If you are exploring Europe this winter, stay warm with some traditional hot drinks
No one does Christmas quite like Europe. It’s like walking through a festive snowglobe. The charming city squares bustling with Christmas markets and the historic churches brought to life with the sound of melodic choirs and performances. The ancient architecture, sweet scents, and twinkling lights make it nothing short of magical.
But after hours spent traipsing through the Christmas markets or a wonderful afternoon skating on the ice, it’s time to make your way to a cozy coffee shop, peel off your mittens, shrug off your coat and warm yourself up with a steaming mug of hot chocolate.
Hot Chocolate, Brussels
Belgians take their chocolate seriously and I respect that. They are known worldwide for their delicious chocolate and it’s an essential part of their economy. When the weather gets chilly, the best way to enjoy Belgian chocolate is by drinking it.
Unlike the hot chocolate you may have grown up with made by pouring hot water over lumpy powder, Belgian hot chocolate is absolutely incredible. It’s made from melted chocolate (Belgian, naturally), hot milk, a pinch of salt and often topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream.
Some of the best places in Brussels to enjoy a luxurious cup of hot chocolate on a cold day are L’Ultime Atome, a 10-minute walk from our stylish Luxembourg II apartment and at Fredric Blondeel, a genius Belgium chocolatier – his store is a short 10-minute stroll from the stunning Waterloo II apartment.
Take a stroll through the outdoor market in Jerusalem in the winter months and it’s hard to miss the huge metal vats filled with steaming hot sachlav. This thick, sweet, almost custard-like drink is made from ground orchid bulbs (yes, really) and is usually mixed with orange blossom water, hot milk, cinnamon, and vanilla. Popular toppings include coconut, chopped pistachios, and raisins.
The orchid is said to have healing properties and is particularly effective at curing coughs and colds – perfect for the winter months in Jerusalem where the temperature is usually around 50-60F and can dip even lower at night.
The best place to warm up with a cup of sachlav is at the Mahane Yehuda market, an open-air souk that is filled with wonderful sights and smells and a dizzying array of fresh produce and baked goods. The market is just a 4-minute walk from our sleek Elegant J Tower. If you are looking for a more chilled out experience, make your way to the iconic bookstore-café Tmol Shilshom, just down the block from the beautiful Haneviim Boutique apartment and enjoy a mug of sachlav in this romantic setting.
Hot Toddy – London
The hot toddy has been around in England for many centuries. It is made by mixing whiskey (or rum or brandy) with hot water, honey, and lemon. This is not only a delicious winter drink for the cold weather, but it is also often used as a home remedy to soothe the aches and pains associated with the common cold and flu.
This nice toasty beverage puts the ‘jolly’ into the holiday season in London. If you are looking for a traditional neighboorhood boozer to enjoy a hot toddy or other good winter warmers, make your way to The Windsor Castle in Kensington (no, not that one!). This quaint and cozy pub is brimming with character and is just a 12-minute walk from our classically decorated apartments in Kensington London.
Irish Coffee, Dublin
It’s Ireland, you knew there was going to be a story here, right?
It was a cold night in Foynes where the Flying Boat Terminal was based. The year was 1943 and a Pan Am flying boat flight to New York was turned back to Foynes due to bad weather. Joe Sheridan, a top-class chef, and bartender was called back to the airport to prepare hot food and drinks for the freezing passengers.
Hoping to warm the travelers, Sheridan put a good shot of Irish whiskey into their strong black coffee and topped it with double cream. The story goes that a silence descended as everyone enjoyed the delicious drink. Later that evening the passengers thanked Joe for the food and coffee wondering if it was Brazilian beans he had used. Joe jokingly answered, “No, it was Irish coffee”.
Enjoy a genuine Irish coffee at The Bailey on Duke Street, a Dublin institution and a stylish landmark that should not be missed. It’s also only a 7-minute walk from the lovely Claredon Hall apartment. Another must-visit Irish bar is the Café en Seine. The pub is a cross between an art gallery, railway station, and cabaret bar and is filled with lavish ornate decorations. It is also a short walk from the charming Great Georges Street apartment.
Want to do your own research to find the best festive drinks? Check out our full collection of holiday apartments in Europe and book today.
Chava is the content manager at Sweet Inn.
She loves traveling the world with her family and collecting tacky magnets for the fridge.