Gingerbread lattes are to the winter season what pumpkin spice is to autumn, and a sumptuously cosy companion to switching on your Christmas lights. While we can’t provide the light show, we can offer up a few recipes for you to make at home, including the iconic gingerbread latte. Even if the festive season has passed, you can always recreate the warm glow with a gingerbread latte recipe.
There's no denying that for most of us, money is tight, so what better way to cut your spending than recreating your festive favourites at home, rather than handing over your cash to a coffee shop?
How to make your own gingerbread latte syrup
The easiest way to make a gingerbread latte is how the coffee shops do it: with gingerbread flavoured syrup. Gingerbread syrup is fairly easy to find - some larger supermarkets even stock it - but it is also seriously easy to make at home. As an added bonus, storing it in a nice bottle with a handwritten label can make a really nice Christmas present for the coffee lovers in your life.
When it comes to making the syrup for a gingerbread latte, what we are really doing is deconstructing what gives a gingerbread biscuit its signature flavour - that perfect balance of sweetness and warmth.
You will need:
- 200g brown sugar or molasses (white will also work, but brown has a richer flavour, essential for that traditional gingerbread taste.)
- 400g white sugar
- 550ml water
- Ground ginger - 2 teaspoons minimum, but add to taste up to 4 tsp
- 2 tsp ground sweet cinnamon
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- Optional - cloves and nutmeg to taste (usually ¼ tsp)
- Place the cold water into a saucepan and add in the ginger, cinnamon and spices.
- Slowly add the sugar, while stirring over a medium heat.
- Once simmering, leave for 10-15 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken slightly into a syrup-like consistency.The mixture will thicken further when it is cooling.
- Ensure that all the sugar has dissolved before removing from the heat.
- You can either strain the mixture to remove the spices, or leave the spices in, depending on taste. Either way, once the heat has been removed, you can add the vanilla extract.
- Allow to cool before placing in an airtight bottle. Store in the fridge for up to three months.
*You can alternatively use fresh ginger. If doing this, allow the mixture to steep for anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour before removing the ginger.
Gingerbread latte recipes for at home
The absolute easiest way to make a gingerbread latte at home is with an espresso machine. To do that you simply need to create latte milk with the steam wand, draw off two espresso shots, and add both to a shot of gingerbread syrup. If you don’t own one, though, don’t panic: here’s how to make a gingerbread latte at home without an espresso machine.
While a gingerbread latte (or any coffee-based latte for that matter) will be made with espresso shots from a machine, you can recreate this drink with any type of strong brewed coffee. There's no getting away from the fact that these drinks pack a sugar punch, so you’re going to want to make your coffee on the stronger side as a way to cut through all that sweetness.
You will need:
- 2 espresso shots (or equivalent)
- Gingerbread syrup
- Optional - whipped cream and biscuit to garnish
- Prepare your coffee shots first, and place them into a coffee cup.
- Place the milk and syrup into a pan and set over a medium heat. The golden ratio of coffee to syrup is 2 shots espresso to 3 tablespoons syrup per serving. For each latte you will want 200-250ml of milk.
- Keep stirring so that the milk does not stick and scald at the bottom, or down the sides of the pan.
- Once it is starting to bubble, it is ready. Do not leave for a little longer just to make sure, because as soon as it is boiling it is scalding the milk, resulting in a burnt flavour. The milk will also keep rising in temperature for a few seconds even after removing from the heat.
- For added texture, try frothing the milk with a milk frother, using a cafetiere, or by placing it in a jar and shaking. This will give a texture closer to that of a cappuccino than a latte.
- Now pour the spiced milk into the cups over the espresso.
- Top with whipped cream and serve with a gingerbread biscuit. Voila.
This recipe works just as well with dairy-free milks - just make sure to pay attention to the temperature of the milk when heating, as most alternative milks have a lower boiling point, and will burn quicker than dairy varieties.
Alternative gingerbread latte recipe (without syrup)
If you have a hankering for a gingerbread latte without the hassle of making a syrup, or if this is just a one-time thing, here’s a quick gingerbread latte recipe without the need for syrup.
You will need:
- 300 ml milk
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¾ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 shots of espresso or equivalent
- Optional: whipped cream to serve.
- In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, spices and vanilla extract together.
- Prepare your coffee.
- Place half of the milk into a small saucepan over a low heat. Stir in the sugar and spices mixture, stirring constantly to keep the milk from boiling.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, add the remaining milk.
- Either whisk the milk while it heats to give it more texture, or stir to keep it from sticking. If you do not opt for whisking you will have the consistency of a wet latte (without foam).
- When the milk is gently bubbling, it is ready to serve. If you wait for big bubbles to form you will scald the milk, and it will taste burnt.
- Pour your coffee into a cup, then add in the milk.
- Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Other gingerbread latte recipes
The best thing about the syrup version of a gingerbread latte is that the syrup can also be used in other recipes: add to hot apple juice for a mulled cider drink, or add to cold brew or iced lattes for a more refreshing spin on the classic.
Want the warming treat, but without the buzz of caffeine? Gingerbread lattes can be made with regular coffee, decaf, or even without any coffee at all.
For something a little bit different, and yet more luxurious, you could try adding the gingerbread syrup to a mocha (hot chocolate with a shot of coffee) for a festive take on another coffee based favourite.
If you’ve got the taste for something with a bit more of a kick, why not try out our recipe for a traditional Irish coffee ?
* * *
However you decide to enjoy your festive coffee drinks, make sure that you use the best coffee available. Coffee Bean Shop always stocks the freshest and highest quality, individually sourced from trusted growers that we have personally visited.