So, I’m moving right along with the hot chocolate mixing and tasting and I wanted to pop in and offer some updates.
First, I posted last week about the homemade hot chocolate mix that I’m using for these drinks. Ron posted a comment about my choice to omit the cayenne powder. He mentioned that the small amount of cayenne really didn’t add any spiciness to the hot chocolate but did improve the overall flavor. Not wanting to miss out on something tasty I gave it a try. Ron is absolutely correct. With just a small pinch of cayenne it seems to brighten up the flavors of the chocolate even more and there was no noticeable spicy heat.
Second, the recipe mentions that it can be made with either milk or water. I’ve made it both ways and they’re both very good; the milk is much better though. It gives the drink a silkier mouth feel and richer flavor. Definitely go with milk if you have it on hand.
Third, there a few old standbys that go really well with hot chocolate. I decided to mix up a couple of those first to make way for other, possibly more interesting, combinations. For my samplings I’m using 1 oz of the add-in per mug (~8 oz) of hot chocolate. That way all things are even.
Irish Cream – I made up some of my homemade Irish cream just for this occasion and it’s definitely worth the effort. Mixed with hot chocolate the resulting drink is really balanced and flavorful. You get a nice hit of coffee flavor and the vanilla comes through a bit too. The cream adds even more body and silkiness as well. You still get nuances of the whiskey, but it’s definitely not front and center.
Peppermint Schnapps – This one is a classic. We always called this Coco Loco and used to bring it with us snowmobiling for a bit of a pick-me-up when we’d stop for lunch. The flavor of mint and chocolate really feels like the holidays to me and it also conjures images of Andes mints or York Peppermint Patties. Great combo. Be gentle with these though, especially if you’re using 100 proof liqueur. You’ll quickly understand quick why we call it Coco Loco.
Pressing on to new frontiers. I’ll check back shortly.