Let’s get something straight: Hot chocolate and hot cocoa are not the same thing. Hot chocolate, also known as drinking chocolate, is made with real chocolate; hot cocoa is a watered-down version based on cocoa powder. You’ll understand the difference once you savor this indulgent recipe for basic hot chocolate. Then try your hand at any of these riffs.

  • Chile Hot Chocolate

    Chile Hot Chocolate. Although it seems like a lot, the half teaspoon of cayenne in this recipe is just enough to add a kick of spice without overwhelming the chocolate.

  • Double Anise Hot Chocolate

    Double Anise Hot Chocolate. The combination of the slightly bitter star anise with the sweet, licorice-y anise seed gives this recipe an addictive flavor.

  • Amaretto Hot Chocolate

    Amaretto Hot Chocolate. Almonds and chocolate are a delicious pairing in candy, so it makes perfect sense that spiking hot chocolate with sweet, almond-flavored amaretto liqueur would be tasty, too.

  • Five-Spice Hot Chocolate

    Five-Spice Hot Chocolate. Chinese Five-Spice Powder is an intense mix most often used in savory meat dishes. Whisked into hot chocolate with an orange-scented rum from Martinique, it makes for an unexpected—and delicious—fusion.

  • Calvados-Tarragon Hot Chocolate

    Calvados-Tarragon Hot Chocolate. Dried tarragon may be the last thing that crosses your mind when you think “hot chocolate,” but mix it with the French apple-flavored brandy Calvados, and you’ve got a lovely, anise-y, apple-y hot chocolate.

  • Peppermint Hot Chocolate

    Peppermint Hot Chocolate. We infused this hot chocolate with crushed peppermint candies to bring a little holiday cheer to the rest of the year.

  • Caramel Hot Chocolate

    Caramel Hot Chocolate. Remember Rolos? If you’re a devotee of that classic caramel-chocolate candy, then this caramel hot chocolate should do you right.

  • Almond Butter Hot Chocolate

    Almond Butter Hot Chocolate. Sure, almond butter takes the richness up a notch, but your health isn’t something you should stop and consider while you’re sipping hot chocolate.

  • Banana Hot Chocolate

    Banana Hot Chocolate. Speaking of health, this list is heavy on the chocolate, liqueur, and candy and light on the fruit. This recipe blends in a whole banana—just like a smoothie, only chocolaty!

  • Coconut Hot Chocolate

    Coconut Hot Chocolate. Switching out the cream for coconut milk makes for a transporting drink that’s something like a warm, chocolate daiquiri.

See more articles