December and the holidays may belong to punch, champagne, and egg nog, but January and February are definitely hot chocolate season. Hot chocolate is absolutely delicious on its own, but why not dress it up a bit? So far, we’ve made a Tiki Hot Chocolate with rum, cinnamon bark syrup, and orgeat, and a Smokey Mezcal Mexican Hot Chocolate. But in keeping with our Hygge theme for this month’s cocktail recipes, I wanted something warm and cozy. This Hazelnut Bourbon Hot Chocolate absolutely does the trick!
Hazelnut Bourbon Hot Chocolate
2 oz bourbon (we used Four Roses Bourbon)
1 tsp hazelnut syrup*
8 oz hot chocolate
Ground cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
Make the hot chocolate to your liking, then add the bourbon and hazelnut syrup and give everything a stir. Garnish with your favorite hot chocolate topping – mini marshmallows, whipped cream – and some ground cinnamon and freshly ground nutmeg if you like. Enjoy!
*To make the hazelnut syrup, spread 8 ounces of whole hazelnuts over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. While the hazelnuts are baking, add 2 cups of Demerara sugar to 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Slowly melt the sugar in the water over medium-low heat. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, turn off the heat and set aside. Remove the roasted hazelnuts from the oven and peel. (FYI – I found the easiest way to peel a hazelnut was by roughly rolling the hazelnuts together on the parchment paper) Combine the hazelnuts and simple syrup in a blender or food processor and blend until the hazelnuts are coarsely ground. Strain the resulting hazelnut syrup through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, then transfer to a swing bottle or jar for storage. Store the syrup in a cool, dark place for up to a month.
This Hazelnut Bourbon Hot Chocolate is warmly nutty and rich, with undertones of spiciness and heat. Perfect for curling up on the couch to watch a movie on a cold winter night, or for drinking around the fire pit with a group of friends! But think of this recipe as more of a guide, not a hard and fast recipe. Want less heat? Try using one ounce of bourbon instead of two. Or if you have more of a sweet tooth, consider upping the hazelnut syrup to 1 1/2 tsp (or to taste). You really can’t go wrong!
Pink Mug: Paper & Clay
Pink Platter: Suite One Studio for Anthropologie
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper