8 of the best hot winter drinks for hiking and camping
Spice up your outdoor adventures with a flask full of the best winter hot drinks, from wholesome chai to adults-only spiked coffee, hot chocolate and cider
When you’re heading outdoors in cold weather, carrying one of the best hiking flasks isn't just a good idea for keeping you warm and safe – it can add a good kick to your adventures with the right beverage in it. That's right, you don’t have to stop at bog standard tea or coffee. We came up with some of the best winter hot drinks that you can pour into your thermos to liven up your adventures this winter, with something for everyone including wholesome, spicy chai to fuel a chilly hike, and adults-only spiked wine, coffee and cider to sip on round the campfire on a cold night. To add a touch of class, bring one of the best camping mugs to wrap your hands around a steaming, delicious beverage.
1. Moroccan mint tea
There’s nothing wrong with using your thermos to bring some tea on a hike, but why not spice things up just a little? Mint tea is a mainstay in Moroccan markets and manages to be both comforting and refreshing.
1 scoop loose gunpowder green tea
5 cups boiling water
3 - 4 teaspoons sugar
4 sprigs fresh mint
Method: Place the tea leaves in your tea pot and add one cup of boiling water. Swish the water around then pour it out to clean the tea leaves. Next, add the sugar and mint to the pot, the remainder of the water and let steep for five minutes before transferring to your flask.
2. Irish coffee
Just as you can carry coffee in your thermos and be perfectly happy, so can you spice things up a little. Any spiked coffee will be a warm welcome, but few things beat a good Irish coffee. For outdoor adventures, you can bring a camping coffee maker and make your java in the field, or prepare a thermos about ¾ full of black coffee before you set off, and bring the other ingredients. When you’re ready for a cold weather cocktail, add a shot of Irish whiskey and a sugar cube for each cup of coffee, and if you have a camping cooler you can add a splash of cream (otherwise you can cheat and use Baileys).
3. Hot chocolate
We don't need to tell you that hot chocolate is a classic winter drink that provides comforting sweetness on a cold day. It can be dressed up with a cinnamon stick added to the pan while you’re making it, given a kick with a little chili powder or spiked with rum or peppermint Schnapps, and it can’t be beat. Just remember, for the tastiest base recipe, add the following for each cup of milk:
2 scoops of hot chocolate
1 scoop bitter cocoa
4. Masala chai
Slightly more grown up but still hot, sweet and spicy is a good flask full of chai. Masala chai is Indian tea made by boiling black tea with spices in water and milk. You can find lots of pre-made chai syrups for convenience, or try this recipe:
4 green cardamom pods, husks removed
1 cinnamon stick
4 black peppercorns
1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
2 cups milk
2 cups water
Sugar to taste
Method: Roughly grind up all the ingredients with a pestle and mortar, then place in a pan with the milk and water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until reduced by half. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 5 - 10 minutes to infuse, then add sugar to taste. Bring back up to a boil before straining into your thermos to remove the spices.
5. Superfood shake
If it’s energy you’re after, grab a handful of dates and your blender. This recipe is based on an Ayurvedic classic and packed full of B vitamins and antioxidants, but is tasty and super easy to make.
6 dates, pitted
2 cups milk
½ each teaspoon ground cardamom and cinnamon (optional)
Method: Place all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil then blend into a creamy, warm drink.
6. Ginger turmeric latte
Looking for something a bit healthier and offering the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric? Try this easy, tasty ginger turmeric 'latte'. It doesn’t have any caffeine, so you can drink a whole thermos and not worry about not getting a good night’s sleep afterwards.
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon ginger (fresh or powdered)
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1-2 teaspoon honey
Method: Lightly boil milk with spices, then mix in honey, and enjoy.
7. Spiced apple cider
Not everyone likes a milky drink, but a spiced apple cider can serve up all the flavor you need, and can be boozy or non-alcoholic.
4 cups apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 pinch of ground nutmeg
Optional: a couple of shots of rum
Method: Place all the ingredients (except rum if using) in a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 10 minutes then add the rum if using and strain into your thermos.
8. Mulled wine
Another classic, especially around the holidays, is good old Gluhwein. Mulled wine is commonplace in German Christmas markets, and is a fabulous way to up the cheer when your adventures are frosty.
1 bottle dry red wine
1 orange, sliced
¾ cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 thumb sized piece fresh ginger, grated
½ cup rum, brandy or amaretto
Method: Place all ingredients (except liquor) into a pan and warm gently, without boiling, for 15 minutes. Add the liquor then strain into your thermos.
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Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.