“Hot” chocolate drink

This “hot” chocolate drink is a cold cocktail with a spicy kick, which is a fun play on hot cocoa.  I must confess, I’m not a huge fan of dairy-based cocktails (aside from white Russians, which are awesomepants).  I’m also not a fan of warm cocktails like hot toddies or Irish coffees because I’m not cool enough not to make a “yeck!” face when drinking warm alcohol. Maybe one day, I’ll be an adult. . . .

But today, here is a cold chocolate drink with a small hit of booze.  In this drink, the smokiness of the whiskey is a nice counterpoint to the bitter chocolate.  Even though the temperature of the drink is cold, it ends with spicy heat, which I find to be a super fun contrast.

Another source of inspiration for this drink comes from xocolatl (“bitter water”), an hot chocolate drink of early Mesoamerican cultures that is probably the great, great, great, great grandfather of modern hot chocolate. Xocolatl is made from ground cacao beans that were mixed with some ground seeds and/or grains and chilis. Hot or cold water would be poured over the mix, making a beverage out of it. This drink is reportedly an acquired taste for outsiders, as it is very bitter.  (It was the European colonizers who eventually added fat [dairy] and sugar to the drink.)

(Man, this post just got a little sad.)

Here’s the recipe:

"Hot" chocolate drink
Recipe type: Drink/cocktail
Serves: 1
A cold-temperature chocolate drink with a spicy-hot kick. Serves 1 and can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, and beyond!
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder (the kind you bake with, not the Swiss Mix kind)
  • 2 tsp malted milk powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 red Thai chili
  • 1 clove
  • ⅛ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 oz whiskey (or 1½ if you want it boozier, or omit for the kids)
  • red pepper flakes (for looks!)
  1. In a mortar, grind red chili with clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, releasing the flavors with a pestle.
  2. In the mortar or a cocktail shaker, add the chili and spices with milk, whiskey, sugar, malt powder, and cocoa powder. Shake or stir well.
  3. Pour into a serving glass and sprinkle some pepper flakes over the top.


  • Lee

    I don’t even remember how I first heard about white russians, but they were my first favorite alcoholic drink. Haven’t had one in years though.

    This sounds really delicious and the perfect weather for it is setting in now. Love the photos — thanks to Pinterest, lately I’ve really had a thing for jarred drinks and pies and puddings.

    • I can’t remember what inspired me to order my very first white Russian, either. But I do remember watching The Big Lebowski for the first time and tentatively going, “White Russians . . . are cool?”

      I love jars, too! One day, I’ll actually use mine for canning. ;D

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  • This looks gorgeous! I *love* spicy chocolate. I’ve been trying to perfect a spicy hot chocolate recipe that is intensely dark chocolatey as well. Still working at it, but at least I’ve got a spicy chocolate cocktail to drink while I try! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Thanks, Katie! I LOVE spicy chocolate too! (Obviously ;D)