I hope everyone had a Merry/Happy Whatever! Our Christmas was a bit eventful—after brunch we had to rush our kitty Loki to the emergency vet due to a blocked urethra. This is a very dangerous condition in male cats which causes them to be unable to urinate. The wastes from the urine build up, distending the bladder and causing extreme pain, sickness, and death if not treated quickly. Thankfully we got him in before he became too sick and he is already on the mend and will hopefully be coming home tomorrow. I am so thankful that we live only 20 minutes from a 24-hour vet hospital and that the caring individuals got him in right away to begin taking care of him. We visited him yesterday and all the vet techs and the vet taking care of him just love how friendly he is. He really loves going to the vet so he made friends easily once he got to feeling better. Of course, this little trip wasn’t cheap but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t wait to get my boy home tomorrow!
On a happier note, this post is for my Spiked Hot Chocolate! With winter in full swing, we could all use a little extra something in our drinks to keep us warm and this recipe is perfect for that.
A bit of back story—Robert works with some truck drivers from Russia who are always bringing him bottles of liquor. I don’t know why; he’s not even sure except that they are just really giving, friendly guys. We often get various kinds of Armenian brandy and champagne as well as the occasional bottle of vodka or tequila. For Thanksgiving, they brought him a gift set of Patron XO Café and XO Café Dark Cocoa, which are chocolate/coffee flavored liquors. I had an entire container of Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder that needed to be used so I figured they would go great together. From the Patron website, here are the descriptions for each flavor:
Patron XO Café: Patrón XO Cafe is an extraordinary blend of ultra-premium Patrón Silver tequila and the pure, natural essence of fine coffee. The taste is dry, not sweet as with most low-proof coffee liqueurs with notes of chocolate and vanilla. Patrón XO Cafe is excellent for sipping, as a premium cocktail ingredient, or as a unique and delicious dessert topping.
Patron XO Café Dark Cocoa: Patrón XO Cafe Dark Cocoa combines high-quality Patrón Silver tequila with the extraordinary essence of fine coffee and Criollo chocolate from Mexico to create a unique and enjoyable ultra-premium coffee liqueur. Patrón XO Cafe Dark Cocoa marries the smooth, dry taste of Patrón XO Cafe with the decadence of rich chocolate and light tequila.
I don’t know about sipping either of these but then again I really am not a fan of drinking any liquor straight. So I decided to mix them with hot chocolate. You could use Kahlua (also vegan) or even Fragelico if you aren’t a fan of coffee flavor. Whatever floats your boat, really. And if you aren’t sure what liquors are vegan, check out Barnivore.com.
For this recipe I used the XO Dark because it is sweeter than the regular XO. I did not add any sugar as the recipe on the Ghirardelli container called for because the sugar in the liquor made it just sweet enough while still retaining a little bit of earthy bitterness from the cocoa powder. Again, you can add it if you feel necessary. I certainly would add some when using the XO because it has little sweetness to it, making for a stronger coffee flavor. You can also adjust the amount of liquor you add; neither of these is overwhelmingly strong alcohol-wise when mixed with the milk and cocoa but some people might prefer a less intense taste.
Spiked Hot Chocolate (makes 2 large mugs)
3 cups non-dairy milk of your choice—experiment if you want; I used plain old soy milk but I bet vanilla soy milk, almond, or even coconut would take equally delicious!
4 tablespoons Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder
Approx 2 ounces (2 shotglasses) Patron XO Café Dark Cocoa
Pour milk into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk constantly until milk is hot (approximately 5-7 minutes) and cocoa is completely incorporated. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan with the whisk or else you will end up with a layer of cooked cocoa that is a pain to wash out. Remove pan from the heat. Pour a generous shots’ worth of the liquor into each mug and carefully pour an even amount of cocoa mixture into each mug. Stir and enjoy!