Tiki Hot Chocolate

We haven’t featured a boozy hot chocolate in a while – over a year ago, when we showed off our Mezcal hot chocolate. So it’s about time we showed off another one. Unlike that smokey, savory version, this one embraces everything about Tiki drinks: layers of rums, spices, and citrus that make for an amazing dessert drink. Wintery hot chocolate and summery island flavors are just what we need right now. – Andrew



Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Tiki Hot Chocolate

1 oz Aged Jamaican Rum
1 oz Golden Rum
1 tsp Cinnamon Bark Syrup
1 tsp Orgeat Syrup
8 oz Hot Chocolate

Make the hot chocolate as you please, then add the rum and syrups and give it a stir. For a frothier version, try shaking everything in a cocktail shaker (with a firm grip on the top to keep it from flying everywhere), then pour into a mug and microwave until hot to stabilize the foam.


Or just garnish with some whipped cream. We made our own whipped cream with heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, freshly grated nutmeg, allspice, and lime zest. (If you’re serious about making cocktails, then you seriously need to consider getting a Microplane grater.) All this adds another layer of warm and spicey island flavors to an already rich drink and is pretty much the best thing I have ever used as a garnish.

The basic principle of Tiki drinks is the layering of flavors: using different rums, syrups, and fruits to create complex new flavors, the sum being greater than its parts. We used two rums, Appleton Estate V/X – a funky but mellow Jamaican rum – and Bacardi Gold – a softer, vanilla-forward golden rum.


To that we added cinnamon bark syrup, which is an ounce of crushed cassia cinnamon stick simmered in a cup of water and raw sugar. It’s also one of my new favorite ingredients, something I came across in the Death & Co book that is deceptively easy to make but adds lots of soft, warm spice to a drink. We also added orgeat, that almond-and-rosewater flavored syrup that’s a bedrock of Tiki.

Some hot drinks end up too rough for me: the flavors don’t come together and the alcohol feels rough and sharp. But that’s definitely not the case here: this one is warmly spicy, mellow, rich, and, oh, right – chocolaty. It’s one of my personal favorites of all the recipes I’ve concocted. Let’s Tiki this winter away.

(Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, where we’ve been posting our experiments before they make their way onto this column!)

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper