Jens Mortensen/The New York Times

Dining staffer Katie Rueff '27 outlines how warm and fancy winter drinks can be made with many milk alternatives.

January 25, 2024

Four Vegan Drinks to Survive the Ithaca Winter

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Welcome back to Cornell! Temperatures may be low but spirits are, well, at least a tad bit higher since it’s the start of a brand new semester.It’s time for some cozy moments of peace while we still have a few weeks before our first major assignments are due . So, wrap yourself up in a snowy soft blanket and enjoy our drink recommendations. And, in an effort to appreciate the lovely environment that’s brought us this amazing snow, all of the recipes below can easily be vegan.

First, topping the list is, of course, the classic hot chocolate. Make this drink vegan by swapping dairy milk for a milk alternative such as almond or oat milk. Don’t want to skimp on the marshmallows? Try out a vegan marshmallow brand like Dandies. Walmart may carry these. As a tip, once you’ve found your favorite hot chocolate recipe, play around with add-ons and sweeteners. Want your hot chocolate more bitter? Sprinkle in a dash of cacao powder. Want some extra sweetness or a different flavor? Try a drizzle of (vegan) caramel or some crushed candy cane. 

Nostalgic for simpler times (ie: last fall)? Well, then it’s time for some hot apple cider! For a more eco-friendly alternative to buying bottles, try out an instapot apple cider recipe. Saucy Kitchen has a recipe for this, which includes fresh apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and even fresh oranges. This is also the perfect drink to add some vegan caramel drizzle, which can be made from home with some coconut cream, brown sugar, and cornstarch. 

Next, for those who can’t decide between tea and coffee, you’re in luck because we have a warm winter option for both.

For the coffee fans, try a warm, banana milk coffee. While it may sound a little weird at first, this delectable delight is a certain must-try. Using Inside the Rustic Kitchen’s highly rated recipe, simply switch out the milk for a dairy alternative and you’re ready to go! Some have even related this drink to a winter version of a classic fall favorite: the PSL (pumpkin spice latte). 

Lastly, for those who may not need much more of a caffeine boost today, try this London Fog tea, a Canadian twist on the classic Earl Grey. Following International Desserts Blog’s recipe, try coconut milk instead of dairy milk for an equally delicious, healthier and more eco-friendly version. 

With four simple drinks to prepare you for long winter nights of studying (and hopefully some relaxing, too), The possibilities of soul-warming drinks are as endless as the snow outside!

Katie Rueff, dining staffer, is a first year in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].