<b>DINING OUT | </b>By Mina Williams Herald writer
With all the options, chasing the winter’s chill is close at hand … especially if that hand is wrapped around a steamy cup.
Northwesterners have long relied on a hot cup of Joe or a steamy sip of hot tea as the go-to means of chasing away winter’s chill. Now full complements of winter warmers, from classic coffee beverages to warm punches are available to help being comfort on a chilly day.
Filling your mug with coffee can now range from a simple “black” beverage and those hand crafted Italian-inspired coffee drinks to toddies. Coffee becomes an amped up drinkable dessert when the bean based beverages are blended with flavored syrups to mimic a piece of pumpkin pie, a candy cane, a candy bar or a caffeine-charged egg nog.
Warding off winter’s chill is also at hand with hot chocolate. Artisan chocolatiers have helped to expand that horizon, sourcing estate grown, organic and fair trade cocoa beans that each present a distinctive flavor profile. Add a dash of chili, some herbs or flavored syrup and the strict backbone of chocolate is automatically fleshed out into a sinfully soul satisfying winter warmer.
Even warm apple cider is getting mulled and spiced, sometimes given a dash of caramel flavor.
Tea has taken a turn as well. Sure the traditional black, green and herbals still hold their charm, but warm chai, the tea-based lattes like London Fog and the long list of tea-based punches are winning fans.
Then there are the winter warmers for the 21 and over set. Mulled wine, hot rum drinks, boozie coffee concoctions and brandy-based warmers are being created in kitchen oriented bars with a modern twist of fresh fruit juices and fresh herbs. For those bars that impress for success, the flaming beverages, such as Spanish coffee, are show stoppers.
WHAT OUR READERS LIKE
Hot apple cider with Captain Morgan spiced rum. Warms you up in so many ways.
Cappuccino, made at home.
Hot tea, English, made in my kitchen. I’m going to Maria’s…sounds like more fun.
Right now it is the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks.
Cellar temp Cabernet.
I’m a fan of Starbucks Soy Chai with just a splash of egg nog.