Hot drinks to ward off the winter chill…

Clouds of frosty breath and gloved hands cradling cups of mulled wine: this time of year is all about hot drinks you can enjoy alfresco. Whether you’re just enjoying the fresh air or are out and about Christmas shopping, a warm drink is the perfect pick-me-up.

Of course, you could head to your nearest Christmas market for a glug of glühwein or get in line at your nearest Starbucks for an eggnog or gingerbread latte, but take a look around and you’ll find many other street vendors, markets and coffee shops all with their own special brew for us chilly folk wandering the icy streets. Here are just a few to get you going.

The Healthy Choice
Big Juice Bar at St Nicholas Market in Bristol are serving up two choices of heart-warming hot beverages this winter. Doing what they do best, the ‘hot toddy’ is made up of various berries, mango and apple, while the ‘cold and flu buster’ provides you with a delicious blend of honey, Echinacea, apple and lemon. Both will warm your cockles and, as they are packed full of vitamins and other healthy stuff, will make you feel fighting fit. Plus St Nicholas Market is filled with plenty of great stalls, so you can grab some unique Christmas presents while you’re there.

A Traditional Treat
Treacle Market is a classic English market selling artisan crafts and fresh produce. Although popular all year round, Christmas is a when it is at its best. Yuletide visitors can enjoy Christmas shopping amidst the smell of roasting chestnuts – it’s a real treat to wander around all the local craft stalls, mug of mulled wine in hand.

Chocolate Indulgence
Rabot Estate in Borough Market London is the place to go for an exceptional hot chocolate. When the weather is biting, I defy you to be able to walk past the alluring aromas of hot chocolate and freshly prepared crêpes that emanate from this cute café. I say duck in and forget the pre-Christmas diet!

A Caffeine Hit
For coffee connoisseurs out and about this festive season, a rich espresso-based coffee to take the chill off will go down a treat. Get yours at Steampunk Coffee, a mobile café which has been a staple at the gates of Stockbridge Market since 2011. You won’t miss it: just follow the aroma of quality coffee and you’ll soon see the recognisable 1979 VW, Melvin. Stockbridge market runs every Sunday from 10am until 5pm.

Mull It Yourself
Alternatively, if you can’t find a trader of festive drinks near you, why not make your own to take with you? Mull some cider, pop it in a flask and head off on your merry way.

1.    Pop two pints of your favourite cider in a large pan and add to it 32g of brown sugar and a sprinkling of ground ginger.
2.    Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then throw in two cinnamon sticks and a teaspoon of cloves. Heat until the liquid begins to boil, add in an orange cut into wedges, and simmer for a few minutes until piping hot.
3.    You might need to strain out any bits, but otherwise just pour into your flask and enjoy.

What’s your favourite Christmassy hot drink?

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