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5 holiday drinks you can make at home

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NOVEMBER 24, 2014

November is more than halfway over, and chances are you’ve had at least one pumpkin spice latte by now. In fact, we think it’s pretty safe to say you’ve had more than one … or two … or three. The PSL isn’t your style? What about a peppermint mocha or a cinnamon hazelnut latte? We may not want to admit it, but we’ve definitely spent an embarrassing amount of money this fall on all kinds of holiday drinks, and we’re starting to feel the dent it’s making in our wallets … not to mention our egos. It doesn’t matter who you are — when you have to order a grande Cinnamon Chestnut Mocha Frappuccino with whipped cream, identity crises do start to occur. But have no fear! We at the Clog have provided you with a list of recipes to help you save both your budget and your reputation while you still get to enjoy winter in a cup.

1. Pumpkin spice latte

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Yes, thanks to the kitchn, the crowd favorite can be whipped up right in your own apartment.

Makes two drinks:
  • 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more to garnish (use this recipe if you don’t have any on hand)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 to 2 shots espresso (about 1/4 cup) or 1/3 to 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped until firm peaks form


  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the pumpkin with the pumpkin pie spice and a generous helping of black pepper for two minutes, or until it’s hot and smells cooked. Stir constantly.
  2. Add the sugar and stir until the mixture looks like a bubbly, thick syrup.
  3. Whisk in the milk and the vanilla extract. Warm the mixture gently over medium heat, watching carefully to make sure it doesn’t boil over.
  4. Carefully process the milk mixture with a hand blender or in a traditional blender until frothy and blended. (Tip: Hold the lid down tightly with a thick wad of towels.)
  5. Make the espresso or coffee and divide between two mugs and add the frothed milk. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon or nutmeg if desired.

2. Peppermint mocha latte

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Elise Schwartz over at Healing Cuisine provides you with everything you need to get the first taste of the winter holiday season in your favorite mug rather than a throw-away paper cup. Much cozier.

Makes two drinks:

  • 2 cups hot coffee or 5 to 8 shots espresso
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao or cocoa powder
  1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm together the almond milk, coconut milk and cocoa powder. The heat will help the cocoa powder dissolve fully. Once warmed, stir in the hot coffee.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients from your “options” of choice. Taste it for sweetness. You may wish to add stevia or peppermint ingredient to taste. Pour it into two mugs, and enjoy!
  • Top your lattes with a festive touch using cocoa powder, whipped coconut milk, crushed all-natural candy cane, shaved chocolate or fresh mint leaves.

3. Chai tea latte

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You can enjoy these at cafes year round, but that doesn’t make them any less appealing when the weather gets colder. Taste Of Home helps us make them ourselves!

Makes two drinks:


  • 2 individual tea bags
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons refrigerated French vanilla nondairy creamer
  • optional: whipped topping and ground nutmeg


  1. Place the tea bags, cinnamon, ginger and allspice in the coffee filter of a drip coffeemaker. Add water, and brew according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the milk, brown sugar and creamer. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture is heated through and the sugar is dissolved. Pour the milk mixture into mugs, and stir in the tea. Dollop the tea with a whipped topping and sprinkle it with nutmeg, if desired.

4. Gingerbread latte

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Starbucks At Home has you covered if you’re feeling a cookie-in-a-cup type of way.

Makes two drinks:


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup espresso (fresh)
  • 8 ounces milk (steamed with a little foam)
  • whipped cream
  • ground nutmeg


  1. Make the gingerbread syrup by combining water, sugar, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Be sure the pan is not too small, or the mixture could easily boil over. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer syrup, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat when it’s done, and slap a lid on it.
  2. Make a double shot of espresso (1/2 cup), using an espresso machine. Use the machine to steam 8 ounces of milk, or heat up the milk in the microwave if your machine does not foam and steam milk.
  3. Make your latte by first adding 1/2 cup espresso to a 16-ounce cup. Add 1/4 cup gingerbread syrup, followed by the steamed milk. Stir. Top off the drink with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

5. Eggnog latte

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What’s better than a classic holiday drink? A classic holiday drink with the word “latte” at the end of it. Thanks, Sweet Pea Chef.

Makes one drink:


  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup eggnog
  • 1/2 cup prepared, unflavored coffee at double concentration (or 2 shots espresso)
  • optional (but oh so tasty): a pinch of ground nutmeg


  1. To make the steamed milk, there are two methods: 1) Use a stick blender, or 2) use a large glass jar with a tight lid.
  2. Pour the milk, eggnog and sugar into a microwave-safe jar or cup. I use the mixing cup that came with my stick blender.
  3. Use either the stick blender or your hands, and shake or mix the milk mixture vigorously for 30 to 45 seconds. Stop when the mixture appears to have doubled in volume due to air bubbles.
  4. Remove the cover, if applicable, and place the mixture into the microwave. Heat on high for 30 to 45 seconds, or until the mixture starts to bubble up almost to the top of the jar. Take care not to let the milk mixture overflow from the jar or bubble too much then fall flat.
  5. Repeat these two steps (shaking then heating) a second time until the milk is nice and frothy.
  6. Pour the hot prepared coffee (or espresso) into the bottom of a deep mug. Holding back the milk foam with a spoon, carefully pour the milk mixture into the coffee. Do not stir. Gently spoon the foam over the top. Sprinkle the drink with some freshly grated (or ground) nutmeg, if you wish.

Image Sources: aya pedronsilvia-elisa, James Warwick, Nathan Cooke, feministjulie, Arlen Tees via Creative Commons

Contact Summer Langton at [email protected].

NOVEMBER 23, 2014