9 of the best hot winter drinks for hiking and camping

best winter hot drinks: Alex on Buachaille Etive Beag and Coffee
(Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

Nothing tastes quite like a hot brew in the great outdoors. The best winter hot drinks represent a moment to stop, savor the taste and take in the views. It doesn't matter whether you're relaxing in camp or drinking in some much needed warmth on a freezing cold ridge, that first reinvigorating sip is one of life's best moments.

Of course, you don’t have to stop at bog standard tea or coffee for your hiking flask. After much debate and deliberation, we've arrived at our selection 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.

Meet the experts

Julia Clarke wearing Helly Hansen's Lifa Pro jacket in Wales
Julia Clarke

Surprisingly, Scotland native Julia has decided to opt for Irish whiskey as an ingredient in this best hot winter drinks roundup. However, she's carried a thermos up many mountains and enjoyed a steaming hot camping mug more times than she can remember, so she must know what she's talking about. Just keep it a secret from her fellow Scots.

how I fell in love with hiking: Alex in winter conditions
Alex Foxfield

After his hydration bladder froze on him on a winter mountaineering adventure in Scotland's Cairngorms National Park in 2018, Alex swears by always carrying an insulated flask on mountain adventures. He's not 100% sure how he'd survive everyday existence without caffeine and enjoys the occasional tipple too.

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1. Moroccan mint tea

Woman drinking from flask

Exploring Glen Coe? Why not take some Moroccan mint tea (Image credit: Getty)

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

Man beside a pop-up tent in winter with hot drink

Outdoor adventures, you can bring a camping coffee maker and make your java in the field (Image credit: mixetto)

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

best winter hot drinks: hot choc on the summit

The sugary hit of a hot chocolate can be just what the doctor ordered on a long hike (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

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

A woman drinking from a mug while camping

Slightly more grown up but still hot, sweet and spicy is a good flask full of Chai (Image credit: Getty)

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 cloves

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

How to clean a flask

A superfood shake is just the ticket if you're in need of a pick-me-up (Image credit: Getty)

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

best trees for firewood: campfire

To add a touch of class, bring one of the best camping mugs to wrap your hands around a steaming, delicious beverage (Image credit: Getty)

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

How to clean a flask

What could be more pleasant than some spiced apple cider in the woods? (Image credit: Getty)

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

3 cloves

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

Wild camping on Dartmoor: stove cooking

Getting some mulled wine on the go is a real treat for once you've reached camp (Image credit: Getty)

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

5 cloves

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. 

9. Veg soup

best hot winter drinks: flask

Soup is glorious on a hike (Image credit: Getty Images)

Soup? SOUP? Soup's not a drink? What's it doing here?

Well, a smooth soup makes a gorgeous mea... drink... that you can carry in your insulated hiking flask. Make it a lovely veg soup and you've got yourself something that's healthy, warming and satisfying on the trail. It's easy to prep and you can keep leftovers in the freezer, ready for the next adventure.


300g of chopped vegetables – anything from onions, carrots, peppers, whatever you fancy

450g of cubed potatoes

1 liter of stock

Oil for cooking

Fresh herbs

Method: Add the oil to the saucepan and fry the vegetables and potatoes for a few minutes. Add the stock and simmer for around 15 minutes. Use a blender to ensure a smooth consistency and add fresh herbs. Fill your thermos and box up the rest for later.

Julia Clarke

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.  

With contributions from