Food & Drink // List

5 Must-Try Minnesota Drinks to Warm Your Bones This Winter

By James Norton

Couple drinking coffee by the fireplace

Cuddle up with a warm beverage in front of the fireplace  / © Hosanna - stock.adobe.com

In Minnesota, we're no strangers to creative hot beverages, and there are generally some tempting options to wrap your hands around no matter what part of the state you're in.

After hitting the slopes, riding the trails or attending an outdoor festival this winter, sipping something warm will taste twice as delicious. Here are five hot drinks to keep you warm this winter:

Bombay Cocoa from Golden Fig Fine Foods, St. Paul

There's nothing quite like a mug of hot cocoa when the mercury dips below freezing. And while the old-fashioned standard is a comforting favorite, there are shops around Minnesota playing with the beverage, updating it and tricking it out with some new features. Take, for example, St. Paul's Golden Fig local foods store, where one of the house blends includes cinnamon, ginger, cardamom,and a host of other spices. It's known as Bombay Cocoa, and it evokes chai tea with a chocolatey kick.

City Girl Coffee from Alakef, Duluth

Coffee is not merely coffee. Good coffees are often the product of great stories, like the one behind City Girl Coffee from Alakef. After taking over her family's 25-year-old Duluth-based roasting company, Alakef owner Alyza Bohbot created City Girl as a sustainable coffee company dedicated to empowering women in the coffee industry. A percentage of every bag sold goes to organizations that support women coffee growers in their country of origin, and the company sources its beans from female growers whenever possible.

Cardamom latte from Anelace Coffee

Warm up with a Cardamom Latte from Anelace Coffee in Northeast Minneapolis / Becca Dilley

Cardamom Latte from Anelace Coffee, Minneapolis

There's nothing like a finely crafted coffee drink, particularly when the weather goes polar on you. Anelace Coffee, on Central Avenue in Minneapolis, makes some of the most beautifully balanced and smooth coffee drinks in the state. The use of a bit of cardamom syrup gives this latte a Nordic-inspired wintry flavor that is incomparable when the snow starts to fly.

Tom & Jerry, Statewide

If you grew up drinking the hot cocktail known as a Tom and Jerry, you have some sense of why it's a such a good friend to those who live in northern states. And if you didn't, it's time to get acquainted with this slice of Upper Midwestern beverage culture. According to the Dictionary of International Food and Cooking Terms (Myra Waldo, 1967), a Tom and Jerry is “a hot frothy alcoholic drink made with beaten egg yolks, stiffly beaten egg whites, rum, sugar, boiling water, bourbon and spices, served in mugs with a sprinkling of nutmeg.” As per an authoritative story about the cocktail, "most modern aficionados replace the water with milk and the bourbon with brandy."

You can buy Tom and Jerry mix at stores, but if you can't find it, there's a great recipe for the cocktail online.

Two women with bartender at Milk and Honey Ciders

Milk and Honey Ciders welcomes guests to its taproom in St. Joseph  / Micah Kvidt

Hot Cider, Statewide

Minnesota is a great state for apples: The climate and soil are friendly to the fruit, and the University of Minnesota has done a great deal to ensure new and delicious varietals keep popping up in markets around the country. Most cafes will offer hot cider of some sort, particularly in the autumn through early winter months.

If you're interested in something a bit stronger that still packs an apple punch, you can find ambitious artisan hard ciders from makers all over the state, including Milk and Honey Ciders (St. Joseph), Keepsake Cidery (Dundas) and Four Daughters Vineyard and Winery (Spring Valley).

James Norton

James Norton is the author of Lake Superior Flavors (University of Minnesota Press), a guide to eating and drinking on the Lake Superior Circle Tour. He is currently the food editor at The Growler magazine.