Warm up with a mug of Spiked Hot Chocolate ... this delicious, boozy drink is super cozy, plus quick and easy to make!
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Need a festive cocktail to serve this winter? It's hard to think of a better choice than Spiked Hot Chocolate!
My husband and I make at least one batch of this delightful drink every holiday season. We typically add peppermint schnapps, but you can add so many different liquors. I experimented quite a bit while working on this easy recipe (hard work, I know), and I've found some favorite new pairings!
And there's no reason to save this boozy hot chocolate solely for Christmas either ... it's perfect for any cold winter day. Best of all, it only takes about ten minutes to make, so you can whip up a batch whenever a craving strikes.
Want to try this decadent drink for yourself? Keep reading for all the delicious details!
This yummy drink uses basic ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Here's what you'll need:
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - Such as Hershey or Ghirardelli.
- Milk - Whole milk works best.
- Granulated Sugar
- Liquor of Your Choice - See tips below.
- Toppings of Your Choice - Such as whipped cream. Find more topping ideas below.
Best Alcohol for Hot Chocolate
When it comes to picking the best liquor for hot cocoa, you have lots of options. Keep it simple by using your favorite liquor (dark spirits work well), or add extra flavor with a tasty liqueur. Here are some ideas:
- Amaretto - This delicious almond-flavored liqueur pairs wonderfully with chocolate. Disaronno is an excellent choice and pretty easy to find. A hazelnut liqueur, like Frangelico, would also work well.
- Peppermint Schnapps - Chocolate + peppermint is a classic holiday pairing! There are lots of schnapps options ... I used Hiram Walker, which is inexpensive and easy to find.
- Raspberry - Raspberry liqueur is the heavenly addition to your hot choc that you didn't realize you needed. Treat yourself to a bottle of Chambord ... it's little pricey, but so worth it!
- Coffee - A splash of coffee liquor will turn your drink into a mocha dream. Kahlua is the standard choice, but there are other options out there if you want to experiment. If you're an agave lover, try Cantera Negra Cafe ... super smooth and delicious!
- Baileys Irish Cream - Baileys, with its mouthwatering flavors of cream, chocolate, and vanilla, is a classic addition to adult hot chocolate for a reason. Yum! Baileys Almande would also be scrumptious, and it's a great vegan alternative.
- Cinnamon - Forget those memories of shooting liquid fire back in the day, because cinnamon and chocolate a meant to be friends. Try Bird Dog Hot Cinnamon Whiskey for something delicious and different.
- Caramel - Chocolate and caramel make a crave-worthy pairing, so treat yourself! Try it with Smirnoff Kissed Caramel or Godiva Caramel Liqueur ... both would work great.
- Other Liquors / Liqueurs - Have fun experimenting with other bottles, too. Something dark, like Brandy, Rum, Whiskey, or Bourbon, will work well. And of course, there are so many fun flavored spirits too, like Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey or even Cointreau.
How to Make Spiked Hot Chocolate
Ready to start sipping? Then, you're going to love this easy recipe, because it only takes a few minutes to make!
Simply combine the cocoa powder, milk, and sugar in a medium saucepan. For best results, use whole milk ... you could even add a splash of heavy cream if you want it to be extra rich.
Whisk these ingredients together as you warm them over medium heat. It will look pretty unpromising at first. But if you keep whisking, everything will come together by the time your drink is hot.
Tip: This drink isn't super sweet, but you can always add more sugar if you wish. Just taste the mixture once it's hot, then add a tablespoon or two of extra sugar to taste, if desired. Just keep in mind that liqueurs are sweetened, so you may want to add the booze before adding extra sugar.
When everything is hot and well combined, you'll add the alcohol.
You will need three ounces of whatever liquor you choose. The recipe makes two large servings or three regular-sized servings. For two servings, you will add one-and-a-half ounces to each mug, and for three servings, you will add one ounce to each mug.
Feel free to add the booze right to the sauce pan (after the cocoa is hot) or directly to the mug. I prefer to add it by the mug. That way, you can serve the hot chocolate with different types of alcohol (best taste test ever!). Or you can leave out the booze for kids and adults who do not drink.
My husband and I experimented with a few different types of liquor: Disaronno (amaretto), Chambord (raspberry), peppermint schnapps, and Cantera Negra Cafe (coffee). They were all delicious, but the Disaronno and Chambord were our faves. I'm looking forward to trying out peanut butter whiskey and rum next!
Tip: This recipe is easily sized up. Feel free to double or triple the ingredient amounts, as needed.
While this Spiked Hot Chocolate is super tasty all on its own, the toppings are what truly puts it over the top! You could even set up a boozy hot chocolate bar with different alcohol and toppers to choose from.
Here are some topping ideas to inspire you:
- Whipped Cream - A favorite cocoa topping for a reason! For the most melt-in-your-mouth results, I'd recommend making your own. It couldn't be easier (honest) ... check out the recipe card below for easy instructions.
- Marshmallows - Another classic topping! If you have a gas stove or a fireplace, you can even toast the marshmallows before adding them to your drink.
- Shaved Chocolate - If you want to add a beautiful finishing touch, grate a good quality chocolate over the whipped cream. A Microplane zester works perfectly for this!
- Crushed Candy Canes - The ideal topper if you've spiked your drink with schnapps, Baileys, or even coffee liqueur! Throw some candy canes in a zip top bag, then crush them with a rolling pin. You could also garnish the drink with a whole candy cane.
- Toffee Bits - This is a topping that goes well with almost anything. Buy full-size candy bars and crush them, or make it easy on yourself and get these toffee bits.
- Caramel or Chocolate Syrup - A drizzle of chocolate or caramel syrup (or both!) is a fancy, yet easy finishing touch. This Ghirardelli two-pack has both.
- Cinnamon - A sprinkle of ground cinnamon adds lots of flavor and looks pretty, too. You could also garnish the drink with a whole cinnamon stick.
- Sea Salt - Chocolate and salt sound like an unlikely pairing, but the salt really enhances this drink's flavor, while also adding a sophisticated touch. A sprinkle of salt is especially tasty paired with caramel liqueur. Try these Maldon Sea Salt Flakes ... they are the BEST!
- Pirouette Cookies - For some reason, I thought pirouette cookies were the fanciest thing ever when I was a kid! And I have to admit, they still look pretty gourmet when added to a mug of hot chocolate. You can find these rolled cookies in many different flavors, such as Chocolate Fudge, Chocolate Hazelnut, and French Vanilla ... choose your fave!
Looking for more fun fall and winter cocktails? Try one of these recipes next:
Spiked Hot Chocolate
For Hot Chocolate:
- 3 cup whole milk
- 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (or more to taste)
- 3 ounces alcohol of choice (see note)
For Whipped Cream (Optional):
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Prepare Hot Chocolate:
- Pour milk into a small saucepan. Whisk in cocoa powder and sugar until combined.
- Heat over medium heat until hot, continuing to whisk. Do not boil.
- Add alcohol, then divide among 2 to 3 mugs.
- Serve plain or topped with whipped cream and / or toppings. Enjoy!
Prepare Whipped Cream:
- Combine heavy cream and sugar in a stand mixer bowl.
- Using the whisk attachment, mix until cream holds a medium to stiff peak (depending on preference), gradually increasing speed as cream gains more body.