There's no better way to warm up on a chilly night than a mug of this decadent Spiked Hot Chocolate. Smooth, creamy and not too sweet, this hot chocolate with alcohol is better than any powdered cocoa mix and just as easy to make with only six ingredients!
It's that time of year for all things cozy.
Cozy blankets, cozy socks, cozy jammies and - you guessed it - cozy winter drinks.
When the weather turns colder, you'll find me curled up on the couch in my comfy clothes with a mug of this Spiked Hot Chocolate.
This homemade hot chocolate is made with real chocolate and real ingredients for flavor that far surpasses any powdered mix. Spike it with your favorite alcohol for a well-deserved treat at the end of the day.
Why you'll love this recipe
➤ Better than any hot cocoa mix - and almost as easy. This rich and decadent hot chocolate recipe has only 6 ingredients - dark chocolate, cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, milk and booze. It comes together in minutes on the stovetop for the nearly instant gratification of a powdered cocoa mix but sooooooo much better.
➤ Make one drink for everyone. The base of this recipe is pure hot chocolate that can be served with or without alcohol. That makes this drink endlessly customizable for those that drink alcohol and those that don't.
You can make hot chocolate that is far superior to any mix with just five simple ingredients!
A few ingredient notes:
- Chocolate: You want to use your favorite baking chocolate in this recipe (not a Hershey's candy bar). I'm a huge dark chocolate fan, so my go-to is Scharffen Berger 70% Bittersweet Dark Chocolate. You can substitute chocolate chips in a pinch but they may not melt as smoothly as the chocolate bar.
- Cocoa Powder: Use unsweetened cocoa powder for this recipe, not a sweet cocoa mix.
- Milk: Whole milk will give this drink the best flavor, but you can also substitute in 2% milk, if you prefer.
- Sugar: This recipe doesn't make an overly sweet mug of hot chocolate. Taste and adjust the amount of sugar to your liking, if needed.
Best alcohol for hot chocolate
Here's where it gets fun.
There are so many options for stir-ins. In general, aged or flavored spirits and liqueurs tend to work best in hot chocolate. A more neutral flavor (like plain vodka) does not pair as well with the chocolate and milk blend.
For aged spirits, try rye whiskey, dark rum or brandy. Or stir in a flavored spirit like vanilla vodka or peppermint schnapps.
If a liqueur is more your speed, chocolate, coffee or irish cream liqueurs are exceptional in hot chocolate.
Trust us; the few minutes of effort needed to make this creamy, homemade hot chocolate is well worth it.
Start by adding milk, cocoa powder and sugar to a saucepan. Heat over medium heat until well combined and sugar dissolves, whisking constantly.
Add chopped chocolate to pan and continue whisking until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
You can either add your booze to the entire batch of hot chocolate now or you can ladle individual servings into mugs and stir in your spirit of choice separately.
I generally add 2-3 ounces of booze to every 12-ounce serving of hot chocolate. That amount can vary depending on the strength of the alcohol used. You may want a little more if you're stirring in a flavored liqueur like Irish cream versus an aged rye whiskey. Start with a lesser amount and add if needed to make your perfect mug of spiked hot chocolate!
The most popular hot chocolate garnishes are whipped cream and marshmallows but you can also add some candy canes or chopped chocolate if you're feeling festive.
Yes! Place all ingredients in a crock pot except alcohol and cook on low for a few hours, whisking occasionally. Reduce heat to warm and serve from the slow cooker. Stir booze into individual mugs.
Expert tips for making spiked hot chocolate
✘ Chocolate chips will work in this recipe but the chips can be slightly grainy when melted. A chocolate bar from the baking aisle will melt completely and ensure a silky smooth drink.
✘ Not a dark chocolate fan? Feel free to use milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate instead. You may have to dial down the sugar a bit if you use a sweeter chocolate.
✘ This recipe is written for two people (and a cozy night on the couch) but is easily doubled or tripled for a group.
✘ If you're serving kids and adults, leave the booze out of the hot chocolate and set bottles of liquor out for adults to add to their mugs, if desired.
✘ You can make this hot chocolate ahead of time, if needed. Make the recipe as directed, omitting alcohol. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. When ready to serve, gently rewarm on the stovetop until just simmering. Stir in alcohol just before serving.
More chocolate drink recipes
You can find even more drink recipes in our archives!
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Spiked Hot Chocolate
- 3 cups whole milk
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 4-6 oz alcohol (see below for suggestions)
- 4 large marshmallows, optional
- Place milk, cocoa powder and sugar in a saucepan. Whisk together over medium heat until sugar dissolves.3 cups whole milk, 3 tbsp granulated sugar, 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- Add chocolate to pan and whisk until smooth and chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.3 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate, ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Divide hot chocolate evenly among two mugs. Stir 2-3 ounces of alcohol into each mug. Garnish with large marshmallows on cocktail picks, if desired.4-6 oz alcohol (see below for suggestions), 4 large marshmallows, optional
- A chocolate bar from the baking aisle will melt the most smoothly. Chocolate chips can be used in a pinch but may result in a grainy hot chocolate if they don't melt cleanly. Do not use a chocolate candy bar (like Hershey's).
- Whole milk gives this recipe the best flavor but 2% milk can also be used.
- You can swap in semi-sweet or milk chocolate for the bittersweet chocolate if you prefer. You may need to dial back the sugar if using a sweeter chocolate.
- This recipe is easily doubled or tripled for a larger group.
- You can make this hot chocolate ahead of time, if needed. Make the recipe as directed, omitting alcohol. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. When ready to serve, gently rewarm on the stovetop until just simmering. Stir in alcohol just before serving.
Best alcohol for hot chocolate:Aged spirits, flavored spirits and cream liqueurs work best in this recipe as their flavors meld nicely with the rich chocolate and milk mixture.
- Aged spirits: rye whiskey, dark rum, brandy.
- Flavored spirits: vanilla vodka, peppermint schnapps.
- Liqueurs: Kahlua, Irish Cream, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur.
Crock pot instructions:Place all ingredients except alcohol in the bowl of a crock pot. Whisk together and cook on low for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally so the chocolate doesn't stick to the bottom. Reduce heat to warm and whisk thoroughly before serving. Stir alcohol into individual mugs of hot chocolate.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.