Five Must-Try Winter Drinks Made Sustainably

by | Dec 10, 2021 | Food

A top-down photo of someone outside in the snow, holding a mug of hot cocoa while wearing mittens. The cocoa has marshmallows and a peppermint candy cane.

Happy holidays, everyone! It’s time to bundle up in cozy sweaters, break out holiday decorations, prepare for another delicious family dinner, and what else? Make your own holiday drinks… with some healthy FLOSN twists! We’ve recently discovered some amazing holiday drink recipes that will have you skipping the Starbucks line in favor of sustainable hot drinks you can make at home. Enjoy these recipes and the holidays ahead.

 

Lavender Infused Milk
By Irena from Country Hill Cottage

 

A close up of lavender flowers.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Lavender infused milk, also known as lavender moon milk, is a wellness drink that not only has the calming and soothing flavor of lavender, but also includes chamomile, vanilla, ashwagandha, and honey! Lavender milk tastes slightly sweet and floral with a hint of lavender flavor. Yum!

Lavender moon milk originated in India, and is perfect to help you relax after a long day with calming effects that can promote relaxation, aid in sleep, calm nerves, lift your mood, and reduce anxiety. This is the perfect drink to complete your nighttime routine! Click here to check out the full recipe.

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 cup unsweetened milk of your choice (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1/2 tsp dried culinary lavender (or 4 to 5 fresh lavender spikes) 
  • 1/2 tsp dried chamomile 
  • 1/4 tsp ashwagandha root powder 
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract or the seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean 
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup or more to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 tbsp natural food coloring or fruit powder

 

HOW TO MAKE:

  1. Mix. Add the milk, lavender, chamomile, ashwagandha powder, vanilla, and food coloring into a small saucepan. Whisk together.
  2. Infuse. Warm over medium heat on the stove. Stirring occasionally, heat for 5 minutes, so the ingredients have time to infuse in the milk. A mild simmer with a little steam is best. Reduce the heat if lavender milk begins to boil.
  3. Strain. Take the lavender milk off the heat and strain through a fine-mesh tea sieve into a cup or mug.
  4. Sweeten. Stir in the honey or maple syrup.
  5. Froth. Optionally, froth the lavender milk tea with a milk frother to create soft lavender foam.
  6. Serve. Enjoy! You can optionally dress up your lavender latte by sprinkling dried flowers on top. 

 

Sustainable tip: The best part about this recipe is the fact that dried spices and herbs, such as lavender, chamomile, and ashwagandha root powder, are super eco-friendly! Not only can you harvest them in season, but once dried, they last forever! If you aren’t able to grow or forage your own herbs and spices, you can always purchase them from a local green grocer or farmer’s market! Dried spices are affordable, sustainable, and perfect for many recipes!

 

Golden Latte
By Sophie Godwin from BBC Good Food
A top down photo of a turmeric latte in a blue coffee cup on a blue saucer. The latte has milk art in the shape of a leaf on top, and the latte itself is a goldenrod color. In the background there is a whisk and a potted flower.

Photo by Paulo Evangelista on Unsplash

 

Ever heard of a golden latte? No, it doesn’t have real gold, rather something even better: turmeric! This ancient spice is a member of the ginger family and is responsible for giving curry its bright yellow color. Lucky for us in this modern age, we have easy access to incredible spices like turmeric. We love Simply Organic’s ground turmeric root, which my mom even stores in bulk because it’s so beneficial and useful for so many things (food and otherwise)!  

Incredible health benefits of turmeric include helping the body combat heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, regulate inflammation in the body, and recover from conditions such as strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, and more

Delicately sweet and soul soothing, golden lattes are perfect for any time of year, but especially great for those cozy holiday nights with your loved ones. Click here for the full recipe and enjoy!

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1.5 cups milk (dairy or non-dairy) 
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric 
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • Grind of black pepper

 

HOW TO MAKE:

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and whisk constantly over a gentle heat, ideally with a milk frother, if you have one. Once hot, pour into mugs and sprinkle with a little more cinnamon to serve.

 

Here’s a secret cheat for an even faster, easier golden latte! Use Numi Organic Tea’s Turmeric Chai Golden Latte or Gaia Herbs’ Golden Milk powder. Plus, Numi Organic Tea bags contain zero plastic, contrary to most tea bags on the market right now, and Gaia’s jar of powder lasts for many scoops and lattes.

 

Hot Cocoa
By Allison from Celebrating Sweets
Three mugs of hot chocolate. At top left the cocoa is topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. At bottom left the mug is garnished with a cinnamon stick laying across the top of the mug. To the right, the cocoa is topped with whipped cream and shaved chocolate, with a cinnamon stick in the cocoa. The table is dressed with small gold ornaments, pine sprigs, a pinecone, and fake snow.

Photo by Ruth Georgiev on Unsplash

 

Is there anything that screams “It’s the holidays!” more than hot cocoa? Not a chance. And with this amazingly simple, scrumptious, oh-so chocolatey hot cocoa recipe we recently discovered, it’ll feel like the holidays every time you take a sip. Bask in your cup of chocolate heaven, and enjoy!

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips
  • 1-2 drops vanilla extract

 

HOW TO MAKE:

  • Place the milk of your choice in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  • Whisk in cocoa powder and sugar, and heat until warm.
  • Once warm, add chocolate chips, whisking until they melt into the milk.
  • Add a splash of vanilla extract.
  • Serve immediately, topped with your favorite garnishes: marshmallows, whipped cream, chopped chocolate, crushed candy canes and more.

 

Sustainable tip: No matter what type of milk you like to use, it’s important to ensure good quality with no harmful ingredients! Straus Family Creamery is one of our amazing partners that truly lives up to our FLOSN (Fresh, Local, Organic, Seasonal, Nutritious) motto. This hot cocoa is a tried-and-true recipe with so much delicious flavor and wholesome ingredients, so give it a try! You will not be disappointed.

 

Peppermint Tea
By Dominique from Perchance to Cook
A close up of mint leaves in a glass, with a spoon.

Photo by Eduardo Cano Photo Co. on Unsplash

 

Did you know that conventional tea bags contain up to 25% plastic? According to the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, steeping a single plastic tea bag at brewing temperature releases about 11.6 billion microplastic particles and 3.1 billion nanoplastics into each cup.

However, there are a few ways to avoid plastic in tea bags. Try brewing loose leaf tea, choose brands that don’t have plastic in their tea bags such as Numi Organic Tea, or use tea crystals. 

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • Boiling water
  • Honey
  • Fresh mint leaves

 

HOW TO MAKE:

  • Boil water.
  • Pour boiling hot water into a mug.
  • Add fresh mint leaves and honey.
  • Mix and let the mint leaves steep for 3-5 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

 

This amazing homemade peppermint tea recipe really uses only 3 ingredients and contains no plastic!

 

Sustainable tip: You can grow your own mint leaves at home (inside or out!), or buy them from a local green grocer or farmer’s market. To make the mint last longer, dry the leaves and store in a glass jar. Not only is this a more sustainable option, since you won’t have to keep buying fresh herbs all the time, but you’ll be able to make this refreshing and calming tea whenever you’d like year-round.

 

Chestnut Praline Latte
By Kelley from Mom Makes Dinner
A white ceramic bowl of shelled chestnuts on a wooden surface, with acorns scattered in front and to the side of the bowl. In the background there are fall leaves and small pumpkins.

Photo by Tijana Drndarski on Unsplash

 

Do you ever crave those delicious Starbucks holiday drinks, but dread spending so much for one? Now, you can make them at home! The chestnut praline latte is new to the holiday drinks list, but already a fan favorite. Once you try this amazing copycat recipe, you’ll understand why!

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

For the syrup

  • 5-6 chestnuts, in the shell
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup water

For the praline crumble

  • 1/2 cup pecans, shelled
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 shots of espresso, or 1 cup strong coffee
  • 8 ounces of steamed milk
  • Whipped cream

 

HOW TO MAKE:

For the chestnut syrup

  • Cut 3/4 way around the nut, not cutting all the way through.
  • Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees. The shell will start to separate from the meat inside when they are ready.
  • Let them cool and pull off the shell.
  • Coarsely chop them and put them in a food processor.
  • In a small saucepan add the sugar and water. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the cooled mixture to the food processor along with the vanilla extract.
  • Puree until smooth. Filter it through a mesh sieve and set aside.

For the praline crumble

  • In a saucepan, dissolve the sugar and water together.
  • Toss the pecans in the water mixture and coat.
  • Remove from the saucepan and place them in a 350 oven for 10 minutes, or until the liquid hardens.
  • Add the praline pecans and the brown sugar to a cleaned food processor and pulse until coarse. Set aside.

Assemble the chestnut praline latte

  • Add 2-3 tablespoons of chestnut syrup to a cup.
  • Add the hot espresso or hot coffee and stir to combine.
  • Pour in the steamed milk.
  • Top with the whipped cream and then the praline crumble topping.
  • Enjoy!

 

Sustainable tip: Try to find chestnuts and pecans from your local farmer’s market or green grocer, if you’re lucky enough to have them near you! If you can’t find them locally, make sure to check the packaging to see where nuts are coming from and how they were grown. The closer the product’s origin, the less CO2 and other pollution was put into the air for transportation. 

 

Added bonus: Here is an extensive list of at-home Starbucks holiday drink recipes. You’ll never have to wait in line again! 

 

There is truly nothing in the world like cozying up to a homemade warm drink, especially during the winter season! So next time you get home from a long, stressful day at work, or just need something to help calm down, whip one of these delicious holiday drinks with FLOSN ingredients, cozy up on the couch, put on a good holiday movie, and relax. You deserve it! Happy holidays and drink up!

 

Author

  • Meredith graduated from Stony Brook University in May 2021 where she studied Environmental Studies and Psychology. She has always been passionate about the environment and influencing the people around her to practice sustainability in their everyday lives. She is thrilled to be an intern at Turning Green, and is very excited to see how this experience will shape her future in environmental work! She loves to travel, and her dream is to live in as many countries as possible during her lifetime, all while advocating and educating others about how to live an environmentally-conscious lifestyle. Some of her favorite things to do are travel, cook plant-based meals, go on nature hikes, continue to learn about the environment, and read Harry Potter, Nicholas Sparks, and John Green books!