Rum and hot chocolate. Yes, I know it.
If you’re anything like I am, you saw “rum” and “hot chocolate” in the same sentence and the world turned upside-down. Who dumps hard liquor into something as perfectly innocent as an untouched mug of chocolate and cream? Well, everybody, that’s who. Or at least everyone should. Allow me to fill you in on a secret: so long as you and I are anything alike, you’ll take one sip of this heavenly medley and realize that it’s even more satisfying than a chocolate rum ball melting ever so beautifully on your tongue.
oh. my. rum.
Not everyone is of age, nor a fan of distilled bevvies, which is why I’ve also posted a recipe for plain and simple (dare I say perfect?) hot chocolate. sans alcohol. Making the most delicious cup of hot chocolate doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Using melted chocolate morsels or more costly brands like Ghiradelli is nice, I know, and I could’ve probably ate my way through their entire store when I was in San Francisco last March, buuut…I do believe that dutch cocoa of nearly any brand can be fit for a king with the help of just a few key ingredients.
First things first. You cannot make hot chocolate with skim milk. I repeat. Skip the skim. And most definitely, definitely not water. Ya just can’t. In fact, if the manufacturer even calls for 8 ounces of water, please do yourself a favor and perform the following tasks: Dig a hole in your yard. Throw in said box. Toss in your bathroom scale if it makes you feel better. Cover the hole. Perhaps plant a tree. And go buy a gallon of the real deal.
Whole milk or half and half will give you the best hot chocolate, and additions of heavy cream will also provide a thicker, creamier
booty beverage. Oh…and did I mention that this recipe is low in fat? Right. I think if there was such a thing as “Bar Wars,” this drink would be Jabba the Hut.
Go buy yourself a pretty little parka that covers your bod. It’s wintertime. Drink up.
The Best Hot Chocolate
3 cups whole milk (or almond milk)
1 cup half-and-half (or an additional cup of almond milk)
1/4 cup Dutch cocoa (non-brand names work fine)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 small pinch of coarse sea salt per serving
Garnishes (optional): peppermint candy bits, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, marshmallows, powdered sugar, ground cinnamon, milk foam, etc. Get creative :).
Place milk and half-and-half in a saucepan and heat to a simmer over medium heat. Place sugar and cocoa into a medium metal bowl.
One cup at a time, stir hot milk into the cocoa and sugar mixture. With help from a rubber spatula, pour cocoa mixture back into the saucepan with the milk and simmer 2 minutes with cinnamon stick; do not boil. Stir in vanilla before pouring into four mugs. Sprinkle with salt, garnish, and enjoy. Cheers!
Hot Chocolate with Rum
Prepare the same way as above, leaving out cinnamon stick and sea salt. Pour 1 tsp. of rum* into the bottom of each cup (or more, depending on desired strength) and stir well. Enjoy!
*Vanilla vodka, hazelnut liquor, peppermint schnapps, Baileys, and Kahlua are also known to be great in adult hot cocoa.