Sips for the holiday season


Zoe Malin/Daily Senior Staffer

This season, Coffee Lab & Roasters offers unique drinks like a Nutella Latte, White Chocolate Mocha and Maple Latte. Owner Daniel Aquino also developed a recipe for a bright purple Ube Coconut Latte.

Zoe Malin, Reporter

A Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks is delicious, but the drink tastes even better coming from an Evanston establishment. These businesses put their own twist on winter beverages during the snowy months, but many are only available for a limited time.

Backlot Coffee
Backlot Coffee’s Litchi Noir Latte gets its name from a black tea made by Chicago’s Rare Tea Cellar. Co-owner Isaac Bloom said one of the shop’s former baristas created a concentrate syrup out of the tea after “falling in love” with it. For the latte, the tea concentrate is combined with espresso and a dash of Dutch cocoa powder. It’s topped with the customer’s choice of milk, highlighting the tea’s warm sweetness and floral aromatic flavor. Backlot will offer its Litchi Noir Latte through the winter.

Coffee Lab & Roasters
While many of Coffee Lab’s unique drinks are offered year-round, they’re especially fitting during the holiday season. Customers can sip a White Chocolate Mocha sprinkled with nutmeg or a Maple Latte, which owner Daniel Aquino said tastes like pancakes and syrup. The most indulgent drink is Coffee Lab’s winter special, a Nutella Latte. It’s made with a scoop of Nutella, steamed milk and espresso. It will be offered through the end of January. Aquino’s favorite seasonal beverage, however, is the Ube Coconut Latte. The purple drink is reminiscent of flavors from his childhood in the Philippines. He ate ube, a species of yam, in dishes growing up and has now perfected his own recipe that uses the ingredient. Aquino said the Ube Coconut Latte tastes like cookies and cream.

Kombucha Brava
Regina Sant’Anna, co-owner of Kombucha Brava, said the taproom uses organic, sustainably-sourced ingredients to make flavors based off of seasonal produce. The team at Kombucha Brava developed four artisanal flavors this winter: Pomegranate, Cranberry, Vanilla Peppercorn and Orange Cardamom. The company’s Custer Avenue taproom lists its hours online, and anytime it’s open, customers can purchase freshly dispensed kombucha. Sant’Anna encourages people to bring their own bottles to fill, helping the business in its mission to be as “zero waste” as possible.

Patisserie Coralie
Patisserie Coralie released its new Amaretto Eggnog Latte to close out 2019. It will only be offered in December and was inspired by staff members’ memories of drinking eggnog with their families. The drink consists of amaretto syrup, rum extract, Coralie espresso, steamed eggnog and nutmeg. Director of operations Taylor Fay said the drink contains no alcohol but will remind customers of the “warm holiday drink they’re used to.”

Reprise Coffee Roasters
When it came to developing Reprise Coffee Roaster’s seasonal drinks, owner Adam Paronto and manager Hunter Owen turned to the people they know best: their fellow small business owners. Reprise added a Cardamom Honey Latte to the menu in the fall and because of its popularity and will continue to offer it throughout the winter. The cafe sources its honey from bee farms in the Chicagoland area, infuses it with green cardamom and adds espresso and steamed milk. Reprise is also serving a special Spearmint Mocha Latte. It’s made with bittersweet chocolate from Chicago’s Katherine Anne Confections, house-made spearmint, espresso and steamed milk.

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