Russian hot beverage, very much loved by Russians in the winter time. It was first mentioned in chronicles in the 12 century and was very popular till the 19th century when was substituted with tea and coffee.


Like mead, sbiten’s main ingredient is honey mixed with water, spices, and jam. Comparing sbiten to kvass, it is very simple to prepare.


Pinol: Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico

Pinolillo, also known as pinol, is a cornmeal and cocoa beverage very popular in Nicaragua. So popular in fact, that Nicaraguans often refer to themselves as pinoleros. Costa Ricans love it too.


Rich and somewhat gritty, pinolillo is an ancient drink and is traditionally served in a dried gourd shell. While instant powder can be bought in many Latin markets, here’s how you can make your own.

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