The phrase “dog days of summer” refers to the exhaustingly hot days deep in the heart of summer, but what do we call the deep stretch of winter that runs from mid-January to early March? That bone-cold, long, post-holiday stint when it seems like winter will never end?
We propose “hot chocolate days,” because, without any big festivities or sunny days on the horizon, it’s really delicious hot cocoa that gets us through. But if we’re going to be drinking hot chocolate for over two months, we’d better find ways to keep it interesting. Variety is the spice of life, and spice often lends variety to hot chocolate!
So without further ado, here are ten variations on the classic cup of cocoa that will get you through the darkest days of winter. In fact, you might even regret it (just a little) when they end.
Bourbon Coconut Hot Chocolate
This cup of hot chocolate has an extra zip of warmth, thanks to a few spoons of bourbon. It’s also got a little bit of coconut crunch on top, as well as coconut milk included with the regular dairy. Save this for nights when you are craving something extra-rich. Recipe: Sheknows.com
Chai-spiced Hot Chocolate
When choosing a warming drink, it’s often a toss-up between hot chocolate and chai. It turns out that this is actually a false choice, however, because you can have both in one! This hot chocolate is nicely spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Recipe: Thedailymeal.com
Lemongrass Lavender White Hot Chocolate
In every group of people, there's always the odd person who prefers white chocolate to the usual, darker variety. This white hot chocolate recipe goes an extra mile, bringing in the unique flavours of lemongrass and lavender, proving that white chocolate, too, can be an excitingly versatile flavor. Recipe: Seriouseats.com
Cherry Vanilla Hot Chocolate
Here's a use for those radioactive-red maraschino cherries you've probably had kicking around your pantry for the last several years. This cherry vanilla hot chocolate is made from scratch in the best way, using both white chocolate and cocoa, and the kirsch liqueur is the cherry on top! Recipe: Shutterbean.com
Hot Chocolate With Sea-salt Whipped Cream
Anyone who’s watched a few competitive cooking shows knows that a balance of flavours is essential to creating a perfect dish — or mug of hot chocolate, as the case may be. Most hot chocolates are purely sweet, but this one adds a zing of salt in the form of fluffy sea-salt whipped cream. Recipe: Adventures-in-cooking.com
Cake Batter White Hot Chocolate
Remember that childhood feeling of sneaking tastes of raw cake batter when your parents weren’t looking? This cake batter hot chocolate will bring it all back, but no one will smack your hand away when you reach for another taste. Don’t forget the sprinkles! Recipe: Thesmarkcookiecook.com
Maple Bacon Hot Chocolate
Hear us out! This hot chocolate is a bit of a production, but it was created by the incredibly ingenious snack chefs at Coolhaus, the hip LA food truck that reinvented dessert. This recipe takes a little time and effort, but it’ll be worth it for the look on your friends’ and family’s faces when they see bacon on their hot chocolate. Recipe: Abcnews.go.com
Orange Hot Chocolate
Orange and chocolate are a classic combination, so naturally hot chocolate with a little bit of citrusy orange flavor is an automatic win. You can also experiment with adding a little bit of orange liqueur like Curaçao or Grand Marnier for an extra dose of decadence. Recipe: Rachelcooks.com
Pumpkin Hot Chocolate
The pumpkin-spiced coffee craze tends to fizzle out post-Christmas, but pumpkin hot chocolate is an entirely different beast. Unlike pumpkin spice, pumpkin hot chocolate doesn’t just use pumpkin pie spices — it uses pumpkin puree itself. The result is a full and flavorful cup of delicious cocoa. Recipe: Sheknows.com
Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate
Cacao beans originated in ancient Mesoamerica (a region stretching from central Mexico down to Costa Rica), and the Aztecs had their own version of hot chocolate: xocolātl. In the hundreds of years since, Mexico has refined its own version of hot chocolate, and it has become a worldwide favourite. This spicy drink uses chilli peppers and uses dark, rich chocolate to create an extremely full flavour. Recipe: Theendlessmeal.com