Nothing says the holidays like a steaming mug of hot chocolate. And with a touch of chili pepper liqueur and orange cinnamon whipped cream, this hot chocolate transforms into something really special.
While everything is better made from scratch, sometimes it’s just too much work. So for this Spiked Chili Pepper Hot Chocolate, feel free to get as simple or as fancy as you’d like with the hot chocolate. I used cocoa from a tin and mixed it with milk. Swiss Miss packets would work just fine, as would those fancy mixes for “sipping chocolate.” Just be sure to use milk (or coconut cream if you’re dairy-free) instead of water. If you really want to make the cocoa from scratch, try this recipe.
For my Spiked Chili Pepper Hot Chocolate, I used an ancho chile liqueur from Ancho Reyes. It’s spicy, but also warm and sweet. If you aren’t able to find Ancho Reyes, you could try another liquor with warm spices, or just use vodka and a healthy pinch of cayenne pepper.
As delicious as the spicy liqueur and rich cocoa are, the real show stopper in this recipe is the whipped cream. If you have time and an electric mixer, make your own whipped cream. It’s so, so much better than store-bought, and the addition of fresh-squeezed orange juice and cinnamon elevate it and complement the spicy-sweet flavors of the cocoa.
Spiked Chili Pepper Hot Chocolate with Orange Cinnamon Whipped Cream
For the whipped cream
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
For the drink
- 8 ounces prepared hot chocolate
- 1 ounce chile liqueur
- OR 1 ounce vodka + ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Cinnamon sticks
- Orange slices (extra points if you have time to bake them)
- Add sugar, whipping cream, orange juice and ground cinnamon to a medium mixing bowl and whip with an electric mixer on medium until the cream forms stiff peaks.
- Prepare a cup of your favorite hot cocoa mix, nice and hot. I recommend any mix that calls for milk or is Dutch processed. These tend to taste richer and have less added sugar.
- Add the liqueur (or vodka and cayenne pepper) to the hot chocolate and stir well. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and garnish with cinnamon sticks and orange.