I know many of you live in more temperate areas of the country, but here in New England it's still winter. That means it's time to decide whether the evening libation will be a nice warming glass of wine, or a hot cup of cocoa. Except that I no longer have to make that decision, Red Wine Hot Chocolate for the win!
I know what you're thinking, I recoiled a bit at first too, it just seems.....wrong.
The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that I love chocolate and wine, and chocolate and fruit...soooo....I mean it kinda makes sense...right?
I assure you it does. It's incredibly rich and decadent, it has a totally unique flavor, and it feels very festive. It's not for everyone, and it is a bit of an acquired taste, but once you start drinking it, it's so unique and different that you'll find yourself finishing the mug without thinking. So if you're brave and looking for something different this winter, read on!
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What you need:
1 cup Red Wine (or Mulled Wine if you want to really take it up a notch).
1 cup milk
3 teaspoons Hershey's Cocoa Powder*
2 tablespoons Sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
Pinch of Salt
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder**
*You could use a pre-made hot chocolate packet, but I think in this case the homemade mix leads to a much more indulgent drink.
**optional but highly recommended
This serves 2
Heat your wine in a small sauce pan. I really like a dry, spicy wine for this. You should pick something you would enjoy drinking on it's own, and I don't love sweet wines, but overall I do recommend picking something with a medium body. You could also mull your wine using mulling spices and cinnamon sticks. Place the spices in a strainer ball, add cinnamon and simmer. Finally, if you prefer sweet, you could use a fruit wine such as a raspberry or any other flavor that you feel pairs well with chocolate.
In a smaller sauce pan, mix the milk, cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, and salt and slowly pour in the hot red wine, whisking as you go. Optionally you can add a 1/2 teaspoon of espresso powder. You won't taste the coffee but it will really enhance the chocolate flavor. Once everything is incorporated let it simmer for a minute to let the flavors meld.
Pour the two mixtures together and whisk before pouring into a mug.
This is not a sweet drink, and I think that's what surprised me the most, I was expecting a sugar bomb, but it was actually like biting into a very rich chocolate bar that had some fruit component. You could experiment with some different types of wine such as port or a fruit wine; or you could switch from milk chocolate to dark chocolate for the hot chocolate part, I think there's a lot of experimentation to be done.
What do you think? Would you try it?