Christmas Latte: A Spicy Recipe To Keep You Warm All Winter
It’s never too early to be thinking about Christmas! Whether Christmas conjures up fond memories of freshly baked gingerbread houses, cinnamon sugar cookies, buttery nutmeg shortbread logs, or hot mulled cider with whole cloves, you’ll be able to recreate that warmth with a Christmas latte. And who doesn’t need a little caffeine to get them through the holidays?
Follow along as we guide you through a spicy Christmas latte recipe to keep you warm all winter.
What You Need
- Double shot of espresso (or 3 ounces strong brewed coffee)
- 1-2 candy canes
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 tbsp homemade Christmas syrup
- Espresso machine (optional)
- For the Christmas syrup:
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- ½ tsp of peppermint extract
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp of nutmeg
- ½ tsp cinnamon
At A Glance
One 12-ounce drink
What Is A Christmas Latte?
Making a classic latte is pretty straightforward. What variations to this base recipe make it a Christmas coffee? Well, it’s open to a bit of interpretation, especially since there’s no real consensus in the best coffee shops.
One popular idea is a homemade gingerbread latte, which relies on classic warm spices like cinnamon and ground ginger. While that works, we wanted to pack even more holiday flavors into this recipe, adding vanilla and candy cane. It’s almost like a gingerbread house latte!
How to Make A Christmas Latte
This Christmas latte is easy to make. It helps to have an espresso machine with a steam wand or a milk frother, but it’s not mandatory. I’ll show you how in four easy steps.
1. Make The Flavored Syrup
Add 1 cup of water and one-half cup each of brown and granulated white sugar to a small saucepan. Bring them to a boil and then reduce to a medium heat. Stir for five minutes and add in ½ tsp of peppermint extract, ½ tsp of vanilla, and ½ tsp each of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for five minutes. To make it ultrasmooth, you can strain it through cheesecloth to remove the powdered spices. It can be used right away or stored in the fridge in an air-tight glass jar for later.
Pro Tip: Use 1 tbsp of a storebought peppermint syrup to bypass this step and shorten prep time. If you don’t want the taste of mint to be overpowering, add in another tablespoon of a syrup you like for a more nuanced flavor profile, like molasses, maple syrup, caramel syrup, or vanilla syrup.
2. Prepare And Add The Espresso
Use an espresso maker to pull a double shot of espresso. You can use a single shot if you prefer less caffeine and a mild coffee flavor in your Christmas coffee.
Don’t fret if you don’t own an espresso maker. Three ounces of any strong-brewed espresso coffee can be substituted. Use a method with a metal filter – like a French press, Moka pot, or Aeropress with Prismo attachment – to achieve a similar mouthfeel. You won’t get the robust flavor you otherwise would with espresso, but your cup will still be nicely smooth and mild.
Pour 1 tbsp of your Christmas syrup into a mug, or to taste. Add the single or double espresso shot or strong brewed coffee.
Pro Tip: If there is a cafe near you, a good hack to skip this step is to order a plain espresso or two to go. It sounds silly, but it significantly enhances the flavor profile compared to using strong brewed coffee.
3. Steam The Milk
Steam one cup of milk using a steam wand. For the traditional silky smooth latte texture, use 2% dairy milk. If you don’t have an espresso maker, use a milk frother. Or you can froth milk using a whisk to incorporate air while warming it on a stove top.
For a vegan-friendly version of this recipe, use a plant-based milk such as almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, or soy milk. We suggest almond milk or oat milk for the most neutral flavor.
Pour the frothed milk over the syrup and espresso already in your mug, creating decorative Christmas latte art if you have the talent.
Pro Tip: If using a milk frother to make a vegan version, check that it is compatible with your milk. Some frothers can’t handle certain milks due to their differing protein and fat content.
4. Spice It Up With Toppings!
A crushed candy cane topping makes this drink a truly festive affair. Put a candy cane in a ziploc bag and crush it with a small bowl – or use a mortar and pestle if you have it. Sprinkle the candied bits to decorate your drink. It’ll add a nice splash of color to your latte art if you decide to test your barista skills. Hang another candy cane off the mug’s edge for flair.
Voila! You’ve got yourself an amazing creamy Christmas latte treat. Curl up with your absolute favorite mug and soak in the Christmas Eve or Christmas morning vibes – no matter what day of the year it is. Happy holidays!
Pro Tip: If you know how to make an iced caffe latte, you can easily turn this into a warm-weather treat using the same Christmas syrup. Try adding a whipped cream topping, perhaps with some grated fresh ginger and chocolate shavings.
This fun and festive Christmas latte will get you into the holiday season any time of year with its flavorful spices and fun garnish. This delicious drink has more Christmas spirit than a homemade gingerbread latte, and it’s easy to make, even if you don’t have an espresso maker or a milk frother. Sip and enjoy hot or iced!
What makes a coffee a latte is its ratio of espresso to milk. A traditional latte is one part espresso to two parts steamed milk, with just a thin layer of milk froth. The milk should be steamed at 60°C to draw out its inherent sweetness. If you steam the milk at too high of a temperature, the sugars will break down and the milk will burn to yield an unpleasant taste (1). See coffee drink types explained for more details.
A spiced latte is any latte with the addition of spices, including Gingerbread lattes. The best known is the Pumpkin Spice Latte (aka a PSL), a coffee drink popularized by Starbucks. It adds the spices we traditionally associate with the holidays and pumpkin pie, like clove, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. A PSL is also typically presented with a little whipped cream and a characteristic pumpkin pie spice dusting for the look, aroma, and taste (2).
A Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks has an espresso base, steamed milk, gingerbread flavored syrup, gingerbread-flavored whipped cream, and a wafer topping for an extra layer of crunch. A grande Gingerbread Latte has approximately 315 calories, 13 g of fat, 34.2 g of sugar, and 113 mg of caffeine per serving (3).
- Fick, K. (n.d.). Science of milk in coffee. Retrieved February 21, 2023, from https://www.diffordsguide.com/g/1113/coffee/science-of-milk
- Kanniah, J. C. (2020, October 29). What Is The Pumpkin Spice Latte? Retrieved February 21, 2023, from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2020/10/what-is-the-pumpkin-spice-latte/
- Starbucks. (n.d.). Gingerbread Latte. Retrieved February 21, 2023, from https://www.starbucks.co.uk/menu/product/11027821