Got any hot drinks you enjoy with salty snacks?
November 9, 2020 3:27 PM   Subscribe

Winter has arrived, and I'm in search of hot drinks to enjoy with things like Cheez-Its, or say... sour cream and onion potato chips. Normally I'd pair with water or a beer. (I guess I could have hot water? Hot beer or anything carbonated is going to decarbonate fast.) Hot apple cider is much too sweet to be anything but a dessert to my tastebuds, and right now I'm drinking it watered down at 25% concentration with these Cheez-Its and it's not really doing it for me. Gimme your weird hot drink for savory pairings!
posted by deludingmyself to Food & Drink (47 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Warm sake might be nice.
posted by eponym at 3:32 PM on November 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

Ever tried a classic Hot Toddy?

This one's probably gonna sound weird, but I swear it's good: Hot Dr. Pepper with rum or bourbon and a lemon wedge or cinnamon stick. Not sure if there's actually a name for it..
posted by erst at 3:35 PM on November 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

Broth or Miso soup. If going cheap a bullion cube in hot water.
posted by wwax at 3:36 PM on November 9, 2020 [12 favorites]

I brew my mead and cider to dry, and I don't sweeten it; it comes out like wine (because I only let it have a tiny bit of carbonation).

Would a dry wine work for you, either chilled or room temperature?
posted by wenestvedt at 3:44 PM on November 9, 2020

I've been making my Evening Warm Drink with hot cider mixed with decaf chai (and whiskey, but it's optional). You could replace the chai or the cider with a fruity/citrusy herbal tea.

Hot Dr. Pepper is also on our roster for this year.

I like miso soup as a hot drink - I get a variety pack like this (you can translate the label and instructions with google translate and your camera phone). If you have an Asian grocery you can almost certainly find a similar pack there for half that price or cheaper.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:45 PM on November 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: One quick comment and I'll duck out: I'm looking for beverages that aren't sweet or dessert-like. This rules out all soda (which I find universally cloying), most rums, some sakes, and anything in which you might place a cinnamon stick. OTOH, if you're a sweet drink averse weirdo like me and have some recipe where you're mixing a small amount of something sweet into a more complicated concoction, have at me.

100% serious about the sour cream & onion potato chip pairing.
posted by deludingmyself at 3:47 PM on November 9, 2020

Best answer: I guess I could have hot water?

I drink a ton of hot water at the office year-round. About half the time I'll drink tea and the other half will just be hot water.

Otherwise any kind of Japanese tea, except for maybe matcha which to me needs to be paired with something sweet, would be good. Green tea, genmai-cha, hojicha, mugicha, etc. They all end up tasting like roasted hot water and are pretty good accompaniments for snacks.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:47 PM on November 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Honestly, hot water with lemon is kind of a boss hot drink that plays nice with a lot of flavors. Years ago, a hippy dippy restaurant I frequented in LA got me onto it in a sneaky but obvious way: they'd put a little complimentary (dark-glazed) pot of it on your table while you waited for your food, and give you little (dark-glazed) cups to pour it into. I remember being like, I need to ask them what this tea is, it's so clean and refreshing and all I can taste really is the lemon. When I asked, the waitress smiled and said, yep, just straight up hot water with lemon. I make it at home all the time in the cold months. One kettle of boiling water, squeezed juice of half a lemon, toss the whole squeezed out lemon half into the pot.

But what about teas and tisanes in general? If you want to minimize or avoid caffeine, try some hojicha (roasted tea stems), genmaicha (green tea with popped rice), or roasted barley (has a kind of coffee-like taste). They all play nice with food.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:48 PM on November 9, 2020 [19 favorites]

Best answer: I love the tea they serve at my fave Korean place (or did, back when life existed) that goes with very savory dinner. It tastes a great deal like (Japanese) genmaicha, which is easy to find/buy. It has a nutty flavor I think comes from toasted rice. I might have a cup RIGHT NOW.
posted by less of course at 3:48 PM on November 9, 2020

Hot water with added magnesium powder.
posted by aniola at 3:49 PM on November 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My wife's been making kombucha and last night had that mixed with apple cider and water. Not sure what the proportions were but it was almost like drinking diluted apple cider vinegar, which you could do as well. Sour, slightly sweet, and apparently good for you.

Miso soup itself is pretty high sodium. That plus chips or cheez-its may be too much for a regular pairing.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:53 PM on November 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: No need to get complicated: nice hot mug of Lapsang Souchong with a slug of Bourbon
posted by niicholas at 3:53 PM on November 9, 2020 [7 favorites]

posted by biffa at 3:57 PM on November 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Hot water with a pat of butter is my base. I sometimes add dried herbs and salt to go for the brothy side, or go lemon and ginger for a tangy version. Whiskey or rum go well with either.

You can save your water from boiling beans or potatoes as a simple hot drink base.

And: hot water from a can of corn is surprisingly tasty as a base. I think whiskey and salted butter are the best additions but many are available.
posted by SaltySalticid at 3:59 PM on November 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

Bone broth.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:03 PM on November 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Definitely genmaicha, which has roasted rice grains in it and is nutty and savoury without being salty.

I would also go an aromatic tea like Earl/Lady Grey (I prefer Lady Grey personally), I think French Earl Grey is probably too floral. Lemon verbena is also a lovely flavour which I think goes brilliantly with savoury, fatty foods - it just cuts through the richness and adds a nice counter-note. You don't need a specific tea, just pick a few leaves and pour hot water over them - or if you can't find it fresh, plain dried leaves work too.

There's also corn tea which is kind of sweet but not sweet if that makes sense; it's sweet in the sense that many vegetables are sweet if you think about it while you eat them, but it is not as sugary sweet as fruit or soft drinks.
posted by Athanassiel at 4:10 PM on November 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

How about barley tea? That’s one of my favorites
posted by Illuminated Clocks at 4:13 PM on November 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

Best answer: I'm not a huge fan of Rooibos personally but I could see how that would pair nicely with salty snacks. It reminds me of hibiscus in some ways, but just with a smoother, less acidic flavor. It does have a slight sweetness, but it's more of a vegetable sweetness than a sugary sweetness, if that makes sense. Rooibos shows up in a lot of blends, some of which might be too sweet, but you should be able to find it on its own.

Going to second barley tea.

I used to drink peppermint tea with my cheese crackers. I don't know how well that would work for sour cream and onion chips though (I would try it but I don't think I have any sour cream and onion chips right now). I'd probably also try Stash's Lemon Ginger tea (I like that one specifically but there are other "lemon ginger" teas out there, or you could make your own with ginger and lemon in hot water).
posted by edencosmic at 4:18 PM on November 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You can absolutely drink beer hot. Crisp lagers, pale ales, and IPAs aren't going to be good heated up, but a nice malty ale or stout warmed up is likely to be delicious. Probably worth some experimentation if beer is your drink of choice!
posted by burntflowers at 4:24 PM on November 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Costenza makes a chipotle pepper puree that would make a nice savory drink, especially with a Better Than Bullion pairing flavor of Veg, Chicken, Turkey or Beef. Spicy hot.

Trader Joe's also has a Chilie Lime dry spice that would make a nice tasty hot base you could take in a Thai or Mexican style direction.
posted by effluvia at 4:25 PM on November 9, 2020

Best answer: Tea and whisky is an old-timey thing that can be good, like a smoky lapsang-souchong with bourbon. You can add a little sugar if you want, or not. A twist of orange peel. Etc.
posted by HotToddy at 4:33 PM on November 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I drink hot water with a bit of apple cider vinegar through the winter months, it's delicious with salty snacks. Apparently not great for your tooth enamel, so I stick to just one mug a day.
posted by third word on a random page at 4:37 PM on November 9, 2020

Best answer: So update: I did have a bag of sour cream & onion potato chips (Utz brand) and the pairing with peppermint tea is ... fine? The flavors don't really conflict but they don't really compliment each other either -- they just sort of cancel each other out. But I wouldn't say it's a bad match-up, either -- I like how the clean flavor of the peppermint helps to rinse out the flavor of the chips between mouthfuls. It's cool if that's not what you want.
posted by edencosmic at 4:37 PM on November 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

This is sweet but my go-to hot, non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverage is this ginger honey drink mix. The crystals are pretty pungent, I think you could use half a packet and just get the kick without the sugar. You could also just try unsweetened ginger root tea.
posted by yeahlikethat at 4:42 PM on November 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Hot lemonade made without much sweetener and lots of lemons. Add some freshly grated ginger to taste.
posted by mareli at 4:46 PM on November 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Roasted barley tea is wonderful hot or cold and although it takes honey beautifully (the nutty roasty flavor balances the acidic sweetness of honey, making the floral flavor stand out more, great if you're into small batch honey), it's nice all on its own.

Also good is classic matcha. The key is to use water that isn't at a rolling boil, or else it goes quite bitter, but if you have a variable temp electric kettle or just a good eye it's simple. A tiny bit of matcha powder goes a very long way so although the higher quality packages of it can cost a bit, it lasts forever. You can also mix matcha powder into steamed milk for a bright green steamer, which is fun.

As a cheez-its aficionado, I think they are incredibly salty and have a nice tang (acidity), so to balance that a paired beverage should be primarily bitter with a little sweetness. Smokey and green teas are my go-to, and I often have some fruit as well. It's like a cheese board! But a lot of beers that veer away from sour things would be good too, like a stout.

Don't shrug off suggestions of broths and clear soups, either. They are salty though so it can be kind of a heavy punch with the snacks you mention, but on the other hand can sometimes serve as a good snack and drink on their own. A cup of miso or a mug of chicken stock is excellent to sip.
posted by Mizu at 4:49 PM on November 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I agree with barley tea and genmaicha. Toasty and tasty! My Japanese host family drank barley tea with every meal, cold in summer and hot in winter.
You can also make an infusion of bay leaves that's interestingly refreshing and clean-tasting--might give you a similar feeling to something like an IPA but without the bitterness...
posted by exceptinsects at 4:53 PM on November 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

V8 or tomato juice heated up is delicious.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:59 PM on November 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

If you make hot chocolate using quality cocoa you can put as much/little sugar as you want. Without much sugar it's definitely not sweet.
posted by trialex at 5:01 PM on November 9, 2020

Best answer: If you like the bitterness of the beer with savory snacks, you might like dandelion or chicory tea. This Organic Sunny Dandelion Root tea from Stash is more bitter than it sounds and includes both dandelion and chicory. Brew it longer to bring out more of those flavors.
posted by purple_bird at 5:05 PM on November 9, 2020

Miso soup.
posted by Jubey at 5:07 PM on November 9, 2020

Broth sounds like a great option, but I have what I think might be amazing. Use a golden milk mix (this is the one I have used, but there are others or you could find a recipe to make your own), but don’t put it in milk. Brew a cup of black hot tea (simple English breakfast, probably) and stir some of this in when you begin steeping the tea. You can, optionally, add a splash of milk, but I don’t think it will need it. It’s savory and a little spicy and the flavors work so nicely together. There might be a little undissolved spice when you get to the bottom of the cup, so you can swirl when you’re drinking, get used to the texture, or don’t drink the last 1/4 inch. I’ll bet it’s absolutely perfect with sour cream and onion chips. In fact, describing this is making me hungry.

If you want to make it alcoholic, you could add a little whiskey or maybe gin.
posted by Night_owl at 5:09 PM on November 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: A splash of bitters can add a nice note to hot drinks, or even just warm water. Bitters are hip now so you can try a variety beyond the classic Angostura or orange bitters. In warm weather bitters in club soda or seltzer water is one of my go-to drinks, as I also have a low tolerance for sweet things. Another thing which is nice is a citrus twist. You can keep your favorite citrus in the fridge and slice off a bit of outer peel, then twist over your hot beverage to release the oils and then drop the slice in, or not, as you prefer. Lemon is classic with things like espresso, but I like orange twists for teas. Lime twist could be nice in things, as well.
posted by indexy at 5:10 PM on November 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I deeply hate the stuff but when I was young I was sometimes given a drink made from sour/salted preserved plums and hot water. It was a Chinese or Taiwanese thing. Definitely an acquired taste but not sweet.
posted by acidic at 5:15 PM on November 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My go to drinks for salty foods would be genmaicha, Rooibos, ginger tea.

Also, I enjoy a nice postum from time to time.

Maté may be a good match for you too, but it’s rather involved to make.
posted by rw at 5:46 PM on November 9, 2020

Best answer: Pu erh tea (fermented) is excellent with savory salty and/or greasy food. It’s ‘big’ in mouthfeel where an (also delish) roasted barley is ‘light’ if I can compare to wine varietal comparisons. Whether sour cream and onion chips can stand up to -it- is probably the real question.
posted by janell at 6:14 PM on November 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Hot Coke is actually great. Warm it in a pan on the stove, maybe with some ginger sliced in. Yum.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 7:51 PM on November 9, 2020

Mulled wine? It doesn’t have to be sweet.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 8:38 PM on November 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

I knew this thread would be broth/stock/miso heavy, can heartily recommend all the above. I've been on a broth kick recently now the weather's coldening, but it's also worth adding a dash of your favourite hot sauce for some extra punch!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:01 PM on November 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

2nding hot toddy. You don't need to add a lot of honey, just a small amount <1 tsp. It's a nice contrast to salty snacks. Homemade lemon ginger tea with fresh ingredients, as mentioned, is also nice. You can make a big batch and reheat.
posted by Red Desk at 10:10 PM on November 9, 2020

Best answer: Hot tomato juice is GREAT with cheesy pairings. Another hot pairing tip: Hot Spicy Cheez-Its dipped in French Onion dip.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:44 PM on November 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

I don’t do this a lot for health reasons but I’ll regularly use the noodles from a pack of instant ramen and save the packet for later, make either a broth to go with some other meal or put a little in some hot water as a drink. Add kimchi or kimchi juice, sometimes sesame oil or white pepper.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:35 AM on November 10, 2020

If you like barley tea I would also check out roasted corn tea. Can be found in Korean/Asian supermarkets. Just drop a small handful into hot water and let it seep.
posted by like_neon at 1:55 AM on November 10, 2020

Mrs Gotanda often just grates some fresh ginger into a mug and adds boiling water. Sharp, not at all sweet.
posted by Gotanda at 2:36 AM on November 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks to all, but especially edencosmic for going the extra mile and and trying peppermint tea with sour cream and onion potato chips, and Mizu for recognizing the essential salty/tangy qualities that make Cheez-Its so great and, therefore, what kind of beverages to pair with them.

I love hojicha and had forgotten about the deliciousness that is barley tea, so all those tea suggestions (and lemon in hot water!) seem spot on.

Everyone suggesting stocks/broths/soups: very much appreciate the reminder because some broth with hot sauce in a mug is awesome on a cold day. The only reason I didn't favorite your answers is because none of those options will cut the flavors of the salty snacks!
posted by deludingmyself at 7:44 PM on November 11, 2020

You might find something that appeals in this list of 17 hot drinks to try.
posted by biffa at 2:51 AM on November 12, 2020

Response by poster: Note to self and others reading this thread in the future, I'm currently drinking a cranberry mors, which is nonalcoholic, sweetened with honey but not sweet, and can be enjoyed hot or cold.
posted by deludingmyself at 1:09 PM on November 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

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