The festive season is just as much about warming hot drinks as it is about bubbly chilled ones. The advent of the red takeaway cups brings with it a range of festive-flavoured alternatives to your morning coffee, cheering us up as the days get shorter and colder. But thanks to their dependence on flavoured syrups, these drinks can up your daily sugar intake just as quickly as they empty your purse.
But it's just as easy to make yourself a warming, festive drink at home. Perfect for serving at a Christmas party or gathering, or just taking into work in a flask in the morning - or to bed in the evening. Although they couldn't be classed as health drinks, the reduced sugar content - and cost - should have you feeling just that little more virtuous, not to mention Christmassy.
Have a look at our favourite festive recipes below:
Images courtesey of Mira Manek
We may all love our chai tea lattes for their sweet taste, but they are wildly different from their Asian origins. Chef and journalist Mira Manek demonstrates how to make a traditional masala chai by mixing up a batch of spices in advance so that we can make a delicious chai drink in moments. A simple recipe is below:
To make a chai mix, combine 100g each of ground ginger, cinnamon powder and ground cardamom, 50g ground pepper and 1 tablespoon each of clove powder and ground nutmeg for around 30-40 cups worth of chai.
Pour half a mug of water and half a mug of almond milk into a pan, add quarter of a teaspoon, or even less, of the chai masala mix, a teaspoon or a teabag of black tea and then grate some ginger into the mixture while it boils. Strain the tea and add a touch of Agave or honey to sweeten.
For more recipes from Mira Manek and news on the release of her debut cookbook Green Daal Stories visit miramanek.com
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Eggnog is an all-American Christmas favourite, only available throughout November and December - and you can find it in your coffee thanks to Starbucks' seasonal Eggnog Lattes. Make your own by adding cinnamon, nutmeg and cream to egg white to add a boozy touch to an after dinner coffee.
Pumpkin spice steamer
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We may associate them most with Halloween, but pumpkins are usually in season throughout the winter, and make a delicious addition to any hot drink. The taste of Starbucks' famous Pumpkin Spice Latte can be recreated caffeine-free, with almond milk, vanilla and pumpkin spice.
Vegan hot chocolate
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Costa may be offering a hot chocolate with miniature brownies on top this Christmas but a just-as-moreish version can be created using this vegan recipe with cocoa powder and almond milk. And making it in the comfort of your own home means you can enjoy it curled up in bed with your favourite book.
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Gingerbread houses are a key part of many people's Christmas traditions, and so now are Gingerbread lattes, available at Costa and Starbucks. But with a few spices it's easy to make your own - bonus points for serving in a retro-style jamjar.
Orange hot chocolate
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Take on the mighty Terry's Chocolate Orange with this homemade orange hot chocolate. Orange peel adds an extra zing to a warming hot chocolate recipe that can be made in minutes.
Roasted chestnut latte
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Nero's Chestnut Latte has us singing about chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but there's no need to go away from said open fire to get the drink when it's just as easy to mix up the flavour at home.
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Who doesn't love grabbing a mulled cider at a Christmas market? Starbucks even have their own version in the US. But if you fancy cooking up a pan of the stuff to serve at a party, look to this recipe flavoured with cinnamon and caramel.
Butterscotch hot chocolate
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Our favourite pudding sauce and our favourite drink come together in this take on Costa's Sticky Toffee hot chocolate. With just eight ingredients and a saucepan, you can create the drink of your dreams in no time.
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Starbucks' new concotion for this year's festive season is the Chesnut Praline latte and has been getting fans of the chain's Christmas beverages more than excited. Create your own version with pecans and a sugar syrup.
Words: Victoria Gray, Images: via Pinterest