13 Hot Drink Hacks You'll Wish You Knew Sooner

When cold weather bites, there's nothing quite like feeling the warmth of a hot drink. And a coffee or tea on a frosty morning might be just what you need to thaw you out enough to get up and get ready for the day ahead. Even on the weekend, it's so good to sip on a hot chocolate when you've had a hard day enjoying some retail therapy or while you're walking around a farmers market to gather your ingredients to make one of our delicious recipes. And if you like your hot drinks with a bit of oomph, then there are plenty of warming alcoholic hot drinks to choose from, such as hot buttered rum or a white nun. If you're feeling the cold with an actual cold, then a hot toddy feels so wonderfully soothing. When you're celebrating, a great hot party drink is mulled wine with its spicy aromas. 

You may find you've been drinking the same hot beverages for a long time and making them the same way. If so, it's time for some new ideas and some hot drink hacks you'll wish you knew sooner. 

1. Add ice cream to coffee

A cup of joe may be your daily staple, and if so you'll know exactly how you like it. Sometimes, though, it's good to mix it up and step outside of your coffee comfort zone by making yourself an Italian affogato. It's a wonderful way to drink coffee and turns it into a dessert-style beverage. It's also a cool coffee hack to know if you've run out of creamer and you like your coffee a little sweet. All you need is some ice cream (via TikTok). 

Put a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream into a glass that you can use for hot drinks. Now add your hot coffee, and watch as the ice cream starts to melt. As you sip away, it'll continue to infuse your coffee, making every mouthful as creamy as the last. It looks tempting and it tastes even better. Your drink will be transformed into a creamy and delicious caffeine hit, and it's not overly sweet either. And just remember, you're not being decadent, you're just channeling some European flair and enjoying a classic hot drink delight.

2. Melt marshmallows for a bougie beverage

When it's winter, there really is nothing quite so wonderfully warming as a hot chocolate. Kids love this sweet drink, especially with some whipped cream and marshmallows on top. Creamy, melted chocolate in a mug with sweet toppings: What's not to love? Of course, it's not just for little ones, so why not give it a grown-up essence by creating what TikToker @caughtsnackin calls a bougie hot chocolate. That's right, it's a sophisticated version, and it's got a boozy kick too. 

Start by heating 300 ml of cream in a pan. Break a bar of chocolate into this and stir until it's all melted. Add a double shot of Jack Daniels, stirring the alcohol into the pan of luxurious chocolate liquid. Pour it into a mug and spoon melted marshmallows on top. Pause to appreciate how delicious this is going to taste. If you've got a kitchen torch at hand, then give the top a blast so that the candy starts to brown. Add a couple of non-melted marshmallows on the top and sip away. You can also create this drink without the liquor, so discerning younger hot-chocolate drinkers can enjoy some creamy luxury as well.

3. Stop milk from cooling down coffee

When you get beyond a simple instant coffee, getting coffee right can become complicated. It's probably why it's so life-affirming when you find that perfect coffee shop or a great barista who makes it exactly as you like it. Nobody wants a lukewarm cup, but if you add cold milk it really does cool everything down. The problem is that if the milk is too hot, it doesn't taste so great. 

TikToker @goldenbrown.coffee notes that milk starts to taste 'cooked' if it gets hotter than 65 degrees Celsius. If the cup or glass you're using is cold, then it will start to absorb the heat from your beverage and your milky coffee will cool down pretty quickly. So to ensure the milk stays warm, the simple tip is to fill your cup or glass with boiling water first before adding your coffee. Leave this for 20 seconds, giving you time to heat your milk to the right temperature, using a thermometer if you can. Empty the boiling water out, add the coffee, and fill with the hot milk. Just make sure you hold the cup or glass in a cloth as it'll be hot to the touch.

4. Make a Starbucks-style Gingerbread Latte

Do you remember just how darned good the Starbucks Gingerbread Latte was? Everybody was in love with it. So much so that for nearly 20 years it became a winter staple. It was like drinking the essence of the festive season and left you feeling warm and fuzzy. That's until Starbucks stopped serving it in the U.S. in 2019. Of course, there are plenty of choices when it comes to comforting drinks served up by Starbucks, but the Gingerbread Latte is definitely one that's dearly missed (via TastingTable). 

Instead of crying into a plain latte, you could follow a TikTok tip and make your own version at home. Here's how. Grab your favorite mug and add a good glug of gingerbread syrup. There's no measuring here, so it really comes down to taste, pouring for a couple of seconds should be about right. Next, add two shots of espresso. Warm your milk and use a frother to make it all light and foamy. Top your mug up with the milk. On top, squirt on some whipped cream and add a dusting of nutmeg to finish off your homemade cup and give it a warm embrace. 

5. Drink more hot toddies

There's something so comforting about a hot toddy. It's undoubtedly that enticing mix of whisky, lemon, and honey, and the fact that it's served hot so you get all those wonderful aromas. No wonder it's a go-to beverage for when you're feeling a bit under the weather or are fighting off a cold. After all, you really just want something to make the symptoms feel less unpleasant. However, because they're boozy, you should sip toddies slowly, and they often go cold before you've finished. And you can't have too many either. ManMadeDIY suggests a straightforward way to enjoy more hot toddies and to be able to drink them faster too: Just cut down on the alcohol. 

To make four drinks, add 4 oz of whisky to the juice from a whole lemon and top off with boiling water from a kettle. If you want to add some extra flavor, you can also add in a little nutmeg, cloves, or five spice. Another good tip, courtesy of TikTok, is to pour boiling water into an insulated mug to keep it hotter for longer. If you want an alcohol-free brew then you could try mixing boiling water, lemon, honey, and apple cider vinegar with a sprinkling of cinnamon on top. 

6. Make instant hot chocolate in a jar

It's understandable if you want to dive into a big mugful of hot chocolate to warm you up during the winter season. Did you know that you can make a velvety smooth drink without a chocolate bar or powder? All you need is a nearly empty jar of chocolate spread. Add warm milk to the jar and screw the lid back on. Now give it a vigorous shake. You want all the bits of spread to come away from the sides and melt into the milk. You can then pour it into a mug. This hot chocolate hack is quick, easy, and delicious — and it means you make the most of your favorite chocolate spread. You also get a workout, sort of, when you're making it (via TikTok). 

You can use whatever spread you like, from Maltesers to Nutella. If you heat the milk in a pan, keep stirring it so it doesn't get a skin on top. After you've stirred, shaken, and served, try adding a few marshmallows on top, as well as some chocolate syrup for good measure (via YouTube).

7. Use a tea bag with string to steep and strain

Sometimes there's no other hot drink that will do besides a glorious cup of tea, whether you're sipping on a rich rooibos or a darling Darjeeling. Everyone's got their own idea about what makes a terrific cup of tea, from adding milk and sugar to lemon or possibly honey. What you definitely need to do though, is steep and strain, and this is where a teabag string and a TikTok hack come in to help. To strain, lift the bag out of the hot water and put it on a teaspoon, still holding it over your cup. Wind the string around the spoon and over the teabag so that it's squeezed and all that terrific tea taste comes out.

While the little piece of card at the end of a string reminds you know what tea you're drinking, it's also perfect for keeping your teabag in place while you're brewing it as well. Next time you're brewing up, wrap the piece of string around the handle of your mug. To keep it from slipping, create a loop by threading the card under the wrapped-around string. Now you won't have to drink tea with a tag floating in it or have to fish it out before drinking (via TikTok).

8. Turn a hot drink into a cool artistic scene

Chocolate contains magical properties that make you happy. Well, not quite, but it does have certain mood-lifting chemicals in there. And the thought of the silky, luxurious taste of steaming hot chocolate is enough to make a lot of people feel pretty good. Add a flurry of whipped cream and whatever else you like, and you can really up the decadence levels. If you're making it at home and want to delight kids (or the young at heart) during the winter season then we've got the perfect recipe hack to put a smile on anyone's face. Turn your drink into an artistic snowscape by making a Snowman Soup

For each mug, microwave a cupful of milk with a couple of tablespoons of semi-sweet chocolate chips and a teaspoon of sugar. Microwave for a couple of minutes, stirring halfway through. You should have enough space in the mug to add a ¼ cup of whipped cream. This is your snow. Now for the snowmen. You'll need marshmallows and orange and black gel icing for this. Draw black dots for the eyes and create a mouth with dots too. An orange, carrot-styled nose finishes off the face. Pop two snowmen into the snowy cream and add more marshmallows if you want to.

9. Stop the hot drink burn

Even if you blow on a hot drink, it's really easy to end up taking a sip when it's still scaldingly hot and burn your mouth. But you don't want to wait until it's cooled down too much either. If you're grabbing a takeout cup of something hot, then don't remove the stopper that goes in the hole you sip from — push it down instead. Turn your cup around and sip from the small hole on the other side of the lid instead. Try it for yourself and see if it makes a difference. Of course, when your drink has cooled down, you can turn it back and drink from the sippy part (via TikTok).

Another TikTok post offers a remedy if you've already burned your tongue after taking a sip of a beverage that's too hot to drink. Ouch. Put some granulated sugar on the part of your tongue that's feeling uncomfortable and leave it there for a couple of minutes. The idea is that this will offer some relief. However, you may just want to try and avoid burning yourself in the first place and be a little more patient, even if it's cold outside and you need a liquid warmer-upper.

10. Make champurrado for non-dairy fans

Champurrado is a deliciously rich and thick non-alcoholic drink from Mexico made from milk, sugar, and masa with Mexican chocolate added in as well. Add the chocolate in before the masa slurry and once it's boiled, let it cool as you whisk it up. For an extra flavor lift, add a pinch of salt or cinnamon, or some vanilla. It's a shame that this drink, like other varieties of hot chocolate, is often a no-go for vegans or non-dairy fans, including those who are lactose intolerant. However, if you follow the traditional recipe for this hot beverage, then you'll discover that it's actually a dairy-free drink. Variations mean that dairy is often added to it though, as Broke Bank Vegan reveals.

Champurrado consists of Mexican chocolate that's added to atole. If you're wondering what atole is, it's masa and water mixed with sugary piloncillo, along with cinnamon and vanilla. If you want to make your vegan champurrado extra creamy, then you can add some plant-based milk into the mix. And if you don't have a traditional wooden whisk to hand, called a molinillo, then you can use a more modern method, an electric blender, to mix up the ingredients. 

11. Turn wine into a hot and spicy winter warmer

Adding an alcoholic shot to hot chocolate is downright delicious and spiking coffee creates a delightful Irish coffee. Another great boozy winter warmer is mulled wine. Hot wine with those lovely Christmas-y spiced flavors is so warming. Imagine making a big pot of it and serving it at a party over the holidays. It also looks rich and comforting and makes for a pretty, warm welcome to guests. It's perfect for sipping on curled up in front of the fire at home. You can even make your mulled wine in a slow cooker, as suggested by @currys on TikTok. Add wine and caster sugar to the pot, along with star anise, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Let those flavors permeate for an hour or two. Keep on a warm setting if you have one.

If you're looking for some tips to make your mulled wine a winner, Matching Food & Wine offers some great ideas. Firstly, remember you can use a cheap bottle of plonk for this, so leave any of the good vintages out of this recipe. If you like an extra bite, then add some port into the mix, or some ginger wine. Use whole spices, rather than ground ones, and brown sugar not white for a toffee taste. And don't let your vino boil, as it may taste bitter. Serve with orange slices. 

12. Mix it up with yuenyeung

When you wake up in the morning do you prefer tea or coffee? What about during the day? Can't decide? People in Hong Kong don't have to, and neither do you, if you make yourself a cup of yuenyeung, that is. If you're wondering what this is, it's a mix of coffee and tea. It might sound a little kooky if you've never heard of it, but it's certainly different and you may find it tastes like the best of both brews. 

To make it, start by adding a few teabags to a pan of boiling water. You want the tea to be pretty strong, so no quick dipping of a bag for this concoction. Make some freshly brewed coffee as well. In a cup, add a small amount of condensed milk, and a little more evaporated milk. Top up with the hot coffee and tea, making sure that you're adding equal amounts of each. Give it all a good stir (via YouTube). While this might be an acquired taste, it definitely beats having to choose between tea and coffee.

13. Make latte art with a toothpick

Apart from the creamy taste, one of the best parts about treating yourself to a latte from your favorite coffee joint is the artwork. If your barista likes you, they may add a love heart on the top, but whatever design they choose it somehow makes the drink taste that much better. You've no doubt seen experienced baristas swirling jugs of milk and cream around and making complex patterns on the top of a latte or cappuccino. If it's something you've not thought of doing at home or believed was too difficult to do, then you'll be pleased to know it doesn't have to be. You don't need any fancy equipment — in fact, all you really need is a toothpick and a great TikTok tip. 

Make a coffee and whip up some milk so it's nice and foamy. With a teaspoon, add a line of four dots of the foamed milk with another two discs at either side of the second dot down. The dots should roughly be in the shape of a cross. Grab a toothpick and starting from the end dot run the stick in an s-shaped movement up through the line of dots. Drag the stick through the two milky marks on the outer edges. The dots turn into heart-shaped petals, creating a free-style floral design that gives your coffee an artistic aesthetic.