Warm Up Your Winter with These Five Hot Drinks from Around the World

It’s a sip around the world.

Eggnog, hot chocolate, hot cider. Hot cider, eggnog, hot chocolate. Hot chocolate, hot cider, eggnog.

(Oh—and the occasional peppermint mocha.)

If you’re already dreading the never-ending flow of the typical winter drink offering rotation, or you’re just looking to try something new, don’t fret—you’ve got the whole world in your hands. Around the world, people have discovered all kinds of libations to celebrate winter and stay warm in the cold weather, many of which are valued for being festive, nutritious, and most importantly, delicious. Here are five drinks to start off your international imbibing without having to buy another plane ticket:

Bandrek (Indonesia)

In North Sumatra of Indonesia, a hot beverage of cinnamon, ginger, and coconut palm sugar called bandrek is consumed to keep the body warm—cloves and lemongrass, and sometimes lime juice or condensed milk are added to the drink as well. There, bandrek is also considered a remedy for sore throat and colds (1). The spicy ginger in bandrek can act as an anti-inflammatory agent and a remedy for nausea (2), while polyphenol compounds found in cinnamon can help decrease risk of cardiovascular disease (3).

Champurrado (Mexico)

A rich concoction of chocolate and atole, which is a maize-based drink with cinnamon and sugar, champurrado is a thick, hearty drink dating back to the Aztecs, often served as breakfast or a warm snack. As champurrado typically uses dark chocolate, which has a higher percentage of cacao, it’s an excellent source of vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Atole, meanwhile, is generally made with white corn masa flour, thus contributing B vitamins, dietary fiber, protein and a significant source of calcium (4).  Combined, champurrado’s chief ingredients pack a nutrient-laden double-punch!

Poppy seed milk (Lithuania)

Poppy seed milk (Aguonpienis) is part of a 12-dish Lithuanian supper consumed on Christmas Eve. To make this beverage, poppy seeds are soaked and crushed into a white, milk-like liquid concentrate that is diluted with water and sweetened with some sugar or honey. Eaten at the right amounts, poppy seeds can fill you up with dietary fiber, unsaturated fats, and protein. The high amounts of zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus compounded with generous amounts of B vitamins (especially thiamine!) (4) This Christmas drink is worth milking out for its high nutritional value.

Sungnyung (Korea)

When you are served a rice dish in a hot stone pot in a Korean restaurant, they may offer hot roasted barley tea at the end of the meal. This is to be poured into the pot to scrape off burnt pieces of rice stuck onto the pot, the whole of which is drunken as “Sungnyung.” A warm, comforting variety of the cold tea consumed in Japan and China, sungnyung is low in calories and a good caffeine-free alternative to coffee and tea. Furthermore, barley tea has shown antimicrobial properties against bacteria found in the mouth that could form biofilms, in which bacteria stick together to form a film that is difficult to destroy (5).

Wattlecino (Australia)

A wattlecino may look like a cappuccino, but it is another caffeine-free alternative completely derived from wattle seed. Wattle seed comes from several species of Acacia native to Australia and is packed with plenty of protein, potassium, and even more fiber—one 100g serving has twice the daily value of dietary fiber! Additionally, wattle seed has a low glycemic index, which is ideal food for those with diabetes, and acts as a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc. All forms of wattle seed have a nutty, chicory flavor when roasted, but different varieties come with unique taste profiles (6). This gives you an endless variety of “wattlecinos” to start the day with!

Besides the comfort of their warm serving temperature, especially in the winter, these five drinks have one more benefit—majority of their ingredients can easily be found at the local grocery store and made at home (Wattle seeds, however, can be somewhat expensive depending on where you buy it from). That means that just one trip to the grocery store can add a colorful variety to your winter beverage rotation—indeed, a taste of the world is one international drink flight away!



  1. Goh, M. (2014). BANDREK / INDONESIAN WARM SPICED DRINK. [online] What To Cook Today. Available at: https://whattocooktoday.com/bandrek.html [Accessed 8 Nov. 2017].
  2. Ali, B. et al. (2008). Some phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe): A review of recent research. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 46(2), pp.409-420.
  3. Rosa, C. D. et al. (2015). Impact of Nutrients and Food Components on Dyslipidemias: What Is the Evidence?. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal, 6(6), pp.703-711.
  4. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28. Version Current: September 2015, slightly revised May 2016.
  5. org.au. (2017). Wattleseed. [online] Available at: https://anfab.org.au/main.asp?_=Wattleseed [Accessed 4 Nov. 2017].
  6. Papetti, A. et al. (2007). Effect of Barley Coffee on the Adhesive Properties of Oral Streptococci. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 55(2), pp.278-284.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.

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