Get Through the Winter Blues With Boozy Hot Chocolate
It’s official: winter is here. And (in most places) it’s brutal.
And when the going gets cold, the cold turns to snuggly blankets, binge-worthy Netflix and warming adult beverages like hot toddies, mulled wines, and, for the kid in you, hot chocolate.
That’s right, several bartenders across the country are serving up delicious boozy hot cocoa, with inspiration ranging from nostalgic s’mores around the campfire to homemade chocolate bars. These six recipes are sure to warm you from head to toe on even the snowiest of days. So grab the cocoa, and let’s get crackin:
Steam 7 oz. whole milk with 40g Valrhona Caraibe 66 percent dark chocolate (or similar dark chocolate) and reserve.
Stir 5 oz. of Branca Ment and 2 Tbsps. superfine sugar into 3 cups heavy cream. Whip until firm peaks have formed. Reserve in refrigerator until ready for use.
Pour 1.5 oz. Zaya Rum into a glass mug, add 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, and top with reserved hot cocoa and whipped cream.
Created by Gates Otsuji of The Standard, Highline, NYC
The Independent Hot Chocolate
Instructions: Melt one good chocolate bar with whole milk (executive pastry chef Ron Paprocki has created his own line of chocolate bars with a blend of foraged Bolivian and Ecuadorian cacao beans used at Gotham) and stir in 1 oz. Michter’s bourbon, 0.5 oz. Cardamaro, and 0.25 oz. Cointreau. Top with bourbon-infused marshmallows (or regular ones if that’s what you’ve got).
Available at Gotham Bar and Grill, NYC
Casa Hot Chocolate
Instructions: Combine 1.5 oz. Casamigos Reposado tequila, 0.5 oz. agave nectar, 0.25 oz. almond liqueur and a pinch of cinnamon into a mug. Top with 4 oz. hot chocolate mix and stir. Serve with two large toasted marshmallows and graham cracker square.
Created by Kristin Clark, Casamigos Tequila
Instructions: Warm 1.5 cups whole milk slightly in a saucepan. Toss in 5 sheets of graham crackers until soggy and partially dissolved. Let it sit for 10 minutes to infuse, stirring occasionally. Pour milk through a fine mesh strainer, discarding graham crackers. Add another 1.5 cups whole milk and stir to combine; reserve for use.
In another small saucepan set over medium heat, mix 1 cup Demerara sugar and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally until sugar is completely dissolved. Stir in 1 cup mini marshmallows and cook for 2-3 minutes or until dissolved. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer; reserve for use.
In another small saucepan set over medium heat, bring 6 oz. reserved graham cracker milk to a simmer. Add 2 Tbsps. Unsweetened cocoa powder and stir to combine, until dissolved. Remove from heat and add 1.25 oz. Old Forester Bourbon and 1.25 oz. reserved marshmallow syrup. Garnish with (preferably toasted) marshmallows and serve immediately.
Created by Kolin Juckins of The J. Parker, Chicago
Hot Raspberry Kiss
Instructions: Prepare your favorite hot cocoa mix as directed in large mug (using hot water is just fine). Stir in 1 oz. Godiva Chocolate Liqueur and 0.5 oz. Chambord and top with whipped cream. Garnish with a dash of ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick and some fresh raspberries. Enjoy while hot!
Available at MP Taverna, NYC, Roslyn, NY and Westchester, NY
Obscure Hot Chocolate
Instructions: Combine 1 cup half and half,1.25 cups whole milk, and .25 cup granulated sugar in a heavy bottomed stock pot over medium heat and bring to a scald. Whisk in .3 cup cocoa powder, and continue cooking and whisking constantly until the mixture reaches a rolling boil, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat, strain through a fine mesh sieve and season with salt to taste. Cool quickly in an ice bath. (Cocoa can be made up to 4 days ahead of time.) In a 10 oz. coffee cup, pour 1 oz. Buffalo Trace bourbon and .75 oz. Fernet Branca. Top with warm hot chocolate and marshmallows.
Created by Kelly Fields of Willa Jean, New Orleans