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Why let the kids have all the fun? Indulge in the ultimate cozy treat: a spiked hot chocolate! Luxuriously rich, creamy, and decadently chocolaty, this playful beverage will warm you from the inside out. It's perfect for cheery fall or winter gatherings, to create a memorable date night, or to warm the soul on chilly evenings.
On a hot chocolate spree? Try this spicy hot chocolate for an extra kick.
Just when you thought velvety hot chocolate couldn't get any better, this adult version adds a splash of something special! This spiked hot chocolate marries the intense depth of chocolate flavor with creaminess, and an extra dash of boozy warmth.
This spiked hot chocolate recipe uses just a few ingredients:
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: Provides the rich cocoa flavor.
- Brown sugar (or maple syrup): Balance the bitter cocoa with some sweetness.
- Whole milk: We opt for a whole milk rather than skim as it makes the hot chocolate indulgently creamy.
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips: These chocolatey little morsels add an extra layer of richness.
- Liquor: Pick your favorite to spike your hot chocolate! Use bourbon, dark rum, whiskey, or Baileys.
- Top it off: Complete your mug with a dollop of whipped cream, shaved chocolate, or cocoa powder.
How to make spiked hot chocolate
This spiked hot chocolate recipe is so simple, you'll be enjoying warming sips in no time:
- Start the chocolate mixture: Add the cocoa powder and brown sugar to a small pot on medium-high heat, then pour in a splash of milk, whisking it until the cocoa powder dissolves at a simmer. Gradually whisk in the remaining milk.
- Add the chocolate chips: When the hot cocoa mixture is steamy (be careful not to boil) remove it from the heat and add in the chocolate chips. Whisk until they dissolve into the mixture.
- Spike the hot chocolate: Pour 1.5 ounces of your preferred alcohol into your mug, then top it off with the hot chocolate mix.
- Top it off and sip: Finish it off with some whipped cream on top and either a little shaved chocolate or a sprinkle of cocoa powder. Enjoy!
How to garnish spiked hot chocolate
Chocolate pairs harmoniously with a myriad of flavors! Consider what will work well with the flavor of the liquor you've selected. Here are some ideas:
- Spices: A dusting of ground cinnamon or grated nutmeg adds an earthy warmth to your hot chocolate. Stirring with a cinnamon stick infuses flavor AND is practical! Or, add a small pinch of cayenne pepper for a spicy kick.
- Sweets: Marshmallows are the classic, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth addition. A drop or two of vanilla extract enhances the flavor and aroma. Or, for a festive, minty twist, add some crushed peppermint candies or candy canes.
- Sauces and syrups: Coat your mug with a trickle of syrup or chocolate sauce before adding the liquor and hot chocolate mixture or drizzle the sauce over the whipped cream. Caramel, hazelnut or peppermint syrup are our favorites.
- Nuts: A crown of chopped, toasted nuts adds a crunch. Opt for pecans, hazelnuts, or walnuts.
- Fruits: For a zesty contrast, add some fresh orange zest over the whipped cream, or make some candied fruits to garnish.
What to spike hot chocolate with
You can choose your favorite liquors to add, but we suggest Baileys Irish Cream, bourbon, dark rum, or whisky.
- Baileys Irish Cream: Pour in some Baileys for a creamy and sweet touch. The original is the classic choice, but you can try one of their flavored options, too. Baileys has a few flavored varieties, like salted caramel, espresso creme, or tiramisu flavor.
- Bourbon: Infuse your hot chocolate with the comforting warmth and subtle smokiness of bourbon.
- Dark rum: Add a touch of sweetness and a hint of the Caribbean to your hot chocolate. You'll forget it's winter! Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum works great.
- Whisky: Add a rich and slightly smoky flavor.
- Coffee liqueur: Coffee and chocolate are a tried-and-true match. To make a mocha-style hot chocolate, add a coffee liqueur like Kahlúa rum.
- Vanilla Vodka: Introduce a smooth, velvety vanilla flavor.
- Hazelnut liqueur: Nutella fans may wish to add a hazelnut liqueur like Frangelico.
How to spike hot chocolate?
To spike your hot chocolate, we recommend adding the liqueur to your mug before the hot chocolate mixture. This makes it blend in well with the hot chocolate when it's poured on top.
How much alcohol should I add?
We recommend adding 1.5 ounces per mug (which is 1.5 ounces of alcohol per 8 ounces of milk). The level of alcohol can be adjusted to suit your preferences, and as always, remember to drink responsibly.
Can I use another type of milk?
You can – but it's worth noting the fat content of the milk can play a crucial role in this recipe. The secret to delicious cocoa powder-based spiked hot chocolate lies in the fat content, as it acts as a buffer to counterbalance the burn the alcohol can have on your palette. Cream or whole milk can mellow out the strong alcohol kick. If you're using almond milk, for example, the less creamy consistency will allow the alcohol to come through more prominently. Some milk alternatives, like almond or cashew milk, can separate when heated so be careful to heat gently. One dairy-free option that we enjoy warm is oat milk.
I'd like to serve this at a gathering, how can I keep it warm?
If you're increasing the quantities in the recipe to serve this at a gathering (perfect for a chilly evening!) take out your slow cooker and make a batch, then keep the hot chocolate mixture warm by putting it on the lowest setting on the slow cooker. Guests can ladle it into their mug at their own pace while the mixture stays warm!
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or maple syrup)
- 2 cups whole milk
- ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3 ounces bourbon, dark rum, whiskey, or Bailey's
- Whipped cream and shaved chocolate or cocoa powder (to serve)
- Add the cocoa powder and brown sugar to a small pot over medium-high heat. Pour a splash of milk into the pot and whisk it until the cocoa powder dissolves. Whisk in the remaining milk.2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 cups whole milk
- When the milk is steaming hot (but not boiling) remove the pot from the heat and add the chocolate chips. Whisk until they dissolve.¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Pour 1 ½ ounces of your choice of alcohol into each glass and then top with the hot chocolate.3 ounces bourbon, dark rum, whiskey, or Bailey's
- Serve with some whipped cream on top and either a little shaved or a sprinkle of cocoa powder over top.Whipped cream and shaved chocolate or cocoa powder
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.