Bailey’s hot cocoa is one of our favorite hot beverages in the winter. It’s easy to make with common ingredients (no fancy chocolate or heavy cream required) but the shot of Bailey’s takes it over the top into a decadent boozy treat. You can also leave it out to make a tasty standard hot cocoa.
(Why is this hot cocoa rather than “hot chocolate”? Hot chocolate is based on actual chopped or shaved chocolate, while hot cocoa starts with–you guessed it–cocoa powder. While both make great hot beverages, I’m much more likely to have cocoa powder in my pantry than bar chocolate, which means we consume more hot cocoa!)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder, optional
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
- 2 shots Bailey’s Irish cream, divided
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, salt and espresso powder, if using. Add the water and cook over medium, whisking, until the mixture comes together and lumps vanish, about 3 minutes.
- Whisk in the milk. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, until steaming and hot.
- Meanwhile, prepare two mugs. In each mug, place 1/4 tsp vanilla extract and one shot of Bailey’s.
- When the milk mixture is hot, pour it into the mugs, stirring to combine the Bailey’s. Top with whipped cream, marshmallows and/or a dusting of cocoa.