Every time I come up with a good spirit to mix with hot chocolate I feel like I get ideas for two more. Certainly, this is not what one would consider a bad thing by any means, but it’s making me want to drink hot chocolate with booze for hours on end. And, sadly, that will just end with me passed out on the floor covered in hot chocolate. Funny, yes. Optimal, no. So, on that note I limited my exploration to four more spirits this go-round and I’m packing the others away for next winter.
Green Chartreuse – I have to say, I wouldn’t have thought of this one on my own. However, at the suggestion of commenter Evan, I gave it a go. Wow, was that ever a good call! The herbal flavor blends into the background in a very harmonious way. Despite the liqueur blending in really well you still get a solid punch from the 110 proof. Awesome suggestion, definitely worth a try.
Reposado Tequila – Another commenter suggestion, coming from Frederic this time. Another solid idea, too. This combo is much better than I was expecting it to be. You get the woody/earthy flavors of the tequila playing off the sweetness and chocolate bitterness. I think this could work with a blanco tequila as well, but you’d lose some of the mellowness and woody flavors.
Grand Marnier – Orange and chocolate is another of those all time great flavor combinations and the hot chocolate rendition definitely follows that trend. In addition to the orange flavor you get a the flavors of the brandy base coming through as well. While I think triple sec would work great too, you’d lack some of the depth and complexity of a curacao. Definitely one of my favorites.
Coffee Liqueur – Awesome, as I knew it would be. The coffee flavor is second to the chocolate , unlike a coffee mocha. While this is a classic and might go unnoticed, that would be a mistake. This is a classic for a reason.
A final note from my tastings. In my previous post I suggested you use 1 oz of spirit for an 8 oz mug of hot chocolate, I’m revising that to 1 1/2 oz to 2 oz. The flavor you get from 1 oz of spirit has a hard time overcoming the flavors inherent to the chocolate. Plus, let’s face it, a cocktail simply isn’t a cocktail with only 1 oz of spirit.
So, where does all of this testing leave us? I’d say we’ve barely scratched the surface of what you could mix into a delicious cup of hot chocolate. Some ideas currently bopping around my head: Creme Yvette, all manner of fruit liqueurs, scotch, bourbon, flavored vodkas, cinnamon schnapps (especially Original Cinn), ginger liqueur, amaretto, chocolate liqueur…really, the list could just go on for pages. Suffice it to say, if you mix something tasty with hot chocolate there’s a solid chance that the resulting drink will also be tasty.