As summer starts to fade and autumn creeps in, our attention is drawn to creative ideas for keeping customers warm with hot drinks. Featuring enticing aromas that attract customers inside or stirs a happy memory, there is more to a hot drink than meets the eye. In the care or health sectors, hot drinks are an important part of hydration strategies and encourage residents to come together to socialise, after-all, what can’t be solved over a cup of tea? In the education and out of home sectors, hot drinks warm chilly hands and provide a reason to press the pause button on busy lives, allowing us time to reflect and gain a little headspace before we continue our day.

Developing a hot drinks menu for the changing seasons is something to look forward to, marking a move from frappé to frost. Helping you add a touch of decadence, soothing tinctures or unusual flavours that will entice and delight, we have compiled some of our seasonal favourites for you to explore.

The hot beverages market in the UK is expected to grow annually by 9.83%, and by 4.93% in Ireland (CAGR 2022-2025). – Statista

Variety is the Spice of Life

Not everyone is a fan of coffee, so a hot drinks menu with plenty of variety for everyone is a must. Most operators offer hot chocolate, however it is easy to ramp up the flavour and decadence by adding a few extra ingredients. For a bit of nutty luxury, try dipping the rim of your mug in Nutella and then into a plate of chopped nuts, adding a spoonful of Nutella into your hot chocolate too.

Cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, chilli, chai tea and cayenne pepper also work well with hot chocolate, adding warmth and soothing aromas as the days start to cool down. To balance the spice, try offering a sweet alternative with Horlicks, orange, maple syrup, peppermint, dulce du leche, biscoff or caramel, each of which can be paired with a complimentary flavoured treat such as Lotus biscoff cake or a millionaires shortbread.

With its warming sweet and spicey aroma, chai tea is a great alternative to coffee and welcomes additional flavours such as eggnog syrup, matcha or honey. Turn a regular chai tea into something special with almond milk, a spoon of maple syrup and half a teaspoon of vanilla extract. The aroma will fill the air with comforting seasonal scents and entice customers or residents to sit and chat a while. Another more unusual tea drink is London Fog Tea, made with Earl Grey tea, frothy milk and a touch of vanilla extract. You could also use Lady Grey tea as an alternative and sweeten it with vanilla sugar instead of vanilla extract.

If you want to offer a warming drink for diners with colds or coughs (it is the season for it after all!) Try Dutch Fresh Mint Tea, made with fresh mint, hot water and honey – the mint will help clear the airways while the warm sweetness from the honey will soothe sore throats.

As autumn gives way into winter, your hot
drinks menu can transition, adding hot apple juice delicately spiced with clementine and cloves or a non-alcoholic mulled wine made with pomegranate juice, blackberries and mulling spices.

For those looking for alcoholic beverages, ensure your menu includes classic seasonal serves such as mulled ciders and wines. These drinks can be prepared ahead of time and is best made in batches. Think outside the box elsewhere in your drinks menu, Bottlegreen have created a delicious grown up twist on the traditional hot chocolate which is perfect for adding a warming special to your cocktail offering. Best enjoyed outdoors around an open fire, this rich and creamy serve is made with bottlegreen Winter Spiced Berry’s warming blend of blackcurrants and aronia berries and is embellished with a flamed marshmallow and popcorn cream.


With endless ways to prepare coffee, it seems the sky is the limit for the world’s favourite drink. Dalgona coffee was high on the trend list for 2021, but


This year we are seeing a move into healthy coffee as consumers seek to reduce their dietary fat intake and improve their gut health. Mushroom coffee, chicory root coffee and matcha coffee are all making their way to the stage. As weird and wonderful as they all sound, if you have a consumer base who are coffee afficionados, they might be worth a try!


Sustainability is a key trend in the coffee sector and will continue to play a very important role going forward. From packaging to where it comes from, how it is grown and harvested, coffee drinkers are seeking more from their standard ‘cup of joe’ so make sure you research into your supply base and communicate any sustainability credentials.


There are a number of complimentary flavours that work with coffee, adding a simple seasonal syrup such as the Pumpkin Spice Syrup from Monin, turns a standard latte into everything we love about autumn. The warm and inviting, yet spicy flavour of Pumpkin Spice is a clear favourite amongst the public with 66% of people expressing overall positive feelings for the flavour when surveyed by the Kearney Consumer Institute.

Bright & Bold

Whether it’s the deep pink of rose petals topping a latte, the fragranced grassy taste of pandan or simple blood orange, bold and bright is key according to thefoodpeople’s latest Hot Beverages Category Snapshot

Whether waking us up, soothing the soul or sending us to sleep, hot beverages help us relax, stay hydrated and take a little time out. Enhanced by the heat, our taste receptors that pick up sweet, bitter and umami flavours send stronger signals to our brains when food or drink is warmer, so capitalize on the changing seasons this year and give your hot beverage menus a boost!

Choose your cup wisely

For flavour, nothing beats a ceramic mug. Its solid, neutral material doesn’t absorb or impart flavours, leaving your hot drink tasting just the way it should, however there are a few alternatives out there to consider. A bone china cup and saucer is perfect for afternoon tea or delicate drinks such as Earl Grey. It also can be used as a quirky way to serve hot alcoholic drinks too, especially when the cup and saucer are mis-matched vintage china. 

Glass mugs in all shapes and sizes make layered coffee such as lattes look visually impressive, but can be awkward to hold, so double walled glass mugs may be more user-friendly.

For takeaway options, while Styrofoam holds the heat, it is not very environmentally friendly, so double walled paper cups are best, however offering a discount for customers who bring their own mug is even better. Although popular opinion seems to be that this type of scheme may not work, operators who have implemented a bring-your-own-cup policy are proving otherwise.

Within the care sector, thermal mugs that are easy to hold are great for residents who need to take their time drinking. No-one likes a cold cup of tea, so keeping it warm that little bit longer can help residents with dementia or dysphagia cope better with hot drinks.