Pouring hot drink from a vacuum bottle into a cup

7 delicious ways to stay warm outside this winter

No matter what winter activities you’ve got planned, you’ll need to think of ways to keep warm while you’re crunching on trails in snowshoes or building snowforts all afternoon. The right combo of clothing layers is key, but there’s another factor that we often overlook: hot beverages.

The 7 sweet and savoury ideas below are best enjoyed in a vacuum bottle when you’re surrounded by a dusting of snow or hanging out fireside after a long day on the hill. Stay toasty with one of these piping hot options:

Hot apple drink

Go beyond tea, coffee or hot chocolate with this vitamin C-enriched hot apple drink with a trace of spice. The best part about this drink is how simple it is to make: add a pouch and hot water to your mug, stir and enjoy. It’ll help you get cozy and it doesn’t have caffeine, which makes it great for late-night sipping after a long day of snowboarding.

Mug suggestion: Something lightweight to pack along to the ski hill, like the GSI Microlite UL Vacuum Bottle.

Chili and spice hot chocolate

While hot chocolate is the classic winter drink, you can kick things up a notch by adding some spice. A mix of cocoa powder and cinnamon with a hit of ginger and chili, this hot, spicy drink – along with some ginger cookies – will help you perk up after an hour at the sledding hill.

Mug suggestion: Thermos Direct Drink Bottle has a pop-top latch that’s easy to use with gloves on.

Lentil soup

Don’t limit your mug to sweet stuff. A hearty vegan option, this organic lentil soup includes onions, garlic, various herbs and a drop of curry. You can enjoy in the pouch it comes in, which means all you have to do is fill up your insulated mug with hot water and pour it in. No dishes required, which means less stuff in your backpack when you glide along cross-country ski routes.

Mug suggestion: Thermos Leak-Proof Insulated Bottle to keep your water hot for up to 15 hours.

Potato cheddar soup

Two people sitting in the snow, sipping hot drinks with a Thermos nearby

If you want a creamy option that doubles as an outdoor lunch for your snowshoe walk on quiet trails, try this potato cheddar soup. Made of potatoes, cheddar cheese, red bell peppers and green onions, this soup will satisfy both your taste buds and your desire for something warm and filling. Like the lentil soup, you can mix in the pouch. Plus it serves 2 for sharing.

Mug suggestion: Klean Kanteen Classic Insulated Bottle, which can hold enough hot water for the potato soup pouch.

Butter tea

Called “po cha” in Tibet, this tea is a traditional drink made with yak butter, milk, salt and tea leaves (since yak butter’s likely tough to find, you can use regular butter). Start by boiling water with 2 tea bags in a large pan until the water is dark brown in colour. Then add milk and continue boiling. Blend with some butter and salt, and transfer it all into your mug. Need more guidance? Here’s a recipe.

Mug suggestion: A wide-mouth option, like the Stanley Vacuum Trail Mug, for easy sipping and cleaning.

Yerba mate

Yerba mate

A caffeinated South American drink, yerba mate (pronounced yer-bah mah-tay) is traditionally prepared by steeping dry yerba mate leaves in hot – but not boiling – water inside a hollow calabash gourd, and then is sipped through a metal straw. Since not everyone has access to a mate gourd, you can make it at home and pour the finished product inside an insulated mug to enjoy on a break when your thighs are burning mid-ski day.

Mug suggestion: Urban Elements Tea Tumbler with Infuser has a built-in strainer to handle tea leaves.

Hot toddy

A classic drink, the hot toddy features a nip of rum, whiskey or brandy mixed together with hot water and honey. You can also add some lemon or ginger ale for an extra twist. It’s a nice option to warm up quickly after an afternoon of cross-country skiing, or a way to cap off a winter full moon walk.

Mug suggestion: A bottle with a lid that doubles as a cup (like this Thermos Plaid Compact Vacuum Bottle), along with a fancy flask for any special additions.

After you’ve been outside working up a sweat on the trails or just building snowmen in the park, a piping hot beverage is a great way to unwind. Forget the usual hot chocolate and try any one of these tasty drinks for something a little bit different.


Photo credits: SyhinStas / Getty Images, RyersonClark / Getty Images, Aneta_Gu / Shutterstock.com

Tony Xu, writer
Tony Xu

Wearer of many hats and helmets: writer, CSIA level 3 ski pro, data geek, backcountry explorer, rookie rock climber. Driven to tell stories that bring the adventurous spirit out of everyone.