The Best Way To Spike Your Hot Chocolate Like A Pro

Whether you're sipping on a nostalgic mug of hot cocoa made from your favorite powdered mix, or treating yourself to a homemade batch, a little adult glow-up is nice from time to time. A bit of booze can give hot chocolate a sweet buzz and prevent it from tasting cloying, creating a deliciously sophisticated flavor profile. If you're wondering which spirit to reach for, Food Republic got some advice from Molly Horn, Chief Mixologist and Spirits Educator at Total Wine & More.

Horn is a fan of flavored whiskeys, since so many of them perfectly complement a warm, chocolatey bevvy. She tells cocktail lovers to "go wild!" with different varieties. Skatterbrain is one of her preferred brands, and she recommends their peanut butter whiskey "if you're a peanut butter cup fan," as well as peanut butter chocolate pretzel and cookie dough. Their vanilla cake whiskey might also be perfectly matched for hot chocolate, or try dark cherry vanilla for a Black Forest cake vibe.

If these products don't really sound up your alley, try Knob Creek smoked maple bourbon, Revel Stoke roasted pecan whisky, Cask & Crew ginger spice whiskey, or Southern Tier pumpkin whiskey. Hot chocolate also happens to be one of the most irresistible pairings for salted caramel whiskey.

More spirits that pair well with hot chocolate

If you're a whiskey purist, an unflavored bottle would also go swimmingly with hot chocolate. We even have tips regarding how to pair chocolate with whiskey. Bold and spicy varieties will go well with traditional milky and sweet hot cocoa, and sweeter bourbon will be well-balanced by bitter dark chocolate in a more grown-up recipe. Brandy or dark rum would also work well, and tequila would be a particularly delicious pairing with a spicy Mexican-style hot chocolate.

No matter which spirit you choose, just make sure to mix it in once the hot chocolate is off the heat, or you risk cooking out most of the alcohol and killing its flavorful bite. One to two ounces of booze per batch of cocoa should be a good ratio, depending on how strong you want the taste (and ABV) to be. While many of us would be content to stop there, why not use delicious toppings to treat yourself even further? Incorporate a little something extra with whipped cream, drizzles of chocolate or caramel, or any number of versatile toppings from a hot chocolate bar, like candy-coated stirring sticks, cookie crumbles, sprinkles, and miniature marshmallows.