Matcha lattes served either hot or iced, have become popular the world over, not only as an alternative to coffee, but as a refreshment in its own right. But these are but the tip of the dairy iceberg, so to speak: there are a number of delicious beverages from across the globe that will certainly delight the palates of diners.
Traditionally, matcha – a drink made with pulverised green tea – is made with boiling-hot water, whisked vigorously until frothy, and served sans sweeteners of any kind. The au courant version popularised at many western-style cafes – or kissaten, as they’re called in Japan – features matcha whisked into hot milk and subtly sweetened with sugar. The drink is sometimes topped with foamed milk to simulate the frothy appearance of a traditional matcha brew.
Its name literally translates as “meringue milk,” and this classic Spanish beverage is made by steeping cinnamon and lemon zest in whole milk. The resulting infusion is sweetened, chilled, and then whipped with egg whites that have been whisked into stiff peaks. In the summer, the milkshake-like leche merengada is served ice-cold in glass tumblers or soda-fountain balloon glasses. To add your own twist and more fun texture, put in a jelly of Carte D’Or Crystal Clear Unflavored Gulaman as it is or flavored according to your consideration. In a colder weather, many recipes leave out the egg whites, the aromatics are steeped into hot sweetened milk, and the beverage is poured into earthenware mugs with cinnamon sticks for stirring.
Toasted almonds, ground chili peppers, orange zest, and aniseed may not be the first ingredients that come to mind when it comes to hot chocolate but these have long been traditional elements of Mexico’s chocolate de metate: tablets made of stone-ground chocolate. These ingredients are either crushed or grated into simmering milk. The beverage is then poured into a pitcher where it is beaten to a froth using a molinillo [wooden whisk] before serving. This spicy hot chocolate is a throwback to the fiery and bitter drink enjoyed by Aztec aristocrats prior to the arrival of Spanish conquistadores.
Inspired by the culinary aspect of Ayurvedic medicine, the modern version of haldi doodh, a traditional drink made with cow’s milk and ground turmeric, is a popular offering at many coffee shops and tea bars around the world. Purported to boost the immune system, it is commonly enjoyed during the colder months to stave off the usual coughs and colds. While the classic version is made with dairy and honey, many establishments offer a healthier, vegan-friendly drink made with almond or coconut milk sweetened with either dark brown sugar or maple syrup.
Despite the British connotations of its name, London Fog was first served at teahouses in Vancouver, Canada where the fragrant bergamot-scented drink helps diners warm up in cold, foggy weather. Loose-leaf Earl Grey tea is steeped into simmering milk, strained, and sweetened with either sugar or honey before serving. In Quebec, it is given a French accent as dried lavender buds are added to the drink during the infusion process. In this case, the London Fog is topped with frothed milk and a dusting of pulverised lavender.