Nicola Galloway: Winter-warming hot drinks

No coffee? No problem. Opt for one of these soothing winter concoctions instead. 

Words and Images: Nicola Galloway 

Hot drinks are one of my favourite comforts. As a rare non-caffeine consumer there is a wonderful selection of different beverages to choose from. My drink of choice on any given day will depend on the time of year and mood.

In spring and summer, this is often a fresh herb tisane, cooled to room temperature when it is hot outside. Some regulars that grow freely in the garden include peppermint, lemon balm and lemon verbena – all herbs which bring a sense of calm and cooling. Excess fresh herbs are air-dried on trays and then stored in jars for year-round use.

On moody rainy days, I lean towards more creamy drinks for some extra comfort. Rooibos is a firm favourite with some chai spice, honey and a splash of milk. An afternoon pick-me-up may involve a few squares of 80 per cent chocolate simmered with half milk and half water, a splash of vanilla and a pinch of cinnamon. Served in a mug with a dollop of lightly whipped cream if I am feeling particularly in need of a warm hug.

When it comes to cold winter mornings there are two drinks I rotate. A pot of ginger tea that is not for the faint-hearted but brings a hum of warmth from the inside out. The other is a one-mug turmeric drink that involves a bit of this and a bit of that, to create a drink for some much-needed sunshine on winter days.


This tea has a spicy pungent kick that will give you a good wake-up. Add lemon and honey
to taste just enough to balance the heat, but it is the ginger that should be singing. You will
get two rounds out of the ginger before it needs to be composted and start again.

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Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Makes 4 serves

4-5cm piece of root ginger, coarsely grated
2 cups boiling water + 2 extra cups
squeeze of lemon

Place the ginger into a small saucepan. Cover with two cups boiling water and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Strain into two mugs. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and honey to taste.
Keep the grated ginger and prepare a second batch within 24 hours. Add another 2 cups of boiling water and repeat as above.


If I am feeling a little under the weather, or just need a little pick me up this is my go-to hot drink. Bringing a sense of sunshine and warmth. There are a few ingredients to gather but
once it becomes part of your morning rhythm it comes together quite easily.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Serves 1

Per cup/person:
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp finely grated ginger root
1 tsp ground turmeric or freshly grated
good grind of black pepper
pinch of salt
½-1 tsp honey
about 200ml boiling water

Squeeze the lemon juice into your favourite tea glass or mug. Add the ginger, turmeric, pepper, salt and honey and stir with a teaspoon to combine. Immediately pour over recently boiled water to fill the glass/mug and stir well to combine. Sip and enjoy, stirring as needed to combine.

Nicola Galloway is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author and culinary tutor. Find more seasonal recipes on her website.

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