It’s March and I still long for Spring. The polar vortex dipped us down into freezing conditions yet again and though the next season is around the corner, it feels like it’s a lifetime away. One week it warmed up enough for me to wear one layer of clothes instead of three. I was actually happy with the laundry that week. I’m back to wearing layers and Chaz teasing me for wearing three pairs of socks.
Really, I just want to be able to go for a walk without all the layers and without my exposed skin freezing. Is that too much for me to ask? It is? Then what’s a tropical gal to do in these conditions? Make hot cocoa!
I’ve made it all winter and last week I decided to get a little creative with it because I knew the freeze was coming again. Everyone seemed enamored with it on social media, so I made it again to share the recipe.
Note that you can make this with real milk or with dairy-free milk. If you use full-fat coconut milk, I would recommend a bit more cinnamon if you don’t want the coconut taste. If you don’t keep raw cacao powder in your pantry, but you have dutch processed cocoa powder, you can use that instead. Also, the quality of your bourbon does matter in drinks. Cheaper bourbons tend to be more like fire rather than smooth like quality bourbon. We keep Wild Turkey and Basil Hayden in our bar. Four Roses and Woodford Reserve would be other bourbons I would recommend. I know other friends who would recommend Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, and Evan Williams. Given a choice, I prefer Basil Hayden. Yes, living in Kentucky for thirteen years turned me into a bourbon snob.
Cinnamon Hot Cocoa with Bourbon (serves 1)
1 1/2 – 2 cups milk or dairy-free milk
2 tablespoons raw local honey (or other sweetener of choice)
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or more if you like it heavy on the cinnamon)
1 teaspoon maca root powder (optional)
1 ounce good quality bourbon (I used Basil Hayden)
In a small saucepan, whisk together milk, honey, cacao powder, cinnamon, and maca root powder over medium low heat. Do not bring it to a boil. You want it to warm up enough that you can see the steam coming up from the hot cocoa. Once you see it (you might have to run the whisk through again to do so), add in the bourbon and whisk one last time. Pour into a mug. Garnish with marshmallows and more cinnamon if desired.