When it is chilly outside and there is no better way to warm up than with a hot drink. The holiday season is a great excuse for a little indulgence, so I like to add a little something extra to my coffee this time of year. This Peppermint Kahlua Mocha is a perfect holiday treat, when you want something besides a regular cup of coffee or hot chocolate. It’s a dessert drink – and it’s a good one.
The drink starts out like a regular mocha, made with coffee, milk and hot cocoa mix. You can use your favorite hot chocolate mix or a homemade one, both will work well. Once you’ve got you’re mocha base, you’ll add in a splash of peppermint schnapps and a generous pour of Kahlua. It’s not the most original combination of flavors, I’ll grant you that, but these are some of my favorite holiday flavors and they always get me in the mood to celebrate. The resulting drink has just enough peppermint flavor to get you in the holiday spirit without overwhelming the coffee and chocolate flavors in the drink. It’s delicious, especially when topped with whipped cream and a peppermint stick – and even moreso if you can enjoy it next to a tree decked out with colorful lights.
What color is your coffee mug? If you’re anything like me, the answer to that question is the color of ‘whatever mug my hand finds first in the cupboard’. I don’t pay that much attention to the color of my mugs – but I probably should and you should, too. A new study shows that the color of your coffee mug can influence the flavor of your coffee. The study, published in the journal Flavour, found that white cups make people perceive cafe lattes as being more strongly coffee flavored – e.g. more bitter and generally more intense - than lattes served in other mugs. A second experiment evaluated the shapes of mugs and whether that would have an impact on the perceived intensity of coffee, but that showed that color mattered more than shape. Coffee served in white cups – no matter the size or shape – was consistently perceived as being less sweet than coffee served in clear or blue mugs. Researchers theorize that it is the color contrast between a white mug and dark coffee (or even a darker-than-white latte) is what impacts the perceived intensity of the coffee.
In other words, you might not want to reach for the white mug when you pour your next cup because, like it or not, you might believe that it tastes better when you sip it from a cup of a different color.
For the past few days, Starbucks took one of their “secret menu” items and made it a little less secret. If you follow them on Instagram or Facebook, you probably would have seen that the Candy Cane Frappuccino was just $3 after 2pm all weekend long. This Frappuccino, like the Franken Frappuccino is a drink that was created and named by some inventive Starbucks fans, then spread through word of mouth until it was common enough that most baristas had heard of it, though it wasn’t an “official” recipe. Thanks to the recent promotion, it’s a lot more standard and you should be able to easily order it any time this holiday season.
The Candy Cane Frappuccino is a vanilla bean frappuccino with peppermint syrup added to it. The drink is creamy, with a great blend of vanilla and peppermint flavors. There is just enough mint to make it refreshing, without overwhelming the vanilla base of the drink. It is really a great drink if you enjoy mint in any way. The only downside is that it doesn’t contain any caffeine. Fortunately, it’s very good with a shot of espresso added. It’s delicious if you’re looking for something minty and sweet that is an alternative to a richer chocolate drink, and it is one of my new holiday favorites.
When you’re a kid, people will tell you not to play with your food. As an adult, I say that food can be a heck of a lot of fun to play with sometimes. This is particularly true of certain types of foods, like marshmallows. This Mug With A Hoop ended up on my Christmas list the moment I saw it. I’m not a big basketball fan, but I am a huge marshmallow fan and it is designed to really let you have some fun with your hot cocoa. The mug is shaped like half a basketball and the handle ends in basketball hoop that hangs over the rim of the mug that is the perfect size for flipping mini marshmallows through. You can dunk or go for distance shots, it will all taste delicious in the end. If you’re not in the mood for marshmallows, you can enjoy soup and oyster crackers or even cereal in your mug, too.