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Warming Up To The Holiday Season

Want an easy way to indulge early in the holiday season? Check out some local hotspots for drinks that are sure to warm you up and get you into the holiday spirit.

Whether we are willing to admit it to ourselves or not, the holiday season is quickly approaching. Although the weather seems to be channeling summer, the sales, the decor and the presence of Patriots gear indicate that the shift in seasons is in full-gear. And while I cringe at the sight of wrapping paper stocked next to Halloween candy, I've found ways to slowly indulge in the transition.

Fall is known for its tantalizing appeal on the senses. The colorful palette of the leaves, the cozy knitted sweaters, and the rich scents of comfort food make it a truly New England experience. And what better way to warm up to the change than to sip on something sweet?

If you're anything like me, you know that a good cup of coffee can transform your entire day. Popular hot spots like Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks readily accept changing seasons by updated drink menus that reflect everything we love about the holidays. The emergence of Starbucks' holiday cups has practically become a holiday in itself, and I admit, I smile at the sight of them. I'm not one to indulge in dessert, but with these festive drinks, it feels like a guilty pleasure with every sip that I don't have to break my budget on.

So who has the best menu this season? I've compile a list of my favorite drinks, as well as some delectable menu items that are an easy find for Watertown residents.

Starbucks may be known for their red, snow flaked holiday cups, but I like them for what's inside these cups. And with offerings like the Gingerbread Latte and the Peppermint Mocha, who wouldn't?! Their menu also bears the following enticing drinks: Pumpkin Spice Latte, Caramel Mocha, Cinnamon Dulce Latte and Eggnog Latte.

However, Dunkin Donuts' new offerings certainly keep them as a contender. This season you can order the Cinnamon Swirl Coffee (my favorite), Mint Hot Chocolate, Pumpkin-flavored Coffee or Hot or Cold Apple Cider. And let's not forget about the classic Dunkacinco (half hot chocolate, half coffee), which is the perfect complement to any occasion. Did I mention the reappearance of pumpkin donuts? How about cinnamon swirl coffee cake?

If you're looking for a mid-day taste of the season, check out Panera Bread for their pumpkin spice latte or their caramel latte and pair it with their pumpkin cookie or cinnamon crumb cake. Want to keep it cool? Go for the new low-fat Cranberry Orange Smoothie.

But this season's drinks aren't just limited to coffee. To those who are 21+ years old, there are some special drink menus’ items out there just for you. Not Your Average Joe's (located at 55 Main Street in Watertown) is featuring the Berry Me in Bubbles cocktail this month, which mixes sparkling strawberry wine, citrus accents and homemade lemonade. Nothing says the holidays like a berry spritzer!

Or if you're looking for something a bit richer to satisfy your dessert-cravings, The Talk's (located at 116 Main Street, Watertown) Espresso Martini is sure to do the trick! Pair it with their butternut squash ravioli's and you'll have yourself a classic, seasonal outing.

What's your favorite way to indulge in the holiday season? Do you have a favorite go-to drink? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Renee Hirschberg November 11, 2011 at 05:59 PM
Hey Angela! I just started blogging for the Watertown Patch too! And I am in grad school at BU, AND I am a foodie too! So we should have a lot of fun blogging together! Love the post!
Angela Tisone November 14, 2011 at 07:27 PM
Thanks Renee - looking forward to it :)
Charlie Breitrose (Editor) November 14, 2011 at 09:36 PM
Angela, have you seen the special holiday flavors of sparkling water from Poland Springs - like pumpkin spice and candy cane? Has anyone tried those? They sound kind of strange to me.
Angela Tisone November 15, 2011 at 05:49 PM
Wow! I have not seen these, but now I'm intrigued!
Angela Tisone November 17, 2011 at 01:53 PM
Hi everyone! A quick, friendly update - Now through 11/20 from 2-5pm Starbucks has a BUY ONE GET ONE offer on ALL holiday drinks! A great afternoon treat for yourself: http://merry.starbucks.com/en-us/#/bogo/

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