A rich, steaming cup of hot chocolate is a comforting drink known by many names—and many variations—throughout the world. And they’re not just for kids!
This particular recipe is only for adults thanks to a healthy dose of booze. Whipped cream and mini marshmallows are optional.
What’s the Difference Between Hot Cocoa and Hot Chocolate?
First, let’s clear up some confusion about hot chocolate and hot cocoa. These two names are used interchangeably, but they’re actually not the same thing.
Hot cocoa is a mix of cocoa powder, sweetener, and a hot liquid. Hot chocolate is a blend of melted chocolate (this can be dark, semisweet, milk, or even white chocolate) and a hot liquid; the sweetener here is optional depending on your chocolate choice.
Milk Options for Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate is a versatile drink as it works well with a variety of bases. While milk or cream is common, non-dairy options are also delicious. I love light coconut milk or cashew milk.
What Booze Is Best?
The options are limitless for boozy hot chocolate, but here a few of my favorites:
- Almost any creamy liquor will work very well here and will typically have a low ABV, so you can drink a cup without needing a nap immediately afterward. Two of my favorites are Kerrygold Irish Cream and Tempus Fugit Crème De Cacao (more chocolate is perfectly acceptable here).
- Though it might seem like an unlikely addition, an amaro livens up hot chocolate with a spicy kick and a subtle bittersweetness. Try Amaro Lucano or Averna, both of which are nicely balanced and won’t overpower the drink.
- For a more straightforward liquor, a bourbon, rye, aged rum, or even a vanilla vodka all will work well with chocolate. If you’ve got a bottle you think might work, try it!
Toppings for Boozy Hot Chocolate
Your hot chocolate probably came with a sprinkling of mini marshmallows when you were a kid, so why not add some now? Here are a few more fun options for toppings:
- Whipped cream: Whether you enjoy it sweetened or like it straight, whipped cream dolloped on top of hot chocolate is decadent and delicious, adding more creaminess as it melts into your drink. If you’re feeling extra, add a dash or two of Angostura bitters to your whipped cream for a bit of spice.
- Sprinkles: If you really want to turn the nostalgia up the level, a scattering of sprinkles on your whipped cream is a colorful touch.
- Chocolate shavings: Yes, you’re drinking melted chocolate, but what’s wrong with a little more chocolate on top?
More Toasty, Boozy Drinks
Boozy Hot Chocolate
2 cups whole milk
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 ounces liquor of choice, such as bourbon, rum, or a cream liqueur
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch kosher salt
Optional toppings: mini marshmallows or whipped cream, chocolate shavings, sprinkles
Warm the milk:
Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until it begins to barely simmer but not boil (watch for small bubbles around the edges).
Add the chocolate:
Add in the chopped chocolate and whisk until combined and smooth, about 5 minutes. There should be no remaining specks of chocolate, the color should turn from a pale tan to a milk chocolatey brown, and the bottom of your pan should be coated with the mixture.
Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients:
Remove from the heat and stir in the liquor, vanilla extract, and salt.
Cool slightly and serve:
Let sit to cool to a safe drinking temperature for about 5 minutes (still hot but not burning). Pour into heatproof mugs. If a skin forms while cooling, just whisk it for a few seconds to reincorporate.
Enjoy as-is or topped with desired toppings.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 34g||43%|
|Saturated Fat 20g||99%|
|Total Carbohydrate 83g||30%|
|Dietary Fiber 5g||18%|
|Total Sugars 76g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|