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7 Ways to Upgrade Classic Hot Cocoa

Cozy up to these twists on the comforting cold-weather sipper.

Cocoa powder and measuring spoons

There’s not much about cold weather that can’t be made better with hot cocoa. Invite friends and family in for a mug, take a thermos on a winter outing, or curl up with a cozy cup anytime for a dose of winter sustenance. At its very simplest, hot cocoa requires just three ingredients: unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar and milk. Those three ingredients will guarantee something delicious, but here are seven more ways to upgrade your mug.

1. Make Something for the Grownups

Thrill the adults in your crowd by giving each mug a hit of whiskey, brandy, Kahlua, amaretto or ginger liqueur.

2. Dial Up the Spice and Heat

Add a subtle amount of cayenne or ground chipotle and cinnamon for extra tongue-tingling warmth. Garnish each with a cinnamon stick stirrer if you like.

3. Whip Up Something Sweet and Salty

Sprinkle the top of each cup with a generous pinch of coarse sea salt, or squirt on a squiggle of 365 Everyday Value® Organic Salted Caramel Sauce.

4. Go All Out with Candy Canes

Stick a festive candy cane into each mug for a colorful stirrer, or sprinkle crushed peppermints on top of a dollop of whipped cream.

5. Make a S’More in a Mug

Top mugs of cocoa with mini marshmallows, crushed gingerbread crumbs and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

6. Whisk Away to Somewhere Tropical

Make your cocoa with a coconut milk, then sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes and a pinch of nutmeg.

7. Add in Some Chai Spice

Heat your cocoa with a mix of cinnamon stick, whole cloves, cardamom pods and a thin slice of fresh ginger root; strain out the spices before serving.

Hot Cocoa Recipes

Need some foolproof recipes? Here are four worth savoring:

  • Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix is an easy recipe to keep on hand, requiring just hot water (great for taking to the office or on camping trips). Makes a great gift too.
  • Mexican-Style Hot Chocolate uses a fantastic spice combo, plus both cocoa powder and solid bittersweet chocolate for a thick, rich, delectable brew.
  • Spiced Hot Chocolate with Orange, made with solid dark chocolate, is generously spiced and ultimately chocolatey.
  • Finally, Hot Spiced Carob is a unique alternative to non-chocolate cocoa alternative.

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