Spicy & Boozy Hot Chocolate (V)

Days are getting shorter and colder, so I thought we could all use something warm and delicious. Hot chocolate is pretty good on its own, but adding some Ancho chile liqueur for a hint of spice definitely took this boozy hot chocolate to a whole another level. Whether you make it for a holiday celebration or to sip alone in your PJs in front of a warm fire, I promise that this will become your new favorite hot chocolate recipe.

Shot of boozy hot chocolate with pieces of chocolate, ancho chiles, and a botthe of Ancho Reyes

Making Chocolate Spicy

As much as I would like to take credit for this idea, it was the wonderful people of Mexico who first thought of making hot chocolate spicy. The Mayan people were way ahead of us when it came to daring flavors, and records show that they started mixing cocoa with water, chili peppers, and other spices as early as 500 BC.

I tried to keep things simple for this recipe by replacing any actual chili peppers with some wonderful Ancho chile liquer, also known as Ancho Reyes. Ancho chiles are simply dried ripe Poblano peppers, so they are not super hot. When dried, they have a sweet aroma and a flavor that reminds me of dried plums.

Overhead shot of boozy hot chocolate next to dried Ancho chiles and garnished with a small chili pepper

According to the Ancho Reyes website, making Ancho Reyes is a painstaking process. Dried Ancho chiles are macerated in a sugar cane spirit for up to 6 months and then blended by a Master Blender. Ancho Reyes comes in a green and red variety. I used the red variety because it’s more complex and smoky and pairs great with chocolate.

Ancho Reyes adds just a hint of spiciness, so I added a pinch of cayenne pepper to this boozy hot chocolate to get the right amount of spice. If you are not a huge fan of spicy food, I would suggest tasting the hot chocolate after adding the Ancho Reyes and then deciding if it needs the cayenne or not.

Choosing the Right Chocolate for a Vegan Hot Chocolate

I don’t digest dairy well, so I purposefully made this boozy hot chocolate vegan. Most of the chocolate that you find in stores nowadays contain small traces of milk and, in some cases, of nuts. Therefore, it’s extremely important that you choose a really pure type of baking chocolate.

Shot of boozy hot chocolate garnished with a small chili pepper

I went with a bar of 99% pure, unsweetened chocolate because I also wanted to control the sweetness of the finished product. If you decide to use sweetened chocolate, make sure to taste the mixture before adding any sweeteners.

You could also use pure cocoa powder and get great results. I chose to use chocolate in bar form because it packs a bigger punch of flavor than cocoa powder.

Spicy and Boozy Hot Chocolate (V)

November 15, 2018
: 1
: 5 min
: 5 min
: 10 min
: Easy

This decadent hot chocolate is both boozy and spicy thanks to the addition of some ancho chile liqueur and a pinch of cayenne. It's just the drink to warm you up on a cold winter night.


  • 0.5 oz pure, unsweetened chocolate in bar form
  • 1 ΒΌ cup of unsweetened nut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup (or to taste)
  • 1.5 tablespoons of Ancho Reyes
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Step 1 Place your nut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  • Step 2 Add the chocolate and stir the mixture until it melts.
  • Step 3 Take the pan off the heat and add the maple syrup, ancho chile liquer, and cayenne pepper. Whisk to combine.
  • Step 4 Transfer the mixture to a mug and serve immediately.

Here are other spicy concoctions that you might enjoy:

If you like this recipe, please make sure to pin it, share it on social media, or email it to your friends. Don’t be shy! People are always grateful for some cooking inspiration πŸ™‚

Also, if you have any questions or just want to let me know that you liked the recipe, please leave a comment below. Hearing from other adventurous home cooks always makes my day!

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26 thoughts on “Spicy & Boozy Hot Chocolate (V)”

  • Now, this sounds like my kind of warm, winter drink. Spicy chocolate is so delicious. I would love a cup of this today!! It has been a cold and rainy day. What a great drink to sit by the fire and watch a movie with.

  • I love how decadent this sounds. Perfect for warming up with, and I love spice and chocolate together. Ancho Reyes is the perfect choice for this cocktail, as it would add so much flavor and warmth as well! Can’t wait to try this out.

  • So rich and delicious! I’ve made the Mexican style cocoa with cinnamon, but this hot chocolate brings it to a whole new level. Perfect for gathering this winter.

  • Now that is crazy, reminds me of the Spicy Monkey Mocha from Monkey’s Nest in North Austin. That was incredible and yours looks and sounds amazing. I have never heard of Ancho Reyes, definitely going to look for this. Thanks for sharing this. I usually put a pinch of cayenne in my hot chocolate but Ancho Reyes looks like more fun.

  • I loooove Hot Chocolate and the Spicy version looks delightful. I’m so looking at a different kind of drink for our holiday brunches and this would be a wonderful addition. Gotta try them soon.

  • This will surely warm the cockles of your heart! I love a good boozy hot chocolate. I usually take the easy route and spike mine with caramel vodka, but this sounds found and different and way more adventurous.

  • I was looking for something fun and warm and chocolatey. So glad I found your recipe. I love how easy it is and the chile spice it totally up my alley. This is an awesome after dinner drink and I look forward to making it this weekend.

  • Now this is my type of hot chocolate!! We love spicy and what a way to spice up the hot chocolate than with a chili liqueur. I’ve never heard of that brand but now that I see your hot chocolate recipe I have to find it..Great recipe.

  • Wow, you had me at ancho! And I didn’t even know that an ancho chili liqueur existed. I am definitely going to be trying this recipe in the asap future. Can’t wait to get a hold of this product. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  • You just made my holiday! I have a bottle of Ancho Reyes that was gifted to me and I’ve been trying to think of something interesting to do with it. This is PERFECT. I mean, honestly, I’m a little jealous that I didn’t think of it myself – it’s such a perfect flavour combination, and who DOESN’T like boozy hot chocolate?! I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your beautiful photography too – it’s a challenging drink to shoot in an interesting way, but you totally nailed it. Cheers!

  • I love spicy hot chocolate (and boozy hot chocolate, too!), but I’ve never had Ancho Reyes! It’s so interesting to read about how they make it. The red variety sounds particularly lovely with chocolate as you’ve described it, with the smoky notes. It’s been so cold here, and this sounds like the perfect way to warm up!

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