Recipe of the Week: Spiked Hot Chocolate

Photo by Brogan Wu

We are heading into our first week of December and it already seems as if the holidays are everywhere. People are putting their trees up, hanging their lights and polishing their menorahs. Between the holiday shopping, the 24/7 soundtrack of Mariah Carey and the dreaded walk up Ramapo’s hill in the freezing cold, we could all use something warm and strong to help us relax. I love all hot chocolate, but homemade hot chocolate is like nothing else in the world. It’s creamy, rich and has a complexity you just can’t get out of those classic powdered packets with dehydrated marshmallows. This recipe makes spiked cinnamon hot cocoa (for students 21+) for two and is the perfect after-dinner drink to enjoy by a crackling fire. 

Spiked Cinnamon Hot Chocolate:

You will need:

– 2 cups of whole milk

– 3 tablespoons of water

– 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer extra dark)

– 1 ½ – 3 tablespoons of sugar (personal preference for level of sweetness)

– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

– 4 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate

– 2 cinnamon sticks (or 1 ½ tsp of cinnamon)

– tiniest pinch of salt

– a generous shot of bourbon (for those 21+)

– marshmallows or whipped cream to garnish (optional)


1. In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, bring 2 tablespoons of water to a gentle boil.

2. Whisk in cocoa powder, sugar and a pinch of salt until no lumps remain. Lower the heat slightly and stir in the milk.

3. Add vanilla extract, chopped chocolate and cinnamon sticks, and stir slowly until all chocolate is dissolved. Be careful not to boil the milk, just bring the temperature up enough to melt everything.

4. Stir in bourbon (for those 21+) and serve while still hot.

5. Garnish with marshmallows, whipped cream and the cinnamon sticks for an extra festive treat.