Friday Happy Hour: A Smokey Mezcal Hot Chocolate

It’s getting really cold in DC, at least at night. So I find myself more and more making hot chocolate for Nole these evenings. And as I was making hot chocolate one night, I thought – as I often do – about how I could take this drink and add booze to it. Because that’s what normal people do, right? Anyway, here’s the result of that wondering: a spiked Mexican hot chocolate that’s sweet and savory and just right for cold winter nights. – Andrew



Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper

The Smokey Mezcal Mexican Hot Chocolate

1 oz Mezcal 
1 oz Licor 43
8 oz Milk
3 oz Baking Chocolate
2-3 Tablespoons Sugar
Cinnamon, Chili Powder, Nutmeg to Taste

Combine everything in a saucepan and heat gently until the chocolate and sugar are melted. Then, take a whisk and twirl it in the pan between the palms of your hands to give the hot chocolate a healthy froth. Pour into a mug and dust with more cinnamon, chili, and a pinch of salt. Enjoy!


I love this version of Mexican Hot Chocolate: rich and sweet and chocolatey at first, with undertones of spiciness and a bit of peppery heat. And then a kick of smokey savoriness from the Mezcal at the finish. Just make sure to use a Reposado or, better yet, an Añejo Mezcal, which will pair better with the chocolate. I also included some Licor 43, a Spanish herbal liqueur with lots of warm and subtle spice notes, to round out and harmonize all those flavors. (Full disclosure: the folks behind Licor 43 sent us a bottle to try. I’m glad they did.)


I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no expert on hot chocolate, and that this is not an authentic Mexican hot chocolate recipe. (That would involve real Mexican chocolate, and masa harina, a ground corn meal, that would leave you with something like a hot chocolate porridge – good but not what we’re going for here.) But it’s still pretty good. Adjust the sugar and spices to taste, but remember – this is Mexican hot chocolate, not a simple mug of hot cocoa. You want to taste that spiciness. So no skimping.

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper