Coffee shop chains are increasingly offering seasonal drinks such as Black Forest Hot Chocolate, Spiced Chai Latte or Gingerbread Cappuccinos and judging by the queues in Costa and Starbucks, they are hugely popular. A glance behind the counter while waiting in line reveals countless bottles of gingerbread syrup and tubs of chocolate shavings. So how do you make great winter hot drinks for your coffee shop, café or just to enjoy at home? It’s much easier than you might think!
As I write this article, it’s early September and the thought of ice and snow are still a very long way off. However, anyone who lives in the UK will know that the weather changes quickly at this time of year and bonfire night is just around the corner.
We noticed a trend towards sweet hot drinks last winter, and in particular, hot chocolate and coffee flavoured with gingerbread, orange and so on. And this is where you can really let your creative side and your imagination run riot. Flavouring syrups used to be available in just a handful of flavours like caramel and vanilla, and while they are still the most popular, they have been joined by well over 100 flavours that allow you to do pretty much anything you like.
For instance, the Monin syrups range extends to over 100 flavours on its own, and while some are designed for use in cocktails and cold drinks, around half can be used for hot drinks.
OK, so as an example, you are making hot chocolate and adding whipped cream to the top for your customers. How to you offer something that the coffee shop over the road isn’t serving to their customers? Well it’s easy – with a few different flavours of syrup, why not create a menu board and offer Hot Chocolate Orange just by adding a few shots of Monin Orange Curacao syrup.
Orange Hot Chocolate
You can add to your list by offering Black Forest Hot Chocolate, Cinnamon, or even do something different and serve white hot chocolate – there are a number of great white chocolate powders available by Zuma and others. One of last year’s biggest successes was Toffee Apple Hot Chocolate – just use the gorgeous Sweetbird toffee apple flavour and add a few shots to your finished drinks.
Try the same with coffee – you’re already making cappuccinos and lattes, so for the sake of a few bottles of syrups, why not create another drinks list and serve frothy coffees flavoured with Gingerbread syrup? Your list could also include cinnamon, shortbread, pecan or another one of last year’s favourites, Egg Nog. There’s a Routin Egg Nog syrup that is great in both coffee and hot chocolate, and again, it livens up what could be an otherwise dull drinks menu.
No article about winter drinks could be complete without mentioning Chai Latte. Popular in other countries for years, it took some time to gain popularity here in the UK but it now a firm favourite for many people. It’s simply a mix of tea and spices that can be mixed with either milk or water depending on taste, and is supplied in a range of flavours including Spiced Chai (which is a cinnamon flavoured drink) and other more adventurous ones such as Mango.
We hope you’ll choose to get creative and make coffees, chai and hot chocolate that your customers will be queueing up for on the cold winter days ahead. Please share any of your favourite creations with us, we’d love to see them!