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Your new favorite winter cocktail is red wine…hot chocolate?

Happily survive the rest of winter with this surprisingly rich and indulgent cocktail

Hot chocolate
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The holidays are over, and now we settle in for the long, dark, cold days of winter without the jolly sparkle of holiday festivities to get us through. For many, this is a time of reflection, of resolution, of beginning healthy habits and organizing our lives both inwardly and out. But for others (us), it’s time to settle in under a warm blanket in a bear-like hibernation that includes baked goods and cocktails. And while we’re looking forward to margaritas and fruity daquiries, something about a tropical cocktail doesn’t yet feel quite right. We need a winter cocktail. One that warms us to our bones and fills our minds and bodies with happiness and peace. Enter red wine hot chocolate.

We realize that this concoction sounds a bit bizarre at first. But when one pauses and thinks about the flavors, red wine hot chocolate makes perfect sense. After all, is there any better pairing in the culinary world than that of wine and chocolate? Of course not. So why not blend them together for a beautifully rich, perfectly fruity, warm, comforting, indulgent winter cocktail?

We promise that this adults-only hot chocolate will impress you with its sophistication and rich depth of flavor. Perfect for winter hibernation.

Hot chocolate
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Red wine hot chocolate recipe

We love the combination of different types of chocolate in this recipe. Mixing both semisweet chocolate chips and cocoa powder is a beautiful way to add dimension and depth of flavor.


  • 2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, plus more for garnishing
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle red wine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine chocolate chips, cocoa powder, brown sugar, milk, and salt, whisking to combine. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the sugar and cocoa powder are completely combined.
  2. Add wine to the chocolate and cook for another minute or two until the mixture gently simmers, taking care not to boil.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  4. Garnish with a light dusting of cocoa powder, if desired.
Hot chocolate

Red wine hot chocolate tips and tricks

  • It’s important not to rush the cooking process in this cocktail. If the sugar and cocoa powder don’t have time to dissolve in the heat, the end product will have an unappetizing grainy texture.
  • When selecting a wine for this cocktail, choose a wine you would drink on its own. Something fruit-forward like a Shiraz or Merlot will work very well. Fruitier wines will complement and accentuate the chocolate in this recipe.
  • While we may be used to garnish our hot chocolate with toasted marshmallows or heaping dollops of whipped cream, this cocktail is indulgent enough with nothing more than an elegant dusting of cocoa powder. Anything more might make this drink a bit too sweet, depending on the wine you use.
Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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