Is there anything more nostalgic this time of year than hot cocoa? It’s a special treat for kids, for sure, but grown-ups don’t have to miss out on the fun. Because, hot cocoa is one versatile little drink, and it can handle more than a handful of tiny marshmallows on top.
One recipe we found calls for ancho chile powder, vanilla bean and salt, and our mouths started simultaneously watering and burning at the thought of it. It just proves how accommodating hot chocolate can really be.
Other recipes call for a splash of Cointreau, or orange-peel for a non-alcoholic version, complemented by a cinnamon stick. It almost sounds like a liquid version of a soft-centered chocolate truffle, and we’re grateful to whoever decided to marry that flavor combination together in the first place.
And one recipe, from a Food Networkchef, seems like a version Goldilocks would approve of, particularly in Arizona. It calls for espresso, a dash of chili powder and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
When in doubt, or when away from a recipe box, Baileys and/or Kahlua are reliable companions for any mug of hot cocoa, and a dollop of whipped cream or a handful of chocolate sprinkles never hurt anybody.
And, if chocolate just isn’t your thing, seasonal beers may be. There’s just something about the chill in the air that calls for a bolder, fuller flavor. Experts suggest porters, stouts and barrel-aged beers, along with a Belgian-style dark ale.
With snow on the ground at Pine Canyon, there is no better time to treat yourself to a gussied-up hot cocoa or a robust brew, at home, at a favorite Flagstaff pub or up at our clubhouse.