5 Hot and Healthy Drinks for Winter

Growing up in Southern California, the land of eternal summer, I tend to romanticize snow storms. I am almost embarrassed to admit the number of times I imagined myself lying on a (faux) bear rug in front of a flickering fire place. My outfit of choice was typically a cozy oversized sweater and knee high socks. And there was usually a good book in one hand and a hot beverage in the other. So when Old Man Winter blew into town last weekend and dumped over two feet of snow on NYC, I seized the chance to stay in, stay warm, and live out my dream.

While I don't have a fireplace or a bear rug, I do love wearing a cozy sweater, reading a good book, and sipping tea when the temperature drops. If you are anything like me, you may have been on the lookout for some new drinks to add into the rotation. My five current favorites are below.

Each recipe (I use that term loosely) is simple, just 4 ingredients or less, not including the water, milk, or sweetener, and they all happen to be super healthy. All of the ingredients have anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Some even fight against bacteria and viruses. But most importantly, they are tasty. Feel free to play around with the measurements. Find what you like and enjoy. Happy sipping, pinkies up!

Apple(less) Cider- Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves

This one tastes like apple cider, minus the apple. Simply place a cinnamon stick or two, an inch of coarsely chopped or grated ginger, 1/16 of a tsp of nutmeg, a few whole cloves, and 1 1/4 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Strain or not, your call. Feel free to add honey or your favorite sweetener. If you have some apple cider on hand, it sure couldn't hurt to use it in place of water...

Three Cs Hot Chocolate- Cocoa, cayenne, and cinnamon

Here is my take on Mexican hot chocolate. Just add 1 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and 1/8 tsp of cinnamon to 1 cup of warm milk. Dairy or non-dairy works. Sweeten as you see fit. Add a tsp of coconut oil and a few drops of vanilla extract for an extra special treat.

Sweet, Sour, and Spicy- Ginger, lemon, and honey

Battling some nausea due to pregnancy, PMS, or just 'cause? Give this a go. Grate 1 inch of ginger into a mug, squeeze in the juice from a quarter of a lemon, and add a tsp of honey. Pour a cup of boiling water over your mixture and let steep. Wait until it cools a bit and sip happily.

Ponyboy- Turmeric, pepper, ginger, and cinnamon

The spice of the year, at least in my mind, is definitely turmeric. Curry and mustard are probably the way it makes its way into most of our diets. Fortunately, curry and the world's second best condiment (second only to Sriracha) are not the only way to enjoy it. It makes for a nice warm drink too.

Mix together 1/2 tsp of turmeric, a pinch of black pepper, 1/8 tsp of ground ginger or an inch of fresh grated ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon together. Add 1 cup of hot water or milk.

If you go with water or fat free milk, I suggest you drink this with a snack or meal that has some fat in it. Fat, like pepper, helps our bodies absorb curcumin, one of the things that makes turmeric so good for us.

Matcha- Matcha powder

Just follow the directions on the back of the tin or box of matcha you have in the house. Doctor it up with ginger or lychee juice if you are looking for a new way to drink an old favorite.

What is your favorite steamy drink to enjoy this time of year?