As I’m sure you know, here in Los Angeles, we have some great weather. Even in the dead of winter we’ll get some 80 degree days (literally a couple weeks ago), but honestly even more rare is when we get a rainy day. I grew up in Northern California and it rained often in the fall and winter. I remember one year in junior high it rained for a month straight. My junior high was one of those outdoor schools that didn’t have any indoor hallways or hangout areas so that rainy month was pretty rough. Actually, I attribute that specific month of my life to my hatred of the rain and that hatred is a part of why I moved to, and still live in, Southern California! Los Angeles gives me the perfect dose of rain, it shows up just when I start missing it but doesn’t overstay its welcome. So when the rain does finally come, it always makes me want to cozy up on the couch in front of our fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate and just listen to the peaceful sounds.
We’ve had a few rainy days lately so of course I needed to take advantage. I love me a good hot chocolate (let’s be real I love anything chocolate) but a boozy hot chocolate is definitely more fun. Often times boozy hot chocolate is either mixed with peppermint or coffee liqueurs, which personally aren’t my favorite. A few years back I came across the concept of red wine hot chocolate and was immediately intrigued. I thought, “this will either be absolutely incredible or totally horrendous” but being the chocolate, wine, and cocktail lover that I am, I had to try it either way. Thank goodness I did because let me tell you, this combo is INCREDIBLE! The deep chocolate perfectly compliments the fruity flavors in the wine and is just oh so satisfying. When I first tried it out I adapted the recipe of my favorite hot chocolate mix from Williams Sonoma. This mix has always been my favorite because it’s made of real chocolate shavings which makes for the most deliciously decadent cup of hot chocolate. Unfortunately this mix is only sold during Christmas and I’m sure not everyone can get their hands on it so obviously an alternative was needed.
The main thing you need to make this hot chocolate amazing is real, quality chocolate. Please for the love of wine, do not mix cocoa powder or low-grade chocolate into this, you will not get the same result. The Williams Sonoma mix is made by Guittard who also makes chocolate chips that you should be able to find at your local grocery store. Another great option is Ghirardelli. I also like to roughly chop the chocolate chips so they melt in smoother and faster. As for the milk and wine, this mainly depends on your preferences. Real milk will likely be the most decadent but I personally like to use almond milk as it’s easier on my stomach and I feel that the thinner consistency works better with the wine. For the wine I’ve tried pinot, zinfandel, and cabernet sauvignon and they’ve honestly all been wonderful. Mainly I’d recommend opting for something more fruit forward and that leans more sweet rather than savory as this pairs best with the chocolate. Hot tip: read the back of the label for the description of the wine and look for key words like, berries, red fruit, black fruit, jammy, ripe, rich, etc. Once you have all the proper ingredients just follow the recipe below and cuddle up with your new favorite hot chocolate.
Red Wine Hot Chocolate
A decadent and satisfying adult hot chocolate, perfect for sipping on rainy days or cold winter nights
- 1/2 cup quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (like Guittard or Ghirardelli)
- 1 1/2 cup milk of your choice (I use almond milk)
- 1 cup red wine
- Heat milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan
- While the milk warms up, roughly chop the chocolate chips
- Add chocolate into the pan and stir until completely melted
- Add the red wine to the pan, stir, and let warm through for about 60 seconds
- Remove from heat and carefully pour into mugs