Warm Up With This Boozy Hot Chocolate

There’s only one thing better than hot cocoa on a cold night — and that’s hot cocoa with booze. Don’t get us wrong: We love an easy, dump-and-stir cocoa packet every now and again, but in the dead of winter, when spring still feels like a distant dream, it’s time to ditch the Swiss Miss for something stronger. The good news? That perfect, slightly dangerous cup of hot chocolate is never more than four ingredients away.

Dreamed up by Ivy Mix, winner of the 2015 Spirited Award for American Bartender of the Year, this chili-topped, mezcal-laced hot cocoa falls somewhere between an Irish coffee and a hot toddy on the winter-cocktail spectrum: It's warm, decadent, and a little wild — just the way we like it.

More: Here are 5 more warming winter cocktails to cozy up with.

But why mezcal, you ask? Mix explains that at Leyenda, her pan-Latin cocktail bar in Brooklyn, she likes to add a “Mexican twist” to traditional hot drinks. “I use mezcal in my Mexican hot chocolate because it has a little bit of smoke,” she says. "It adds more nuance to the drink then something like a bourbon or whiskey”

Ready to heat things up? Below, we asked Mix to take us behind the bar and show us how to pour the ultimate grown-up hot chocolate.

1. Acquire chocolate milk

Yes, as in the drink of choice for seven-year-olds. Warm a little less than half a cup in a saucepan.

2. Spike it

Add a couple of ounces of mezcal (or, if you must, tequila). Make sure your liquid is simmering, not boiling — you don’t want your alcohol to evaporate!

3. Add some heat

Sprinkle in a little ground chipotle for good measure.

4. Top it off

Pour your hot cocoa into a pre-warmed mug. Garnish with shaved chocolate and a pinch of that ground chili powder. You know what to do next!

Get the full video recipe (plus ingredients and instructions!) for Ivy Mix's Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate on Panna.

Images: Panna Cooking (6)