Winter’s got a sting in its tale this week and I’ve felt the need for more warming drinks to keep me warm!  My favourite caffeine-free drinks all take inspiration from the traditional Indian healthcare system, Ayurveda.  For years I’ve been fascinated by this ancient wisdom that places a strong emphasis on balance, nurture and natural healing.

Almond Golden Milk (serves 1)

Golden milk was traditionally made with full-fat cow’s milk and used to promote recovery after illness or to nourish those who find it difficult to gain body weight. As I’m dairy intolerant I always make mine with almond milk instead. The addition of bitter turmeric is also believed to balance all body types, improve digestion and boost circulation.  The pungent, dry flavour of turmeric is balanced by the addition of cinnamon and coconut cream in this recipe and a touch of honey adds just enough sweetness.

230ml unsweetened almond milk

1tsp. turmeric

½ tsp. cinnamon

Pinch nutmeg

¼ tsp honey

1tbsp. coconut cream

Warm the milk  in a small pan and then whisk in the spices and honey.  When the milk is nearly simmering, remove the pan from the heat and add in the coconut cream. Serve to a mug or wide tea cup.

Sweet Chai Latte (serves 1)

Liquorice is another favourite Ayurvedic ingredient as it is believed to balance all body types and reduce mucus production; especially useful after a cold, flu or winter sniffles.  If you can’t get hold of liquorice sticks then cut open a liquorice tea-bag, just make sure to strain through a very fine sieve before serving.

250ml coconut milk

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground star anise

1 liquorice stick

Pinch nutmeg

Pinch ground cloves

¼ tsp. ground vanilla bean

Pinch of sea-salt

Add the milk , spices and liquorice to a small pan and heat slowly, stirring frequently.  When the milk is nearly simmering, remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes.  Before serving remove the liquorice stick and then strain the liquid through a very fine sieve into a mug or coffee cup.

Basil & Ginger Infusion (serves 1)

This is one of my favourite winter infusions but initially the basil leaves may seem too pungent.  Start with just a small quantity of leaves and then add more according to taste.  Basil is referred as a sacred herb in India and Ayurvedic practitioners credit it for a long list of healing properties.  In particular it is thought to help reduce cold and flu symptoms.

Large handful basil leaves

250ml boiling water

Thumb-size piece of ginger, finely grated

Slice of lemon

Pour boiling water over the basil leaves and ginger and then whizz everything with a stick blender.  Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and serve topped with the lemon slice.