There’s a good reason humans have been warming up their liquor for centuries of winters. Our favorite barman tells all.
- 2 cinnamon sticks, crushed
- 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
- 1 pinch salt
- ¾ cup raw sugar
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Zest of ½ orange
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups milk
- 2 ounces unsweeted chocolate, chopped
- 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 12 ounces Dark Corner Distillery Hot Mama Spiced Whiskey
- 1 cup heavy cream, whipped and sweetened (or homemade marshmallows if you’re feeling fancy)
In a non-aluminum saucepan combine cinnamon, vanilla beans, salt, sugar, pepper, orange zest, water and milk. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and steep, covered, for 15 minutes
Strain liquid into a bowl then return to saucepan. Over medium-low heat, stir in chocolate (keep liquid below a simmer) and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla extract and cool.
Pour into a shallow, non-metallic container and refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to marry.
To serve, reheat gently, whisking to froth. Pour 4 ounces of hot chocolate into warmed coffee cups and stir in 1 ½ ounces Hot Mama Spiced Whiskey. Top with whipped cream or marshmallows.
About the Drink
The hot chocolate is a variation of my mom’s recipe. It has a deep richness, but is not the cloyingly sweet hot cocoa that you may have grown up with. If you would like a sweeter beverage you could add more sugar, but I would suggest you just mound up more whipped cream or marshmallows on top. (Mom pairs hers with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.)