You might not think of spiked hot chocolate as a “cocktail,” per se. But it’s just as much of a cocktail as Hot Buttered Rum or a White Russian. It still requires the perfect balance of ingredients and it still requires the perfect spirit. Cozy and creamy, spiked hot chocolate is one of the most satisfying nightcaps in the world. And it’s also wonderfully customizable.
Our basic hot chocolate recipe is based on the classic mix of whole milk, cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla extract and that all important pinch of salt. Feel free to swap in some half-and-half or even cream if you like your chocolate extra-rich—or, if you’re “being good,” take it down to 2% milk. But do not use non-fat, whatever you do. The booze you choose is up to you, but we have a few go-to favorites. Bourbon, with its mellowed brown sugar flavors, works perfectly, adding a rich backbone and a bit of a bite. Baileys (or any other Irish cream) will up the creaminess even more, and peppermint schnapps will give you all the holiday feels, while Kahlua (or a different coffee liqueur) will turn it into a boozy mocha. Green Chartreuse may sound like an odd choice, but not if you’re in France where herbaceous Chartreuse-spiked hot chocolate is called Verte Chaud and often sipped as an après-ski beverage. Aged tequila like a reposado is another underrated addition that you should try as soon as you get your hands on a saucepan and a whisk. Think of it as real Mexican hot chocolate. With all the possibilities on your bar, be sure to make a big batch of hot chocolate to spike.