Today, I'm touting the virtually unending benefits of a hot drink, which ties perfectly to the well-stocked pantry... and to winter warming and celebrating.
Most of these ingredients are shelf-stable for many months, which makes them perfect additions to your pantry plan. Stock up on the ones you are most likely to use (rotate your supply) and try a few new ones as well.
Hot drinks are social. People tend to gather at the coffee pot or at the coffee shop. Hot drinks are a ritual. We start our morning or follow our dinner with a cup of coffee. Anyone serve afternoon tea? Hot drinks are an indulgence. Whether you're having a grande latte from Starbucks or a mug of spiced cider at home, you feel special drinking your cozy signature beverage. Hot drinks are healthy. Did you know Americans' number one source of antioxidants is coffee? And along with tea, chocolate, and fruit juice drinks, it provides a host of other possible benefits as well. Hot drinks are therapeutic. Hot drinks have traditionally been used to treat a host of problems, illnesses, and symptoms. Although any diagnosis or treatment recommendation should come from a doctor, I did find a few references that certainly support this claim: treatment for cold and flu, first aid for hypothermia, and providing psychological benefits. Hot drinks are a survival necessity. Beyond the emotional benefits of a fire and a warm drink, heating water can become a necessity for killing bacteria, cooking foods, and extracting nutrients in 'teas' made of wild plants.
Here are a few ideas and recipes to get you thinking about what items to add to your pantry.
Christmas Tea (My Family Recipe)
- 2 cups Tang orange drink mix
- 1 package Wyler's sweetened lemonade
- 1/2 cup Nestea instant Tea
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
Hot Buttered Rum
Wassail - There are 1,000 variations. I've included my favorite explanation which quotes Shakespeare.
Chai Tea from India is revered for its restorative qualities.
Coffee - ground coffee in the original sealed can stores the longest (check the date)
Hot water with lemon or honey
Warm milk (with a shot of vanilla syrup)
Vegetable or Chicken Broth or Bouillon