Need a warming drink for the holidays? This boozy hot chocolate with liquor combines the ultimate cozy winter drink with one of your favorite liquors. Discover different types of alcohol that taste best in hot chocolate and choose the one that you love the most!
Alcoholic hot chocolate is the perfect adult drink to make during the holiday season and sip in front of the Christmas tree. If you also need an alcohol-free recipe for your kids and loved ones who don't drink alcohol, try this hot chocolate recipe with hot water.
Best liquor for hot chocolate
- Amaretto adds sweet and nutty almond notes to hot chocolate. People either love or hate this combination but it's a winner for me. If you want to splurge on a good Amaretto, I highly recommend the Disaronno.
- Triple sec, also known as orange liqueur is a great option if you like the combination of citrus and chocolate. It's definitely a more audacious choice but it can pay off!
- Dark rum aged in oak barrels has deep caramel and even chocolatey aromas. It shares characteristics with whiskeys but is a touch sweeter. No need to say that it pairs really well with chocolate.
- Whiskey, such as a classic bourbon is always a safe choice. Depending on the one you choose, it can taste smokey, nutty, fruity or chocolatey.
- Flavored whiskey is my personal favorite. I love a splash of Jack Daniel's Fire that's cinnamon-flavored in my hot chocolate.
- Flavored vodka should be your go-to if you don't want that strong alcohol taste that you may have with rums and whiskeys. You can't go wrong with vanilla vodka and chocolate vodka.
- Schnapps, such as peppermint schnapps is a flavored liqueur that's a great alternative to peppermint extract for a boozy hot chocolate cocktail.
Key ingredients and substitutions
- Semi-sweet chocolate makes this hot chocolate recipe really rich and silky compared to a powdered hot cocoa mix. I like using Lindt 70% or semi-sweet chocolate chips. You can also go for bittersweet chocolate if you like the bitterness of dark chocolate.
- Milk adds body to this drink. I like using soy milk for this recipe but almond or oat milk would work great as well. You can use whole milk if you're not vegan.
- Sugar balances out the alcohol. You can replace it with any sweetener you like.
- Cocoa powder intensifies the chocolate flavor. Preferably go for an unsweetened brand.
- Vanilla extract adds that extra touch that brings hot chocolate to the next level. I'd however recommend leaving it out if you're adding flavored liquor to your adult hot chocolate. You can also replace it with peppermint extract or a dash of orange bitters.
- Liquor of choice. Read our selection of best liquors for hot chocolates above.
- Add liquor to the hot chocolate off the heat to keep all the aromas of your booze intact.
- Experiment! Test the difference between bourbon and rum and try out flavored liqueurs until you find your absolute favorite.
- Make the hot chocolate ahead of time if you're going for a hike or a shopping spree. Reheat the drink shortly before serving and add the liquor then.
- If not everyone is drinking alcohol, simply make a big batch of hot chocolate and add the liquor to individual cups. Those who don't want it spiked can drink it as is.
STEP 1: Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan, except the liquor.
STEP 2: Whisk over medium heat until the chocolate has melted and all the ingredients are well-combined. Then, remove the saucepan from the heat.
Microwave instructions: if you're making a single cup, you can also heat the milk in the microwave and add in all the ingredients. Stir until the chocolate has completely melted. For best results, I recommend mixing everything with an electric milk frother.
STEP 3: Pour in your liquor of choice off the heat and give it a good stir. I find that 1-1.5 ounces per cup are a great dose of liquor. However, you can always add more or less to taste.
STEP 4: Transfer the hot chocolate mixture to your favorite mug. I like adding marshmallows and quickly roasting them with a torch.
Watch how to make it!
Hot chocolate toppings
- Mini marshmallows make the perfect topping for a mug of spiked hot chocolate.
- Whipped cream is a classic topping that everyone loves. Try this aquafaba whipped cream if you're vegan.
- Chocolate sauce, chocolate shavings and mini chocolate chips should be your go-to if you want an extra dose of chocolate.
- Mini candy canes or chopped candy cane bits are perfect if you chose peppermint-flavored liquor.
- Chili powder or cayenne pepper can add some heat. I highly recommend it with a whiskey-spiked hot chocolate.
- Ice cream is the ultimate topping! Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and let it melt slowly in your cup.
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Alcoholic Hot Chocolate With Liquor
- 1 ½ cups (360 ml) milk of choice
- 4 tablespoons (40 g) chopped semi-sweet chocolate
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract optional
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon optional
- 2 ounces (60 ml) liquor of choice (see notes) 4 tablespoons
- Add the milk, chopped chocolate, cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon (if using) to a small saucepan.
- Gently whisk over low heat until the chocolate has completely melted.
- Remove the pan from the heat and pour in your liquor of choice. Add more sugar or liquor to taste.
- Pour the finished hot chocolate into your favorite mug. Garnish with the toppings of your choice (e.g., marshmallows, shaved chocolate, candy cane).
- Classic liquors for hot chocolate: dark rum, whiskey
- Audacious liquors for hot chocolate: amaretto, triple sec
- Flavored liquors for hot chocolate: cinnamon-flavored whiskey, vanilla-flavored vodka, peppermint schnapps