This will be the last chocolate drink on this blog before Christmas. That’s a promise. The other chocolaty drink recipes have been for chilled cocktails served in a glass, but this recipe is for a hot chocolate cocktail served in a mug like real men drink from... (ignore the glass cup in the photo, make yours in a heavy, chipped china mug). Hot cocoa in December always evokes memories of Christmas Eves of long ago, when slightly scalded hot chocolate, usually with a skin on top, was served in tan melmac cups. As one ages, however, one finds that cocoa can be greatly improved by making minor additions to the recipe, and by not boiling the milk. Hence the Hot Cocoaretto.
Scharffen Berger® is probably my favorite cocoa, so this recipe calls for it, but feel free to substitute your own favorite cocoa powder. Brandy (or cognac) go well with chocolate, so feel free to use either one. If you have vanilla cognac (or brandy) in your bar, feel free to use it and leave out the vanilla extract. The taste of almond from the Amaretto adds a candy-bar-like dimension to the taste, which differs from the hot chocolate d’antan; feel free to vary it to suit your taste. For the garnish, this is another opportunity to use jelly candy rings in a holiday theme (see photo). Here a green jelly ring was selected to echo the memory of a Christmas tree (just use a sharp knife to cut through the ring and perch it on the glass). Potential alternative garnishes are either a large dollop of whipped cream or a candy cane. The candy cane has not been taste tested, so try it out yourself before serving it to your guests. If you do try one, post your thoughts as a response to this post.
6 oz Milk
3 level tbsp Scharffen Berger ® unsweetened cocoa powder
1 level tbsp Sugar
½ tsp Vanilla extract
1 oz Brandy
½ oz Amaretto
Spoon the cocoa and sugar into a cup. Put the vanilla extract into a measure; add Brandy to total 1 ounce (or use 1 ounce vanilla cognac or brandy). Add the Amaretto. Pour into the cup and stir until the cocoa and sugar have dissolved into a thin paste. Heat the milk in a microwave for about 90 seconds, or warm to a simmer on the stove, but don’t let it boil. Pour milk into the cup and stir until well mixed.