Winter warmth in a cup: coffee drinks for the holiday season

Let's delve into the magical world of holiday coffee drinks: from comforting traditions to modern creations, each sip is an aromatic journey into the enchantment of the winter festivities.

Barbara Fassio
Barbara Fassio

Ah, the charm of the winter holidays is in the air, and what could be more enveloping and comforting than a delightful cup of coffee? As the cold sets in, the warmth of a steaming mug in your hands becomes a comforting embrace. In this article, we’ll explore the realm of holiday coffee drinks, turning every sip into a magical experience. From age-old traditions to modern creations, get ready to immerse yourself in a whirlwind of aromas and flavors, discovering how these coffee drinks can make every moment unique and unforgettable.

Think coffee isn’t enough for you? Go explore a warm winter delight… with beer

Let’s dive into the coffee universe, where the enveloping aroma and richness of flavor blend with the joy of the holidays. You’ll discover that the warmth of winter manifests in every sip, bringing with it a unique atmosphere that only winter coffee drinks can provide. Get ready because our journey into the realm of coffee drinks is about to begin!

caffè invernale


Before we delve into the delights of holiday coffee drinks, let’s make a brief stop to talk about coffee beans. Some passionate roasters describe coffee as poetry: it needs the right verses to be appreciated. The quality of the beans is the first chapter of this aromatic poetry, and the right choice can transform a common drink into a work of art. Each coffee bean is a journey in itself, with varieties, roasts, and origins influencing its character. Like in life, choosing coffee is a matter of personal taste, and the options are endless. From the lively acidity of arabica to the intense notes of robusta, each bean carries a unique story, ready to enrich your cup.

But let’s not forget a second fundamental aspect. Just as a director chooses the right camera to capture the atmosphere of a scene, each coffee drink requires a special extraction method. From espresso to pour-over, each technique is like a dance, where water and coffee blend in an intricate choreography of taste.

One day, we might opt for filtered coffee, letting the beans reveal delicate nuances, while in a moment of energy, we could embrace the intensity of a ristretto. As the coffee maker’s wisdom states, “each bean has its stage, and each extraction method is its orchestra. The magic lies in finding the perfect symphony for every sip.” With this, we are ready to explore the unique delights that each holiday coffee drink offers: let the show begin.


In the first chapter of this caffeinated culinary adventure, we immerse ourselves in the enchanting world of Eggnog Coffee. This delightful fusion of eggnog, a classic creamy holiday treat, and the comforting energy of coffee creates a unique blend that captures the warm spirit of the festivities. One sip, and you’ll be enveloped in the cozy atmosphere of a holiday hug, ready to be pampered by the magic of this delicacy.

While the origins of eggnog are lost in the mists of centuries, its presence in holiday celebrations has spread worldwide. From Britain to North America, each place has adopted and personalized this beverage, creating unique variations. In many American families, eggnog has become a symbol of the holiday season, often homemade and served during family gatherings and festivities.

Would you like a recipe to make the perfect Eggnog Coffee at home? We knew it… here it is, ready to be prepared.


  • 1 cup freshly brewed espresso
  • 1/2 cup eggnog (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Whipped cream, nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks for garnish


Prepare a robust espresso and pour it into the cups. Meanwhile, gently heat the eggnog in a saucepan, but avoid boiling it. Add sugar to the warm eggnog and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Slowly pour the sweetened eggnog over the espresso. Garnish with whipped cream, a sprinkle of nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks for a festive touch. With each sip of this delight, you’ll feel the warm embrace of the holidays, a perfect combination of tradition and creativity.


Let’s move on in our culinary journey to the cobblestone streets of Milan, where Barbajada is a poem of flavors that resonates with the city’s history. Born in the 19th century, this beverage owes its origin to the ingenuity of Domenico Barbaia, the impresario of the famous Teatro alla Scala, who left an indelible mark on Milan’s cultural scene in the 19th century. In addition to managing the theater, he decided to add a touch of sophistication to Milan’s social life by opening the “Caffè dei Virtuosi” right next to La Scala. Inspired by the French and Parisian cafes of the 18th century, known for serving coffee and cocoa-based drinks to enlightened intellectuals, Barbaia conceived Barbajada—a blend of coffee, chocolate, sugar, and cream that became an icon of Milanese tradition and a delicacy loved by generations of Milanese.

The intriguing name, “Barbajada,” is a tribute to its visionary creator. The suffix “ajada” comes from the Milanese dialect and means “as it is”. So, Barbajada is literally “in the manner of Barbaja”, a tasty tribute to the genius who brought this delight to the cups of generations of Milanese.

After a period of neglect in the 1970s, Barbajada is now a rediscovered and beloved delight in the city, a testament to the blend of tradition and creativity that characterizes vibrant Milan. A sip of this beverage is like a journey through time, a homage to the roots and culinary sophistication of the city.

caffè invernale


From the heart of Italy, we venture into the enchanting green magic of Ireland with our third beverage: Irish Coffee. A poem in a cup, this drink combines the robustness of coffee with the warmth of Irish whiskey and the sweetness of cream. Each sip is a journey through the green hills, taking you to a cozy Irish pub, ready to toast to the beauty of the holiday season. And if you want to explore more winter cocktails, take a look here.

And if you’re wondering, ‘Is it spelled whisky or whiskey?’ know that the answer can vary depending on the production region. In Ireland and the United States, the form ‘whiskey’ is used, while in Scotland and Canada, the form without the ‘e,’ namely ‘whisky,’ prevails. Now, with linguistic doubts clarified, let’s immerse ourselves in the magical world of Irish Coffee.

Irish Coffee has a fascinating history dating back to the 1940s. It was created to warm and delight passengers on a transatlantic flight, but its success extended beyond the bounds of the air. The magical combination of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and whipped cream captivated everyone’s palate, making this drink a timeless classic associated with the cozy atmospheres of Ireland. Today, Irish Coffee is a delightful tradition enjoyed worldwide during cold winter evenings.


Continuing our caffeinated journey, we make a stop in Mexico, where the warmth of the sun translates into a comforting cup of Café de Olla. This traditional Mesoamerican beverage captures the essence of Mexican spices and the sweetness of coffee, giving us a taste of Mexico’s warmth on cold winter days. Are you ready to be enveloped by the vibrant scents and flavors of this unique experience?

In the rich Mexican tradition, coffee is much more than a daily beverage: it is a moment of sharing and celebration. Originating from rural regions, this pot-brewed coffee is a true expression of local culture and history. Its story is intertwined with ancient preparation techniques perfected by Mexican indigenous people, with the addition of ingredients like piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar) and spices, giving the coffee a unique flavor.

In Mexico, Café de Olla is often associated with festive moments. Families gather around a large steaming pot of Café de Olla, sipping on this delicious homemade beverage while sharing stories and laughter.

But what do we know about its name? Its strong connection is with the tradition of ollas, ancient terracotta pots used since pre-Hispanic times. Brewing coffee in a terracotta pot contributes to the distinctive aroma and flavor of this beverage, adding a touch of authenticity to every sip.


Pumpkin Spice Latte is the magical touch that transforms the coffee routine into a cozy autumn experience. Affectionately known as PSL, this delightful blend of coffee, milk, and spices has become the undisputed symbol of the falling leaves season. But who says we can’t continue sipping it even in the heart of winter?

Pumpkin Spice Latte has deep roots in the United States, where it has become an icon of colder days. Created and introduced by a famous coffee chain, this beverage quickly won the hearts of coffee lovers. Its debut dates back to the early 2000s, and its name “Pumpkin Spice” clearly evokes a celebration of flavors – a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger creates an irresistibly aromatic profile reminiscent of freshly baked pumpkin pie. This spice blend, known as pumpkin spice mix, is the heart of this drink, giving it that perfect cozy warmth for chilly autumn days.

And if pumpkin obsession has taken hold of you too, don’t miss this article… you’ll discover an incredible world, all to drink.

Bring back the autumn warmth at home with this simple Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe:


  • 1 cup of strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup of hot milk
  • 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sugar to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin spice mix
  • Whipped cream and cinnamon for garnish (optional)


Prepare a cup of strong coffee. In the hot milk, add pumpkin puree, sugar, and pumpkin spice. Mix well.

Pour the flavored milk into the coffee. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired. Now, sit back, wrap yourself in a blanket, and enjoy the comfort and magic of autumn right in your cup.

pumpkin spice latte

These delightful coffee drinks are like a warm hug on a cold winter day, a touch of comfort and joy in every sip. Whether you’re savoring an Eggnog Coffee, indulging in a traditional Milanese Barbajada, or immersed in the cozy aromas of a Pumpkin Spice Latte, there’s a taste adventure for every coffee lover. Take a break, enjoy the warmth of these creations, and let yourself be transported on a journey of winter delights.