Aahh, Fall – the season of cool crisp weather, faint scents of burning wood, and warm drinks! Warm flavors like cinnamon, pumpkin spice and nutmeg are being added to coffee and tea cups across the United States. In European countries like Germany and Poland, hot cider and spiced wines are all the rage at this time of the year. And in Italy and Belgium, gourmet hot chocolate is the name of the game.

We’re bringing you recipes for three of our favorite fall beverages.

Hot Spiced Wine:

Mulled Wine, or Gluhwein as it is known in Western and Eastern Europe, is a hot spiced wine made by simmering cheap red wine with cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, orange and lemon slices and a bit of sugar.

  • 1 Bottle of cheap red wine
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 large orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced (optional)
  • ½ cup of brown sugar or agave syrup
  • 5-6 whole cloves
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks (1-2 tsp grated)
  • 1 nutmeg (or 1 tsp grated)

Pour red and white wine into a medium pot and place over medium heat. Reserve one cup of red wine for later. Add sliced lemons and oranges, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg and sugar (or syrup). Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 10minutes. Add in the final cup of red wine, turn off heat, stir and let the flavors infuse together.

Serve hot and decorate with cinnamon stick and thin slice of orange or lemon.

Gourmet Hot Chocolate:

This sinfully delicious drink has many variations around the world. In Greece and Italy for example, hot chocolate is a richly thick drink reminiscent of heavy syrup, while in the Netherlands it is literally heated chocolate milk. In Belgian cafes when you order a chocolat chaud you get a steaming cup of milk and small bowl of dark chocolate chunks or chips to dissolve in the milk. It’s the sort of delicious DIY project you’ll want to repeat again and again at home.

  • 3 cups of organic whole milk
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup (225g) of bittersweet chocolate

Combine organic whole milk and heavy cream in medium pan. Simmer over medium heat until almost boiling. Chop chocolate bar into chunks or shavings. Pour milk into cups and serve with spoon and chocolate chucks or shavings. Place chocolate into steaming milk and stir until fully melted. Enjoy, and repeat!

Harvest Season Teas:

Dramatic flavors and bold spices distinguish Harvest Season Teas from the light and mild summer variations. In many parts of the world fall flavors are synonymous with cinnamon, dried apples, pumpkin, chestnut and ginger. Popular tea sellers are starting to incorporate more dried fruits, spices and even nuts into their teas for a deeper, more sophisticated taste. If you’re not up for dishing out tons of dough on gourmet tea at the mall, use your favorite inexpensive loose tea as a base to create your own varieties.

  • 1 cup of water (boiling)
  • 1 tsp loose tea
  • ½ tsp honey
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional)
  • 1-2 cloves
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • ½ apple (smashed)

In a small bowl or mug mash the apple. Add boiling water and loose tea. Stir and add honey, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, cloves and nutmeg. Let stand for 2-4 minutes. Strain liquid into a clean cup, and savor slowly.

RussianShoppe has added new teas in unique packaging to its Team Room collection. Keep an eye out for Fall Savings on gourmet teas and chocolates, starting this month!