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Warm Winter drinks – a toast to cozy beverages and delicious pairings

As the temperature drops and frosty days and evenings become a daily affair, the allure of warm Winter drinks grows stronger. Whether you are looking for a comforting hot chocolate or a steeped English tea, there are many options at Pirate O’s Gourmet Market to warm you from the inside out.

Pirate O's - cafe du monde (Aimee Cook)
Pirate O’s – cafe du monde (Aimee Cook)

Coffee

Caffeinated or decaffeinated, nothing hits the spot quite like a cup of coffee. Coffee’s rich and aromatic history can be traced back to the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau.

In the mid-17th century, coffee was brought to New Amsterdam; later, the Britsh would call this New York. In the 18th century, coffee’s popularity grew in America, particularly following the Boston Tea Party, when making the switch from tea to coffee became something of a patriotic duty.

Pirate O's - marzipan stollen (Aimee Cook)
Pirate O’s – marzipan stollen (Aimee Cook)

Fast forward to the 21st century, coffee has become a staple in many people’s daily routine, with an estimated 400 billion cups consumed yearly. It’s more than just a beverage – it’s a global phenomenon that has stitched itself into our cultural fabric.

Stop in the store and grab a latte to go in the deli section, or take some beans home to brew at your leisure. Café Du Monde cans of ground coffee from Louisiana come in both decaf and caffeinated options. In addition, peruse the dozens of flavored syrups on the shelf to make your own perfect latte. Pair with a generous slice of marzipan stollen.

Pirate O's - mulling spices (Aimee Cook)
Pirate O’s – mulling spices (Aimee Cook)

Mulled cider

Infused with spices like cinnamon, cloves, and star anise, mulled cider is a festive favorite.  The already prepared jar of Wine & Cider Mulling Spices at Pirate O’s makes it super simple. Serve it with spiced nuts or a slice of apple pie to enhance the fruity flavors.

Hot chocolate

Nothing screams Winter comfort like a mug of hot chocolate. Hot chocolate, a beloved beverage known for its rich, creamy taste and comforting warmth, has a history that dates back several millennia. The origins of hot chocolate can be traced back to the ancient Mayans around 2000 B.C.. Still, it wasn’t until the Olmec civilization of southern Mexico began to cultivate cacao plants that the drink started to resemble what we know today.

Unlike the sweet, milky version enjoyed in modern times, the original hot chocolate was a mixture of ground cacao beans, water, cornmeal, and chili peppers, resulting in a bitter and frothy drink. It was revered as a ceremonial beverage and a luxury item among the elite.

Pirate O's - Walkers shortbread (Aimee Cook)
Pirate O’s – Walkers shortbread (Aimee Cook)

Advancements in the 18th century brought about the steam engine, allowing for easier and more efficient grinding of cacao beans. This, in turn, made hot chocolate more affordable and accessible to the general public. As the 19th century rolled around, adding milk to the recipe transformed it into the creamy and sweet delight we savor today.

Now enjoyed worldwide, hot chocolate has undergone centuries of evolution into an indulgent treat and a comforting pick-me-up, particularly during the colder months. Whether adorned with whipped cream, marshmallows, or a sprinkle of cinnamon, hot chocolate remains a beloved favorite for individuals of all ages. Pair a steamy cup with Walkers shortbread for a delightful treat. And why not snag a cute mug for an added smile.

Pirate O's - tea selection (Aimee Cook)
Pirate O’s – tea selection (Aimee Cook)

Chai tea

Chai is a fragrant blend of black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger. Chai tea has a storied history that dates back over 5,000 years to the royal courts of India and Siam. Originally concocted as a cleansing and vivifying ayurvedic beverage, the chai recipe was a mixture of various spices, herbs, and sweeteners brewed into a healing drink. Interestingly, the original version contained no tea leaves, a key ingredient in modern-day chai.

Over time, chai has traveled far beyond its Indian roots, gaining popularity worldwide. With its comforting warmth and aromatic blend of spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, chai tea offers a unique flavor profile that has become a favorite among tea and coffee drinkers alike. Steeped to perfection, with a splash of milk, is the preferred way to enjoy a cup. Pair it with a spicy cracker or nut or a Sultana scone.

Pirate O's - sultana scones (Aimee Cook)
Pirate O’s – sultana scones (Aimee Cook)

English tea, lemon, ginger or mint tea

These hot teas are a healthy option that doesn’t compromise on flavor. English tea is one of the most popular types and is traditionally a robust blend of black teas like Assam, Ceylon, and Kenyan teas. It’s known for its rich, full-bodied flavor and is often enjoyed with milk and sugar – a perfect accompaniment to a hearty English breakfast.

Lemon tea, on the other hand, offers a refreshing tartness that can be both invigorating and soothing. It’s typically made by adding fresh lemon juice to black or green tea, providing a vitamin C boost. Many people enjoy it as a detoxifying drink first thing in the morning or as a calming beverage before bed.

Pirate O's - orange liqueur cake (Aimee Cook)
Pirate O’s – orange liqueur cake (Aimee Cook)

Ginger tea, made by infusing fresh or dried ginger in hot water, is renowned for its health benefits. It’s a natural remedy for nausea, digestion problems, and cold symptoms, thanks to ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties. Its spicy, invigorating flavor makes it a warming drink for chilly days.

Mint tea, made by infusing mint leaves (fresh or dried) in hot water, is a soothing and aromatic drink. Known for its refreshing and slightly sweet flavor, mint tea is often used as a digestive aid and a relaxant. Its cool aftertaste makes it a favorite choice for a palate cleanser or an after-dinner drink. Enjoy each of them with a slice of Liqueur Orange cake or Spice cake.  

Pirate O's - tortuga rum cake (Aimee Cook)
Pirate O’s – tortuga rum cake (Aimee Cook)

Hot honey and lemon water

A simple yet satisfying drink, it’s perfect for those looking for a low-calorie option. Pair it with a bowl of fresh fruit or yogurt parfait for a light snack. For a tasty treat, have a Kentucky Bourbon cake on hand.

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