How to Make the Perfect Hot Drink
As the winter nights draw in and we retreat to the sofa, there’s nothing more relaxing than sitting in your favourite pyjama set with a soothing hot drink in hand. Whether you’re partial to a cup of coffee, a warming pot of tea, or an indulgent hot chocolate, we have the ultimate guide to making the perfect hot drink for winter months.
How to make a hot chocolate
A hot chocolate is the perfect accompaniment to snuggling up on the sofa in your comfiest woollies and a cosy blanket. It's indulgent, delicious, and relaxing – the ultimate winter warmer.
There are plenty of ways you can make hot chocolate, whether you use a ready-made powder, drinking chocolate, milk, cream, or hot water – the sky really is the limit!
While instant hot chocolate is great when you’re in a pinch, there’s nothing more decadent or delicious than a hot chocolate made over the stove with milk, high-quality cocoa powder, and delicious real chocolate.
Here’s our classic recipe for a soothing and scrumptious hot chocolate that you’ll be making all winter long in your favourite Cath Kidston mugs.
Hot chocolate ingredients
- 350ml milk – we recommend whole milk if you prefer a creamier drink
- 1.5tbsp quality cocoa powder
- 2–3tbsp sugar – white sugar is classic, but brown has a lovely caramel taste
- 35g chocolate – dark or milk depending on your personal taste
- A handful of mini marshmallows or a dash of squirty cream (or both!)
Chop your chocolate finely or grate it. Heat your milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until it’s simmering – don’t bring it to a boil, because this can burn your milk.
Once your milk is simmering gently, add your chocolate and stir it until melted. Then, whisk in your cocoa powder until this is fully dissolved, along with your sugar.
Take your hot chocolate off the heat and pour gently into a large mug. If it’s easier, you could pour your concoction into a jug first.
Squirt a big dollop of cream on top of your hot chocolate or sprinkle your handful of mini marshmallows on top – or both if you love an extra sweet treat!
The great thing about hot chocolate is you can enjoy it on the sofa, while you’re baking or cooking dinner, or even from the comfort of your bed, wrapped in a duvet in your favourite bedding set.
How to make the perfect cup of tea
The perfect cup of tea is a hotly debated topic. Whether you like your tea on the milkier side or you’re a fan of a strong builder’s brew with just a splash of milk, the way we have our tea is deeply personal.
We know we don’t need to teach you how to make a cup of tea step by step. But there is one debate that has raged on for years – do you put the water in first or the milk?
We’re here to settle that: water first. If you add milk to your teabag before the hot water, it doesn’t brew as well. To get the most out of your teabag, it needs freshly boiled water that’s as close to 100°C c as possible, according to tea experts.
How to make the perfect cup of coffee
If there’s one hot drink that can be made in a million different ways, it’s a cup of coffee. Whether you have a convenient machine that you use pods with, you’re a fan of grinding your own coffee and meticulously making it from scratch, or you prefer the convenience of instant coffee, there’s a cup of coffee for everyone.
Coffee-making methods are so diverse, so we won’t go into every single one here. But we do have some top tips based on how you like your coffee:
- If you make pour-over coffee or you have a drip coffee machine, make sure your beans are ground down to an even consistency similar to table salt.
- For a French press coffee, your beans should again be ground consistency but in a texture closer to breadcrumbs.
- If you’re buying coffee beans, fresh beans are undeniably the way to go. Bulk coffee that is exposed to light and air can go rancid quickly.
- For filter coffee, choose filters that are dioxin-free or oxygen-bleached.
- If your coffee is on the bitter side, a small pinch of salt can balance out the flavour.
- For machine users, make sure you clean them regularly – especially if you use milk in your coffee.