Try These Classic Latino Drinks Perfect for the Cold Weather

With all this rain and cold weather, it's the perfect time to sit around the table with friends and family with a hot drink in hand. 

But which one are you choosing? 

You can’t go wrong with the classic hot chocolate or a simple cup of coffee. 

But have you tried the popular Latino drinks like Chocolate Abuelita, Champurrado, Atole or Ponche? 

The holidays may be over, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy these drinks this winter.

If you visit a Latino supermarket you may find most of these ingredients in the same area, given that they are staples in many Latino households. 

Tamarind, apples, guavas and cinnamon can usually be found together. 

Take a look below at a few recipes to try at home. 

And remember, everyone has their own style and special recipe so don’t be afraid to add or omit some ingredients. 

Champurrado

About 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 liter (about 4 cups) of water
  • 2 liters (about 8 cups) of milk of your choice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 blocks of piloncillo (unrefined whole cane sugar) 
  • Half a cup of masa or corn flour (I used the brand Maseca)
  • 2 discs of chocolate (I used the brand Abuelita) 

In a pot, melt the piloncillo and chocolate discs along with the cinnamon in one liter of water until the piloncillo and chocolate dissolve.

Use a whisk or spoon to combine everything well.

Then add your 8 cups of milk. Let that heat up but not boil.

In a cup or bowl, add the masa with about two cups of water. 

Blend the masa and water well until it becomes smooth.   

Once you see the milk in the pot start to get hot, add the masa mixture and stir until it is thick, you might want to mix it with a ladle and watch it for about half an hour to make sure it is smooth, thick and creamy. 

Note: you can also toast the maseca a bit on a pan before mixing it with the water and adding to your pot.

Ponche

About 15 servings

Ingredients:

  • 5 Liters of Water (about 20 cups)
  • 2 blocks of piloncillo (unrefined whole cane sugar) 
  • 1 cup of dry hibiscus (jamaica)
  • 3 apples quartered 
  • 8 small guavas
  • 3 sticks of cinnamon
  • 15 - Tejocotes 
  • Optional Tequila o Mezcal 
  • Other optional ingredients: oranges, pears, sugar cane, tamarind or star anise.

Add your water to a large pot, placing the piloncillo, tejocotes and cinnamon inside. 

Let those boil for about 10 minutes.

Then add in all of your preferred fruits, quartered. 

Let it heat up at a low volume for about an hour until all of the ingredients are blended, mixing occasionally, and serve.

Note: One block of piloncillo is about one cup (or 8 oz.) but you can substitute it with brown sugar.

Optional Ingredients: Oranges, Pears, Sugar Cane, Tamarind, Star Anise, Tequila or Mezcal

Strawberry Atole

About 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 liters (about 8 cups) of milk
  • 5 cups of water
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 2 cups of fresh strawberries 
  • 6 tbsp cornstarch

Add about four cups of water into a pot along with your sticks of cinnamon. 

Let that heat up for about 10 minutes. 

Add in your 8 cups of milk to the pot and let it heat up at a low volume. 

Take two cups of fresh strawberries, remove the stems and cut them into quarters.

Place them in a small pot along with a cup and a half of water and half a cup of brown or white sugar. 

Heat the mixture on the stove for about 5 to 10 minutes until it resembles a jam. 

Then place that mixture in a blender and blend until it is smooth. 

Add that strawberry mixture to the pot of milk.

Then in a cup or bowl add one cup of water and about 6 tablespoons of cornstarch (I used the Maizena brand).

Blend the maizena and water mixture until it is smooth.

Pour that maizena mixture into your pot and let it simmer, stirring it constantly so it does not stick or overflow. 

Once it is all blended well it is ready to serve.

Note: If you can find it at your local market, strawberry flavored Maizena can be used instead of fresh strawberries.

Cafe de Olla

About 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 liters of water (about 8 cups)
  • 1 piloncillo, about 8 oz.
  • Instant coffee, half a cup
  • 2 to 4 whole cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Place the cinnamon stick in a pot of water along with the cloves, piloncillo and star anise.

Let that heat up until the piloncillo dissolves in the hot water.

Let it come to a boil before adding the coffee.

Mix and serve.

Optional: You can add half a disc of chocolate abuelita

Hot Chocolate

About 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of chocolate Abuelita
  • About 8 cups of milk of your choice

Fill a pot with the 8 cups of milk.

Place the disc of chocolate in the pot as the milk starts to heat up.

Mix it with a whisk so the chocolate disc starts to dissolve and the chocolate blends with the milk.

Optional: You can add a stick of cinnamon

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