Pumpkin Spice Latte is a blend of ordinary latte mixed with clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg and topped with some whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices. It is a twist to the espresso and steamed milk combo that is a crowd favorite during autumn in America. If you have already gotten your fix of this popular drink and are curious of more unique concoctions from other parts of the world, check out our list of three hot alternatives to Pumpkin Spice Latte.
In Bogotá, Colombia, chocolate santafereño is considered a breakfast staple. It is hot chocolate made the traditional way using a chocolatera (aluminum pitcher) and a molinillo (wooden hand mixer). Chocolate pieces are melted in the chocolatera with water made hot on a stove. Then a molinillo is placed inside the pitcher with the round end at the bottom. The handle is rolled between the hands to froth the hot chocolate before it is poured into a mug. What you get is a rich and quite thick drink. But what makes chocolate santafereño unusual are the chunks of salty queso blanco (white cheese) that you throw into it. Onced melted, they are spooned out to be eaten right away or spread onto the almojabana (bread made with cheese and corn flour) that is often served together with the drink. This salty and sweet local favorite is best sampled at La Puerta Falsa– Bogotá’s oldest restaurant.
That’s Mongolian milk tea for you. But don’t start imagining a sweet brew just yet. The traditional suutei tsai is a brew of black tea or green tea with water, milk, and salt. Yes, salt is part of the ingredients. And it’s what sets Mongolian milk tea apart from the others. The milk used can come from various sources: cows, goats, sheep, yaks, horses, or camels. Instead of stirring, a large spoon is also used to scoop out and pour back in some of the mixture at a time to make it light and frothy. Modifications to this traditional Mongolian drink have been made. There are now recipes that call for the addition of other ingredients like butter and fried millet. Suutei tsai is one of the most common drinks in Mongolia and is drunk any time of the day. It is also often served to guests in Mongolian homes.
A source of comfort for the Sundanese, an ethnic group in West Java, Indonesia during cold weather is the Bandrek. This traditional drink is made with ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and lemon grass. Sometimes, pandan leaves are also added. All these ingredients are brought to a boil before palm sugar is added. The mixture is then simmered for about 10 minutes. Once ready, it is strained and served hot. Depending on one’s taste, milk (sweetened condensed milk or coconut milk) and young coconut meat are sometimes added. There are variations to this unusual drink,too. But mostly the difference is with the spices added to the mixture. Other spices used are coriander seeds, star anise, cardamom pods, chili peppers, and black peppercorns. Not only is bandrek drank to keep the body warm but it is also said to be good for colds and sore throat. This drink is widely available in the region.