Schwartz September 2019
Winter Warmers - Take Stock Magazine

Winter Warmers

A steaming hot drink on a cold, frosty day is one of life’s luxuries. It warms the hands, and the soul – and research*says holding one even makes you friendlier! However, in this competitive industry how do you make your tea terrific, your coffee captivating, and your hot chocolate heaven sent?

Take Stock shares some inspiration to help you make your winter drinks menu creative and memorable…


The appeal of a nice cup of tea is not showing any signs of slowing down. The value of tea in the UK foodservice market increased by an impressive 13.6% between 2015 and 2017, according to the Tetley Tea Report 2018, with 1 in 5 consumers drinking more tea than they did a year ago.

Tea in the out of home market is still dominated by black tea consumption, so Earl Grey and English Breakfast blends are a must stock product. However, operators are being encouraged to look for new ways to take a closer look at their tea menus. “The tea category remains exceedingly competitive and a deep understanding of trends and consumer needs is vital under tough overall trading conditions,” said Marshall Kingston, Tetley senior brand manager – out of home. “Caterers should be looking for new ways to add value to their tea offering to keep returning customers interested and entice new trade.”

What to serve?

•Spice up your tea by adding fresh fruit, cinnamon or star anise to create a seasonal and festive feel to warming blends like fruity raspberry and pomegranate or lemon ginger.

•An Earl Grey hot toddy is a nice alternative to the medicinal remedy we all swear by! Still featuring whiskey, honey and lemon, Earl Grey brings a hint of the citrus fruit bergamot adding a new dimension to the drink.

•Hot tea mocktails are shaking up the beverage menu. Lapsang Souchong tea can be mixed with orange juice for a zingy burst of flavour, or for a zesty drink, pair green tea with mint and lime for an interesting take on the popular mojito.


Coffee continues to enrapture the nation; with the British Coffee Association announcing that coffee consumption in the UK has risen to 95 million cups a day. To keep the romance sweet, operators have to up their game. It’s not just about serving your basic lattes, cappuccinos and espressos anymore – you need to understand what you are selling – we have entered an exciting time of coffee innovation.

What to serve?

•Baileys Pumpkin Spiced Latte is a delicious blend of Baileys, coffee and autumnal spices, topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream – the perfect indulgence for Halloween or a regular on your festive menu.

•Liven up a mid-morning espresso; add a dash of excitement to an afternoon café au lait or help sweeten an evening Americano by stirring in a drop of flavoured syrups such as vanilla, hazelnut or caramel

•The traditional eggnog screams Christmas, but mix it with an espresso, milk and sprinkled with nutmeg and you’ll have yourself a festive favourite!

•Sooth your customers gently into the cooler season by helping them reminisce about their summer holidays with a sweet Bon Bons. The Spanish-style cafe drink layers espresso over dulce de leche, also known as sweetened condensed milk, and is the perfect afternoon much-needed pick-me-up.

•Oat milk is the barista’s new best friend. With more people opting to follow a vegan diet it is vital you have more than just full-fat and skimmed on offer. Previous alternative favourites; soy and almond milk curdle when you add them to an espresso unlike oat milk which is designed for coffee because it has an acidity regulator and a more neutral flavour.

•Turmeric lattes are fast becoming a healthy alternative to coffee. This versatile spice has anti-inflammatory properties beneficial to your health, including tackling colds (something you should promote!) and still gives you the energy boost without the caffeine jitters! The drink is made up of milk (any can be used but almond is preferable), turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla extract, maple syrup and black pepper.

Hot chocolate

Our craving for chocolate puts hot chocolate as one of the most popular hot drinks ordered off the menu, but keep it exciting by being inventive.

What to serve?

•Pumpkin butterbeer hot chocolate is perfect for Halloween. The butterbeer beverage was the wizarding drink of choice in the Harry Potter books, so has the magic flair to transform your hot chocolate into something spookily special!

•Adding a drop of rum will satisfy those adults who want a chocolate craving but need the liquor kick – perfect for a warming drink around the Bonfire! For added indulgence add some salted caramel or garnish with marshmallows and sprinkled chocolate.

•Hot chocolate Mocha is a rich, decadent drink perfect for the cooler months – the espresso shot on top of a hot chocolate cures two cravings at once! Top with whipped cream and cocoa powder or add some latte art to a foamed milk top.

•Provide a range of toppings and flavours such as chocolate flake, caramel sauce, fudge, or honey and almond, to give customers the option to mix and match their hot chocolate – at an additional cost.

Menu must-haves

•Mulled wine is a traditional favourite but why not try an alternative using spiced winter berries cordial? Add white wine, cloudy apple juice, cinnamon stick and orange peel.

•Add some punch to your Halloween and Bonfire Nights by serving hot buttered Cider with rum. This one-pot wonder is perfect for events because it’s not only popular, but saves space and time.

•A warm gin punch is perfect for frosty days and chilly nights; as well as satisfying your gin-loving customers. Winter Bramble by GinMonkey is just the tonic! It contains gin, Xante pear liqueur, blackberries, cloudy apple juice and vanilla pod.

•Cranberry mulled cider is a warm and spicy drink perfect for the winter months. Ideal for serving crowds on Halloween and Bonfire Night, and even during a festive party, because the drink can be made in advance and reheated on the night. Add garnishes like cinnamon sticks, fresh cranberries, and orange slices, and to make it extra boozy, add a splash of dark rum or bourbon. Make it alcohol free by swapping the apple cider for apple juice.

•Hot ginger beer with cinnamon or spiced apple juice both make great alcohol-free alternatives to mulled wine. Perfect for children or adults who are not drinking.

•Elderflower cordial with hot water is not only a delicious, heartwarming drink, the fruit has immune-boosting properties too. Add a splash of brandy for those adults who want a drop of alcohol – and a much-need kick!

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