DIY Drink of the Week: Spiked Hot Chocolate

As temperatures drop and the winter frost sets in, hot chocolate is in its heyday. Everyone has a personal preferred hot chocolate style – topped with mini marshmallows, finished with a mountain of whipped cream, or even enhanced with a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Those who are REALLY looking to warm up might even opt for a mug of spiked hot cocoa. Here, we give you the lowdown on some of the most delightful of these spiked alternatives and the ingredients necessary to take your hot cocoa game to the next level.

Tequila Mint Hot Chocolate
Prepare your taste buds for an icy-hot punch with this warm concoction of tequilia, peppermint schnapps, and bittersweet chocolate.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
3 cups whole milk
4 ounces milk chocolate chips
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
4 ounces tequila
2 ounces peppermint schnapps
Whipped cream and mint leaf garnish

Instructions:
1. In a medium saucepan, stir cocoa with sugar and salt. Stir in milk, milk chocolate, and bittersweet chocolate. Heat over medium heat , stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and mixture is hot. Gently whisk to completely homogenize mixture.

2. Add tequila and peppermint schnapps. Divide into serving cups and top with whipped cream and mint.
*Recipe courtesy of http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes

Nutella Hot Chocolate
In this recipe, hazelnut liqueur enhances the flavors of this ever-popular chocolate-hazelnut spread. Substitute with a different nut liqueur, like walnut, for double nuttiness.

Ingredients:
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Nutella
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup hazelnut liqueur, such as Frangelico
2 tablespoons brandy

Instructions:
1. Place milk, Nutella, and 2 tablespoons of the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk until the Nutella has melted and been incorporated.
2. Reduce the heat to low, add 3 tablespoons of the hazelnut liqueur and the brandy, and stir to combine. Heat until hot (do not boil), then turn off the heat.
3. Place the remaining 6 tablespoons cream in a medium bowl and whisk until nearly stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon liqueur and whisk until just incorporated.
4. Transfer the hot chocolate to heatproof serving glasses, top with a dollop of whipped cream, and serve.
*Recipe courtesy of http://www.chow.com/recipes/29062-tipsy-hazelnut-hot-chocolate

Hot Mint Cocoa Toddy
This classic, comfort cocktail is certainly the easiest fix on this list. Perfect for a lazy winter afternoon!

Ingredients:
1 oz. Kahlua
1 oz. Peppermint Schnapps
Cocoa mix (enough to make 6 oz.)
6 oz. water or milk (depending on your brand of cocoa)
Miniature Marshwallows
Chocolate Shavings
Cinnamon Stick

Instructions:
1. Make 6 oz. of hot cocoa in your favorite coffee mug.
2. Add the Kahlua and the Schnapps.
3. Place 8 or so miniature marshmallows on top.
4. Grate some chocolate over the marshmallows, and drop in a cinnamon stick.
*Recipe courtesy of http://www.hamptonroadshappyhour.com/hot-mint-cocoa-toddy

Red Wine Hot Chocolate
Most of us are well acquainted with the astounding flavor combination of red wine and gourmet chocolate. Here, these flavors marry in a rich, warm cocktail for an unexpected treat.
Ingredients:
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
⅓ cup fruity red wine, such as Pinot Noir, Shiraz or Beaujolais (we used merlot)
1 cup milk
Pinch of salt
Sugar, for serving

Instructions:
1. Bring chocolate and wine to a simmer in a 1-qt. saucepan over low heat; cook, whisking, until melted, about 3 minutes.
2. Add ⅔ cup water, milk, and salt; bring to a boil, and cook, while whisking 3 minutes more.
3. Pour into 2 mugs and serve with sugar on the side, if you like.
*Recipe courtesy of http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Bittersweet-Hot-Chocolate-with-Red…

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