Now that ANZAC day has come and gone, Canberrans know it’s the time of year that the heaters come on, a layer of frost crusts the feathers of the resident swans on Lake Burley Griffin and puffy jackets come out for the long haul. Canberra winter is made a little bit more bearable though by the thought of steaming mugs of hot chocolate, pots of chai or the like.
Here’s a list of hot drinks around town to warm the soul, as well as the body.
Complete campfire comfort without the campfire. Served in the nostalgic white enamel camping mug and with all the love of a homemade marshmallow, the Teddy Pickers Hot Chocolate gives you warm and fuzzy feelings inside. It also comes DIY style with the steamed chocolate-y milk served in a silver milk jug on the side so you can delight in drowning your own marshmallow. You’ll end up with a warm and fluffy marshmallow topping… unless you eat the whole marshmallow first.
It may be called the Mexican Mocha but this soul-satisfying winter warmer was inspired by a drink that Sweet Bones owners, Emily and Russel Brindley, came across in a Texan town. Notes of bitter dark chocolate come through the double shot of espresso, while each sip brings the festive aroma of cinnamon and a gentle warmth of cayenne pepper providing a heat that lingers on the lips long after the cup is empty.
No syrups or powders here – this chai is brewed traditionally using Canberra business Real Chai. Served in a heavy cast-iron tea pot reminiscent of Indian tea plantations, it feels like you’re partaking in an authentic chai experience. Soft and delicate spice flavours are enhanced by the nutty notes of soy milk which is what Mocan & Green Grout choose to brew their chai with. If you get in early enough you can watch the tea and spices brewing in a big pot on the stove, and be ensconced by the soft and warming aromas of cardamom and cinnamon that waft around the room.
Not coffee. Not chai. Not your normal tea – this is Barrio’s Gypsy Tea.
Brewed with milk, the gypsy tea is reminiscent of a chai but instead speaks of Russian and European tea traditions. With a base of Lapsong souchong tea, chosen for its smoky notes, it is layered with woody herb flavours of rosemary, thyme and bay, giving the tea a deep and warming flavour. The tea is then brewed with blackstrap molasses and currant jam, which imbues the result with the rich flavours of molasses and fruity sweetness of currant that pair well with the smoky tea. If you like chai, this is bound to be your new go-to.
Among a throng of people and multicultural eats at the Old Bus Depot Markets on a Sunday, you can spot Jo’s Juice (as well as juicing oranges) stirring a steaming silver pot of mulled wine. The scent of cinnamon is tantalising as you wait in the line for Jo to ladle you a large mug of the steaming drink. Originating in ancient Europe, mulled wine is a concoction of red wine heated with spices, sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice to create an incredibly comforting and warming drink, so it’s an adults-only drink. Just the beverage to keep you warm as you wander around the market stalls on a cold Canberra day.