When the weather outside sucks — hell, even if you love when it’s bitter cold out— there’s nothing quite as comforting as a mug of hot cocoa once you are back inside. Smooth, creamy, chocolatey goodness right in your hands. It warms the soul and we’ll be damned if it doesn’t bring a smile to our faces every time.
We’re all adults here, though, and we are all thinking the same thing by now: Regular hot chocolate is great, but hot chocolate with booze is even better. A nice, healthy pour of whiskey or rum into your cocoa will revive you in no time. Can’t feel your fingers? Well, you might not be able to feel them after a nice sip or two of spiked cocoa, but at that point you won’t care!
For those that want to mix it up a little, we’ve got a new spiked hot cocoa recipe that we think you’re going to enjoy: red wine hot chocolate. Red wine and chocolate already go together, so now it’s time to try them in liquid form.
Choosing Your Wine
Since mulling wine will disguise much of the delicate flavors of the original wine profile, using a more expensive Pinot Noir or Gamay blend isn’t worth the extra money. We recommend going with a red blend such as Syrah or a Malbec, something that’s cheaper but still full-bodied (here are some red wine options if you’re unsure). You could also choose to go down the white wine path, where you’ll want an aromatic Riesling or Moscato type.
Choosing Your Chocolate
Choosing your cocoa can make or break your red wine hot chocolate creation, although admittedly only for the sake of personal preference. Some people like their drinks to be extra sweet, and some like them well-balanced. Using a high quality chocolate, such as Ghirardelli’s unsweetened cocoa powder or this Irish chocolate made by Bean and Goose, will assure a perfect balance since cheaper cocoa versions tend to taste watered down and don’t mix as well with wine. Even though Ghirardelli’s cocoa powder is rich, it’s unsweetened; if someone wants it sweeter, all they need to do is grab a spoon of sugar and stir away.
Mix it Up
This recipe, courtesy of Home Cooking Adventure, makes about one to two servings, so add or subtract proportions as you will. You will need:
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 4 tsp sugar
- 3 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup milk
- Pinch of salt
- Cinnamon sticks (optional)
- Whipped cream (optional)
Method: Bring your wine to a simmer over low heat, adding any mulling spices you’d like. Keep in mind that alcohol burns off around 173 degrees. So, if you don’t have a way to check the temperature, heating the wine first will only reduce the alcohol level. You could also add the wine over the cocoa and milk mixture, and bring everything to a boil if preferred. Meanwhile, combine your cocoa powder with sugar and salt in a separate bowl. Add a splash of milk and stir well to combine. Then, add the rest of the milk, stir well, and pour over the wine. Whisk (or stir) while bringing to a light boil. Once it reaches your desired temperature, pour into your favorite mugs, garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon sticks, then indulge in your new favorite holiday drink!