Hi, Friends of Cocktails. Today I’ll show you how you can become the star of this upcoming festive season by making boozy Hot Chocolates for everyone. We’ll make one with rum, one with mezcal and one with Fernet Branca Menta, so whether your friends or family like funky, smoky, or herbal flavors - or even just some good ol’ plain Hot Chocolate - I’ve got you covered because we’ll make them all. We’ll start with the basic Hot Chocolate recipe, and we’ll add our choice of spirit or liqueur straight into the cups later.
If you’ve never made your own Hot Chocolate from scratch, you don’t know what you’re missing. This is simple and delicious.
● 180g 60% cocoa baking chocolate
● 520mL (17.3oz) milk
● 32g sugar
● 9g cocoa powder
● 2g salt
● 15g cornstarch
The first step is to dissolve cornstarch in a splash of milk to avoid lumps in your hot chocolate. Cornstarch will also act as a thickening agent that will make our Hot Chocolate in the style that’s more popular in Europe, particularly Italy and Spain, as opposed to the thinner and lighter version popular in the USA and Canada. Now chop up the baking chocolate, so it will melt faster, and transfer to a saucepan. Now add some milk and place the mixture on medium heat, stirring until the chocolate melts and dissolves.
Make sure it doesn’t stick or prepare your Hot Chocolate in a double boiler. Then we can go right in with the sugar, cocoa, and a pinch of salt (salt will enhance the chocolate notes, so don’t skip it). While constantly whisking slowly pour in the rest of the milk, and the final step is to add the dissolved cornstarch. Now keep stirring until it's nice and thick and that’s your hot chocolate done. This recipe will be enough for 3 boozy hot chocolates, but if someone’s looking for a non-alcoholic treat, just pour them a cup of hot chocolate and garnish it with marshmallows!
Delicious, but I’m here to show you how you can take this drink to the next level, so get a bottle of rum, a bottle of mezcal or a bottle of Fernet Branca Menta (the minty version of the famous Fernet Branca) and we are ready to go. You can of course go with a different spirit or liqueur and test them out to see how they compare, but I have a perfect garnish for the 3 bottles I chose, so let’s start with the one for the Funky Hot Chocolate: Tonka Bean Whipped Cream.
Tonka Bean Whipped Cream
● 100mL (3.5oz) whipping cream
● 0.5 tonka bean
Begin by grating half a tonka bean into the whipping cream, but you can adjust the amount of tonka bean to your personal preference. We’ll now whip the cream to stiff peaks, just be careful not to turn this into butter. I’m using a milk frother since I did enough labor with hand tools last week when making a traditional Slovenian drink like my grandma used to make it, but feel free to use any method you like. Once the tonka bean whipped cream is made, place it in the fridge to chill.
This one is a simple garnish to make, and you can replace the tonka bean with cinnamon or nutmeg! Once you have that you’re ready to mix the Funky Hot Chocolate.
Funky Hot Chocolate
● 7.5mL (0.25oz) Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum
● Hot Chocolate to top
● 1 tbsp Tonka Bean Whipped Cream
● Grated tonka bean
Add Smith & Cross or any other funky Jamaican rum to your cups and top them with the original Hot Chocolate we made. Now scoop a tablespoon of Tonka Bean Whipped Cream on top, which we'll make a little funkier by grating it with more tonka before serving. This Hot Chocolate gives you a warm aroma of tonka and chocolate with a little funk from the Jamaican rum. These are then perfectly mixed with the combination of cool cream and boozy, rich, hot chocolate – delicious!
Our other Hot Chocolates don’t require as much work for the garnish, so let’s move onto those straight away.
Smoky Hot Chocolate
● 7.5mL (0.25oz) Vida Mezcal
● Hot Chocolate to top
● Cayenne pepper & dried chili strings
Like the previous Hot Chocolate, place your spirit into your serving cups and top with Hot Chocolate - Smoky Mezcal works great in this cocktail, but tequila or other spirits work great too. Not to add some heat to the smoke, sprinkle the smoky hot chocolate with cayenne pepper and garnish it with dried chili strings - that's fire! This Hot Chocolate has a subtle aroma of smoke and chili that lets you know what to expect: smoky mezcal, rich chocolate and cayenne pepper is a combination that should be talked about more, it’s shockingly good, and the dried chili strings not only look good but provide a nice aroma with every sip.
Let’s move onto our final Hot Chocolate, which will achieve that mint-chocolate combo.
Herbal Hot Chocolate
● 7.5mL (0.25oz) Fernet Branca Menta
● Hot Chocolate to top
● Mint bouquet
You know how the process goes by now! Add your Fernet Branca Menta to your cups, top with Hot Chocolate and this time we’ll garnish with a bouquet of mint for the fresh, herbal aroma - don't forget to give it a spank to release the essential oils. This final Hot Chocolate proves why mint and chocolate are a classic pairing for a reason. From the aroma to the palate, it’s a fresh, luxuriously rich experience with a subtle bitter note of Fernet Branca. A perfect Hot Chocolate for any winter occasion.
I would love to know which Hot Chocolate you’d go for if you had to pick one, so tag me on social media if you make any of these recipes! Also feel free to make them boozier if that’s what you prefer, but all these three Hot Chocolates are so good there’s honestly only one way to say which one is best: the one you’ve got in your hands. If you are still looking for a festive option, last year I made a green eggnog, but I think I should give the Grinch this, it would make his heart grow for sure. Cheers!
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