Welcome to Imbibe Magazine's between-issues look at liquid culture with drink recipes, news and more. From coffee to cocktails, Imbibe celebrates your world in a glass.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

25 Days of Christmas Cocktails, Day 10: Minty Hot Chocolate

There may be no cozier winter cocktail than peppermint-spiked hot cocoa. Creamy and warming, it calls for for candy canes, tree-trimming and Bing Crosby. The Rob Roy in Seattle spikes theirs with Branca Menta, which is simply a version of Fernet-Branca that has been enhanced with mint essential oils. If you don't have it on hand, though, bartender and owner Anu Apte suggests replacing it with equal parts brandy and crème de menthe.

Minty Hot Chocolate
6 oz. hot chocolate (see below, or use your favorite recipe)
1 ½ oz. Branca Menta (or equal parts brandy and crème de menthe)
Glass: mug 

Garnish: Whipped cream (optional)

Combine Branca Menta and hot chocolate in a mug. Stir and serve.

Rob Roy’s Hot Chocolate
5 ¾ cup water
¾ cup demerara sugar
2 vanilla beans, split
6 medjool dates
zest of 1 orange
½ cup strong coffee or espresso
salt to taste
13 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup cocoa powder (not Dutch)

Combine water, sugar, vanilla, dates and orange zest in a saucepot and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes. When you are ready to make the drink, strain the mixture and bring the remaining liquid to a simmer.  Place the dark chocolate and cocoa powder in a large bowl. Pour one cup of the simmering liquid over the chocolate and cocoa and wait about one minute. Whisk vigorously until the chocolate and water mixture is homogenous and smooth. Continue to add the water in one-cup increments, whisking after each addition, until all of it is incorporated. Add the coffee and salt to taste. Strain the mixture.

Anu Apte, Rob Roy, Seattle