NicoleFriedman thinks that the best winter drink of all time is a drink she sampled in Istanbul, transliterated into English as “salep” or “sahlab.” Basically it is a thick, foamy white drink made from the ground root of the orchid, she says. “The coffee shop I had it in whipped it up with an espresso foamer and it was heavenly.”
It’s hard to find the stuff back in the United States, but sometimes you can buy a mix from specialty stores. The powdered orchid root is whisked into milk while the milk is heating, until the resulting concoction is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. “I then like to add vanilla, almond extract, cinnamon, and ground pistachios,” says NicoleFriedman. “Some people like to add rose or orange blossom water (but I find this makes it taste like soap).” Can’t find sahlab powder? “Just so you know, you will get similar results with milk and cornstarch, though the consistency and flavor will be slightly different,” says NicoleFriedman.