Graham Cracker Latte

Skip the coffee shop latte and make one at home. Components for this Graham Cracker Latte can be prepped ahead and warmed just prior to serving, to give your morning a sweet, warm kick start. 

Skip the coffee shop latte and make one at home. Components for this Graham Cracker Latte can be prepped ahead and warmed just prior to serving, to give your morning a sweet, warm kick start.

It’s the last week of our 6-week Warm-Up Drink Series (#WarmUpDrinks on social media), hosted by Ellen at Family Around the Table. It’s been a fun way to kick off the new year, even if I missed a week. If you haven’t been following along, my previous recipe creations have been:

I had planned on sharing a boozy twist on an apple cider with you last week, but the recipe just didn’t work out. I’ll have to think about that one, and consider tweaking it until it’s share worthy.

Skip the coffee shop latte and make one at home. Components for this Graham Cracker Latte can be prepped ahead and warmed just prior to serving, to give your morning a sweet, warm kick start.

For the final week, I’m sharing a recipe that I’ve been excited to recreate at home. But first, the #WarmUpDrinks from my blogging friends:

This Graham Cracker Latte first caught my eye on Pinterest. You see, a Toasted Graham Latte was the seasonal drink at a popular coffee shop a year or two ago and a favorite of mine. I usually skip the seasonal drinks, but I instantly loved this one. And then it never returned.

Skip the coffee shop latte and make one at home. Components for this Graham Cracker Latte can be prepped ahead and warmed just prior to serving, to give your morning a sweet, warm kick start.

I wouldn’t say that the version that I’m sharing today is a perfect copycat recipe, but it’s a pretty good replacement. This drink has three components, which is a bit much if you’re making this to serve while trying to get out the door on a weekday morning, but most of it can be made ahead and stored in the fridge. Simply warm up and serve on a weekday morning.

The 3 components are

  1. Brown sugar-cinnamon simple syrup
  2. Graham cracker-infused milk
  3. Very strong coffee

I’ve adjusted the recipe below, originally from The Kitchen Prep, to make two servings (with extra simple syrup) but you can feel free to scale as you’d like.

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Skip the coffee shop latte and make one at home. Components for this Graham Cracker Latte can be prepped ahead and warmed just prior to serving, to give you morning a sweet, warm kick start. 

Graham Cracker Latte

Skip the coffee shop latte and make one at home. Components for this Graham Cracker Latte can be prepped ahead and warmed just prior to serving, to give your morning a sweet, warm kick start.

Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 2 Lattes
Author Liz

Ingredients

Ingredients for the Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Simple Syrup:

  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients for the Graham Cracker Infused Milk:

  • 1 1/2 c. low-fat milk
  • 2 graham crackers 4 squares

Ingredients for the Latte:

  • 1-1 1/2 c. strong coffee
  • 1-1 1/2 c. graham cracker infused milk
  • 4 tsp. brown sugar simple-cinnamon syrup

Instructions

Make the Simple Syrup:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine light brown sugar, water and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat an allow to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Allow to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator.

Make the Graham Cracker-Infused Milk:

  1. In a small saucepan (or microwave-safe bowl, if you prefer to microwave), heat 3/4 c. milk slightly. Add graham crackers and remove from heat. Allow to stand for 10-15 minutes until graham crackers are good and soggy.

  2. Use a sieve to strain milk mixture into a clean bowl, stirring and pressing the milk through while removing the graham cracker solids. The milk will be thick. If there are still chunks of graham cracker solids, rinse the sieve and repeat.
  3. Combine graham cracker-infused milk with remaining 3/4 c. milk and stir. Anything not being used immediately should be stored in the refrigerator.

Make Your Lattes:

  1. (Note: All ingredients are all prepped but may not be warmed. You can warm coffee and/or graham cracker-infused milk in the microwave or on the stove top prior to portioning lattes, or you can warm in the microwave after. Your choice.)
  2. Place 1/2 c. of coffee in each coffee mug (you're making two lattes, so 1/2 c. coffee in each). Divide graham cracker-infused milk between the two mugs, about 1/2-3/4 c. in each. Stir in 2 tsp. brown sugar cinnamon simple syrup in each latte.
  3. Heat each mug in the microwave, if not already warmed, for 1 - 1 1/2 minutes.
  4. Sip and adjust to taste, adding more coffee or simple syrup, if desired. Check the temperature and heat for up to 30 seconds more, if needed.

  5. Enjoy hot.

Skip the coffee shop latte and make one at home. Components for this Graham Cracker Latte can be prepped ahead and warmed just prior to serving, to give your morning a sweet, warm kick start.

An Old Fashioned

Strong, belly-warming bourbon shines in an Old Fashioned cocktail, sweetened ever so slightly with sugar, cocktail cherries, and orange peel. 

Strong, belly-warming bourbon shines in an Old Fashioned cocktail, sweetened ever so slightly with sugar, cocktail cherries, and orange peel. 

It’s week four of our 6-week Warm-Up Drink Series (#WarmUpDrinks on social media). As usual, thanks to Ellen at Family Around the Table. This week, other #WarmUpDrinks include:

This week, I’m bringing you a cocktail that’s served cold, but will warm you from the inside out. An Old Fashioned.

When I started working on this recipe, I wondered whether this could be considered a classic old fashioned. I found a really good blog post on Inspired Taste that gives me the confidence to say that yes, this version could be considered a “classic” old fashioned. The only traditional ingredient that I left out was bitters.

Strong, belly-warming bourbon shines in an Old Fashioned cocktail, sweetened ever so slightly with sugar, cocktail cherries, and orange peel. 

My lack of confidence in this comes from the fact that I’m not really a bourbon or rye whisky drinker. It was only in the past year or so that I have come to appreciate a really well made bourbon cocktail. I’d take a sniff of a friend’s cocktail when we went out to dinner, maybe indulging in a tiny sip. And you know what? I really enjoy a bourbon cocktail, made with good bourbon and quality ingredients. No short cuts.

This version of an Old Fashioned was one that my uncle made for me last summer. I texted myself notes as he mixed up the cocktail, not really measuring anything. I also took careful note of his choice of cocktail cherries – maraschino cherries in a deep wine syrup, sweet but not candy – nothing like the bright red maraschino cherries that I grew up eating on sundaes and Shirley temples. I use those in this recipe – they’re pricey but worth it. (Amazon affiliate link at the bottom of this post.)

Strong, belly-warming bourbon shines in an Old Fashioned cocktail, sweetened ever so slightly with sugar, cocktail cherries, and orange peel. 

With that, I encourage you to try an Old Fashioned at home, or if you don’t want to shop for ingredients you’re unsure about, the next time you’re at a good restaurant – even if it’s just a sip of a friend’s of family member. Give it a try. You may find yourself as surprised as I was, to find a new cocktail to enjoy.

Cheers!

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Strong, belly-warming bourbon shines in an Old Fashioned cocktail, sweetened ever so slightly with sugar, cocktail cherries, and orange peel. 

An Old Fashioned

Strong, belly-warming bourbon shines in an Old Fashioned cocktail, sweetened ever so slightly with sugar, cocktail cherries, and orange peel. 

Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 178 kcal
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 2 in. long portion orange peel
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar preferably extra fine
  • 1/2 tsp. juice/syrup from cocktail cherries
  • 2 cocktail cherries more for garnish if desired (I use Luxardo gourmet cocktail cherries)
  • 2 oz. good quality bourbon
  • ice preferably a large sphere

Instructions

  1. Rub rim of an old-fashioned glass with orange peel. Set peel aside.

  2. In the same glass, slightly muddle granulated sugar, cocktail cherries and cherry juice. Gently stir until sugar has been dissolved.

  3. Add bourbon and orange peel. Finally add ice. Enjoy.

Strong, belly-warming bourbon shines in an Old Fashioned cocktail, sweetened ever so slightly with sugar, cocktail cherries, and orange peel. 

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Mocha Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate gets a big hit of bold coffee flavor in this Mocha Hot Chocolate. 

Hot chocolate gets a big hit of bold coffee flavor in this Mocha Hot Chocolate. 

Today is the third Friday in our 6-week Warm-Up Drink Series, hosted by Ellen at Family Around the Table. I’m really getting in the spirit, given that temperatures have been hoovering around freezing for the past couple of weeks, with the wind chill even colder. We’ve even seen snow a few times over the past couple of weeks.

So you can imagine that I’ve been enjoying recipe testing and creating recipes to warm you up this winter. I’ve also been bookmarking recipes from my blogging friends to try out myself – you can check out the recipes, listed in the posts last week and the week before, or you can search #WarmUpDrinks on social media. This week’s recipes include:

Hot chocolate gets a hit of bold coffee flavor in this Mocha Hot Chocolate.

And for you? I’ve created a Mocha Hot Chocolate. Hot chocolate gets a hit of bold coffee flavor in this Mocha Hot Chocolate. Easy to make at home, and easy to adjust according to preferences. If you like a strong coffee flavor and want something like you’d get at a coffee shop, bump up the coffee flavor by using extra instant coffee. It’ll be a killer afternoon pick-me-up!

Enjoy! And stay warm!

Hot chocolate gets a hit of bold coffee flavor in this Mocha Hot Chocolate.

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Hot chocolate gets a big hit of coffee flavor in this Mocha Hot Chocolate. 

Mocha Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate gets a big hit of bold coffee flavor in this Mocha Hot Chocolate. 

Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 233 kcal
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 1 c. low-fat milk
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 - 1 packet Starbucks Via
  • pinch kosher salt
  • whipped cream optional

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients except whipped cream in a small sauce pan set over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until chocolate is melted and mixture is hot.

  2. Pour into a mug and top with whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy hot.

Recipe Notes

Start with 1/2 a packet of Starbucks Via and add more, if you prefer a strong coffee flavor.

Nutrition calculated using 1/2 a packet of Starbucks Via, without whipped cream.

Hot chocolate gets a big hit of bold coffee flavor in this Mocha Hot Chocolate. 

Cranberry-Pomegranate Cider

Cranberry-pomegranate cider is a sweet twist on a homey classic. Make a single serving for a quiet afternoon or a batch in the slow cooker for winter entertaining. 

Cranberry-pomegranate cider is a sweet twist on a homey classic. Make a single serving for a quiet afternoon or a batch in the slow cooker for winter entertaining. 

Welcome to the second week of our Warm-Up Drink Series, hosted by Ellen at Family Around the Table. If you missed me last week, I shared with you my favorite cinnamon spice hot toddy – a 4-ingredient belly-warmer that really hits the spot when sick.

This week’s recipe is a fall/winter cider recipe – apple cider with a splash of cranberry and pomegranate juice, with a bit of ginger to kick up the flavor. It was such a lovely mug to curl up with on the couch, under a hand-knit blanket and snuggle one cold and cloudy afternoon. (PS. The cloudy and rainy weather combined with it getting dark so early is really making it difficult to get good photos for you!)

In fact, all of the below recipes are just perfect for curling up with this cold week. Caramel Marshmallow Latte? Yes please! Citrus Cider? Bring on the winter fruit!

Cranberry-pomegranate cider is a sweet twist on a homey classic. Make a single serving for a quiet afternoon or a batch in the slow cooker for winter entertaining. 

Recipe Notes

  • This recipe can be easily scaled to serve a crowd. The ratio is simple: equal amounts pomegranate juice and cranberry juice, twice as much apple cider, chunk of ginger. i.e. for 8 servings, you’ll use 4 cups of cider, 2 cups each of pomegranate and cranberry juice, and a 1-inch piece of ginger. For large servings, recipe can be made completely in a slow cooker or on the stove top. Cooking time will vary based on quantity.
  • Want fewer dishes for a single serving? Make this in the microwave – 2 minutes on high. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before removing the piece of ginger. Microwave for another minute to warm it back up.

Cranberry-pomegranate cider is a sweet twist on a homey classic. Make a single serving for a quiet afternoon or a batch in the slow cooker for winter entertaining. 

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Cranberry-pomegranate cider is a sweet twist on a homey classic. Make a single serving for a quiet afternoon or a batch in the slow cooker for winter entertaining. 

Cranberry-Pomegranate Cider

Cranberry-pomegranate cider is a sweet twist on a homey classic. Make a single serving for a quiet afternoon or a batch in the slow cooker for winter entertaining. 

Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 134 kcal
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. apple cider
  • 2 oz. pomegranate juice
  • 2 oz. cranberry juice or cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1/4 in. ginger peeled
  • whole cranberries or apple slices optional garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Lower heat slightly and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

  2. Remove from heat and remove piece of ginger. Pour into a mug. Garnish with fresh cranberries or apple slices, if desired, and enjoy while hot.

Cranberry-pomegranate cider is a sweet twist on a homey classic. Make a single serving for a quiet afternoon or a batch in the slow cooker for winter entertaining. 

Cinnamon Spice Hot Toddy

This 4-ingredient Cinnamon Spice Hot Toddy features bright spicy cinnamon flavors and belly-warming liquor in a beverage that will warm you up, no matter how cold it is outside.

This 4-ingredient Cinnamon Spice Hot Toddy features bright spicy cinnamon flavors and belly-warming liquor in a beverage that will warm you up, no matter how cold it is outside.

Today kicks off a 6-week Winter Warm-Up Drink Series, hosted by Ellen at Family Around the Table. So every Friday for the next 5 weeks (I hope), I’ll be bringing you a new winter drink recipe, as well as a whole bunch of recipes from my blogging friends,designed to keep you warm during these frigid winter months. Our little group has started the week strong, with lots of recipes I want to try:

This 4-ingredient Cinnamon Spice Hot Toddy features bright spicy cinnamon flavors and belly-warming liquor in a beverage that will warm you up, no matter how cold it is outside.

I have a confession. Throughout the winter months, I’d routinely see recipes for hot toddies, but I never really knew what one was. Wikipedia defines a Hot Toddy as “a mixed drink made of liquor and water with honey (or, in some recipes, sugar), herbs (such as tea) and spices.” With that definition, I can get on board with that, can’t you?

But here’s the thing. I kept seeing recipes suggesting whiskey or bourbon as the main liquor, and that’s not really my thing, so I was hesitant to even try one.

Last year I ended up getting a bad cold and feeling pretty miserable and finally decided to give one a try. Somewhere, I found a version that used cinnamon tea – one of my favorite black teas. It’s become a recipe that I make time and time again during the colder months. Although it doesn’t hold strictly to Wikipedia’s definitions, I’m still calling this a hot toddy. Easy as can be, bright spicy cinnamon flavors, and a little extra warmth from the liquor. I have made this recipe with bourbon, brandy and spiced rum (Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum to be exact), all with good results, although the latter is my favorite.

This 4-ingredient Cinnamon Spice Hot Toddy features bright spicy cinnamon flavors and belly-warming liquor in a beverage that will warm you up, no matter how cold it is outside.

Recipe Notes:

      • Tip: If you have an organic or other market near you that sells spices in bulk, stop there are stock up on cinnamon sticks. It’s sooo much cheaper than what you find in the standard grocery store.
      • Tip: I sometimes use the cinnamon sticks in the tea two or three times before tossing them (much like a vanilla bean). Simply remove from tea and allow to dry out on a small plate or balanced on the rim of a glass.
      • My favorite cinnamon tea for this recipe is Harney & Sons, available at Amazon (of course! affiliate link below) as well as Barnes & Nobles.

Do you enjoy hot toddies? Leave me a comment and tell me about your favorite recipe or flavor combination!

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This 4-ingredient Cinnamon Spice Hot Toddy Bright features bright spicy cinnamon flavors and belly-warming liquor in a beverage that will warm you up, no matter how cold it is outside.

Cinnamon Spice Hot Toddy

This 4-ingredient Cinnamon Spice Hot Toddy features bright spicy cinnamon flavors and belly-warming liquor in a beverage that will warm you up, no matter how cold it is outside.

Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 170 kcal
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 1 cinnamon spice tea bag
  • 8-10 oz. very hot or boiling water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1-2 oz. brandy, bourbon, or spiced rum

Instructions

  1. Combine tea bag, boiling or almost boiling water and cinnamon stick in a mug and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Add liquor of choice and stir. Enjoy while still hot. 

Recipe Notes

Quantity of water and liquor used will depend on your mug. Mine was very large, so I used 10 oz. hot water and 2 oz. brandy (or other liquor). If you use a smaller mug, you may want to use a little less liquor.

The nutrition information for this post has been calculated using 2 oz. brandy.

Please drink responsibly. 

This 4-ingredient Cinnamon Spice Hot Toddy Bright features bright spicy cinnamon flavors and belly-warming liquor in a beverage that will warm you up, no matter how cold it is outside.

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