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.
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.
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.
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)
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 ¼ 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:
- Tomatillo and Hatch Chile Bloody Mary
- Quinoa Chicken Bowl with Salsa Verde and Kale
- Tuna Salad with Chipotle Mayo
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