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Spiking the Hot Chocolate

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With the holiday season upon us and the start of winter just weeks away, it's hard to avoid a chill settling into our bones. Venturing forth into the great outdoors to go sledding, skiing, or shovel the snow will only make it worse. And the cold weather is just the beginning for much of the country, where frigid temperatures will stretch on for five months or more.

It's enough to drive a man or woman to drink.  So, if you must do so, do it with something hot, creamy, chocolatey and -- spiked. 

There's something magical in warm chocolate.  The way it coats your innards and heats from the inside out is nothing short of miraculous. It's no wonder the Aztecs and other Mesoamerican cultures prized it so highly.

Sure, part of it is the sense of nostalgia a steaming mug of hot chocolate brings to the table, conjuring up images of mini marshmallows and moms intent on nothing more than warding off the cold after a hard afternoon of playing in the snow. 

But one of life's little luxuries is just that much more wicked with a splash of the good stuff. 

Like coffee, hot chocolate is surprisingly versatile as a mixer, showcasing different flavor profiles and aromas depending on the types of spirits added to it. 

Add a sweeter ingredient, like Irish crème liqueur or triple sec and the mix becomes a velvety dessert-like draught. With a spicier, more savory spirit like whiskey, the cinnamon and spice notes in the chocolate come out to play. And best of all, there are precious few ways to go wrong.

Here are a few recipes worth coming out of the cold for.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Italian Cocoa

Gingerbread House